Jennifer Lopez got her happy ending and is opening about the heartache that it took to get there.
The pop star announced her new album, “This Is Me…Now,” on the 20-year anniversary of her previous LP “This Is Me…Then.” Inspired by her then-romance with Ben Affleck, the two stars faced public scrutiny and called off their engagement, which Lopez called the “biggest heartbreak” of her life in a new interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1. Now, two decades later, J.Lo and Affleck are married and, she said, he’s once again inspired her upcoming musical project.
“That album, ‘This Is Me... Then,’ really captured a moment in time where I fell in love with the love of my life. And I just, it’s all right there on the record,” Lopez told Lowe. “Every single song that we wrote, me writing ‘Dear Ben,’ it was such a special moment in time to have captured.”
When Lopez is in love, she is inspired. That’s how the multifaceted star described her creative process. When she is sad, she works herself non-stop, which is what she did after she and Affleck called off their engagement in 2004.
“It was so painful after we broke up,” she said, adding she wouldn’t even perform the “This Is Me…Then” songs. “Once we called off that wedding 20 years ago, it was the biggest heartbreak of my life, and I honestly felt like I was going to die. And it sent me on a spiral for the next 18 years where I just couldn’t get it right.”
“But now, 20 years later, it does have a happy ending. It has the most would-never-happen-in-Hollywood ending,” she continued, adding that when she and the actor got back together, he told her, “’You never performed the songs. You never did, ‘I’m Glad,’ you never did this, you never did that.’”
After separating from Affleck, Lopez got married to singer Marc Anthony months later. While the two got divorced in 2014, they share 14-year-old twins Max and Emme.
As for Affleck, he was married to Jennifer Garner from 2005–2018, with whom he shares daughters Violet, 16, and Seraphina, 13, and son Samuel, 10.
Lopez and Affleck's children were part of their October 2022 wedding ceremony.
As for “This Is Me...Then,” Lopez said that her husband “loves that album. He loves that music. He knows all of the words. He also was with me while I was creating it... He’s my biggest fan, which is awesome.”
Rekindling her romance with Affleck, she said, “is even better than the first time.” And she wanted to make sure that it translated over to her new album.
“True love does exist and some things do last forever. And that’s real. I want to put that message out to the world,” Lopez said about her new music. “That does take a lot of vulnerability, but I couldn’t stop myself. Parts of it scare me and I think parts of it scare Ben too. He’s like, ‘Do you really want to say all this stuff?’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t know how else to do it, baby.’”
However, when it comes to their public relationship, the couple are approaching their “Bennifer 2.0” stage a little differently. The first time around, the media, she said, “destroyed us.”
“That was part of what destroyed us was the outside energy that was coming at us,” Lopez said. “And we loved each other. It was hard. It felt at times unfair, but neither one of us is that person to be like, ‘Woe is me.’”
While they tried to “dust it off,” they ultimately went their separate ways. Lopez believes that it was for the best. “It fueled us in a weird way that we felt we had to prove ourselves again.”
The years apart helped Lopez grow, work on who she is, and understand the love she deserved. “Wanting that love and stability and family that I could not find and craving it so badly that I just would get into things that I’d wondered, ‘Why? Why am I doing this? Why am I with this person? Why am I allowing certain things?’” she said.
The “Marry Me” star said that she and Affleck are in it for the “long haul.”
“Now we know. There is no questions and there is no, ‘Well, let’s see how this goes,’” she said. “It’s like, ‘No, it’s me and you, that’s it. All the way, ‘til the end.’”
This article was originally published on TODAY.com