Jennifer Lopez has opened up about the pain she endured after calling off her engagement to Ben Affleck more than 20 years ago.
In a new interview with Zane Lowe for Apple Music, the multi-hyphenate reflected on the 20-year anniversary of her groundbreaking third studio album, This Is Me… Thenwhich documented her epic and highly scrutinized relationship with Affleck, from whom she eventually split in 2004. Lopez’s next album, This Is Me… Noware once again honoring their romance with the Oscar-winning actor, now highlighting their reunion and marriage two decades after their split.
“That album, This Is Me… Then, truly captured a moment in time when I fell in love with the love of my life. It’s all right there on the record and I didn’t even realize what was going on or what I was doing. I was going from the set to the recording studio every day, I was doing the work, I was in love, he was coming to the studio,” she told Lowe. “When I listen to the lyrics now, I didn’t even realize that I was writing part of our story that would happen, which was sick. … I didn’t even realize it was prophetic in a way.”
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Lopez recalled refusing to perform songs from the album after their breakup. “I wouldn’t even play these records,” she explained. “It was so painful after we broke up. Once I called off the wedding 20 years ago, it was the worst pain of my life. And I honestly felt like I was going to die. It sent me into a spiral for the next 18 years where I… couldn’t get it right. But now, 20 years later, it has a happy ending. He has the most, it would never happen in Hollywood. They’d be like, “That would never happen, so we’re not going to write it because no one would believe it.”
She said Affleck even questioned why he didn’t perform songs from This Is Me… Then once the two rekindled their relationship. “It’s funny because when Ben and I got back together, he was like, ‘You’ve never performed the songs,'” she said. “It was a part of me that I had to put aside in order to move on and survive. . It was definitely a survival tactic.”
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The couple initially broke up because of the external pressure the media and public put on their relationship, Lopez said.
“It destroyed us. That was part of what destroyed us, it was the outside energy coming at us,” she said. “We loved each other. It was hard. It felt unfair at times, but none of us is that person to say, “Woe is me.” So we were like, “Well, we’ve just got to dust it off and keep it moving.” And I think, in the strangest way, it motivated both of us to become and do the things that we ended up doing, which is to go into hyper-speed. He went into hyper speed and I went into hyper speed, but not together, we had to do it separately.”
Lopez told Lowe that she feels most inspired to write and make music when she’s happy in love, which is why she returned to the studio to record her latest album upon reuniting with Affleck. “When he came back into my life, the same thing happened again where I felt so inspired and so overcome with emotion that it just poured out of me,” she said. “When I’m feeling good, I write music. And I wrote music and went into the studio in May I think and by August, when we got married, it was over.”
As Associate Editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com, Chelsey keeps a finger on the pulse of all celebrity news. He also writes about social movements, connecting with activists leading the fight for workers’ rights, climate justice, and more. Offline, she’s probably spending too much time on TikTok, re-watching Emma (the 2020 version, of course) or buying yet another corset.