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Jennifer Lopez Reveals What She's Learned After Three Failed Marriages - And How She's Protecting Her Fourth
Ben Affleck Jennifer Lopez
Celebrities

Jennifer Lopez Reveals What She's Learned After Three Failed Marriages - And How She's Protecting Her Fourth

The 53-year-old has never had an easy time with romance, so here's what she's doing to ensure her happy ending with Ben Affleck.

Always learning, never arriving?

With an illustrious, expansive career spanning nearly 30 years in show business, it’s safe to say Jennifer Lopez is one of the most recognizable women on the planet. There is no category of entertainment she hasn’t touched with her radiant energy and enthusiasm, from film to music to television to even fashion. She has firmly established herself as one of the most versatile personalities and shows no sign of slowing down. 


RELATED: Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck’s “Reunion” Carries an Important Truth

At the same time the actress-singer has always attracted overwhelming interest in the evolving circumstances of her personal life. Now, married four times — not to mention two high-profile failed engagements — she is facing a critical juncture in her journey, one that is making her reassess everything that has happened thus far. 

In a candid interview with Vogue, Jennifer Lopez sheds light on her past blunders in love and how she’s ensuring they don’t repeat in her next chapter with Ben Affleck.

Jennifer Lopez Reveals Her Biggest Mistake Dating Ben Affleck 20 Years Ago

Despite her numerous accomplishments, Jennifer Lopez has largely been a victim of her own success.

Had she been anyone other than Jennifer Lopez, some of her missteps behind the scenes could have been papered over through the years. Unfortunately, there’s no escaping her level of celebrity, and so, she has to continuously face invasive questions about her deepest, darkest moments as if they belong to the masses and not her alone.

For example, when she and Affleck dated the first time around in the early 2000s, neither knew how everyone would receive their relationship. She was a Latina performer from a working-class neighborhood in The Bronx; instead of celebrating her ascent, folks were quick to shut her out and nitpick, pretending she wasn’t worthy enough to be Ben Affleck’s girlfriend or fiancée. 

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Not knowing how obsessive the press coverage would get, they loved each other openly. “We were just living our lives, being happy and out there. It didn’t feel like we needed to hide from anybody or be real discreet,” she told Vogue. They were young and in love; nothing else mattered. As it turns out, Affleck and Lopez became the defining couple of the zeitgeist, so much so that outlets coined the first-ever celebrity portmanteau — “Bennifer” — to describe their pairing.

The attention was pervasive and, ultimately, destructive. Lopez admitted that the media scrutiny played a massive role in the breakup, and she subsequently learned to put up walls around herself. “I became very guarded because I realized that they will fillet you. I really wish I could say more. I used to be like that. I am like that. But I’ve also learned,” she said. 

What J-Lo Did to Stop Making Bad Decisions in Love

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck in Gigli.
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck in Gigli. (2003)

Even after Affleck, Lopez faced an uphill battle in developing healthy, supportive romantic relationships, where both parties valued each other, as well as themselves, with equal measure. Due to a combination of childhood trauma and adulthood recklessness, Lopez found herself “unhappy” in her marriages, seeing herself latch onto the other person to nourish her emotionally.

Then, when she became pregnant with her twins in 2007, she realized that she needed to improve her mindset come hell or high water. “And finally I was just like, Ugh! It’s time to figure me out because I need to be good for these babies. And even from there, with all the willingness I had, it took years and years to really put the pieces together,” she said. 

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Lopez is not proud of her history with men: the hearts she’s broken, the partnerships she’s let go of, the families she’s dissolved — it takes a toll on your sense of self. “I have to forgive myself for the things that I did that I’m not proud of, the choices that I made that worked against me,” she said. In doing the work to rediscover herself, Lopez figured out how to set up carefully constructed boundaries in her personal affairs— those that demarcate not only her comfort zone but also what she’s willing to put up with.

“Self-love is really about boundaries. Learning what you’re comfortable with and putting up the boundaries, not being afraid of the consequences,” she said. Today, she’s liberated more than ever due to these curated boundaries; she has a better sense of what makes her happy and when to say no. There is no risk of someone else chipping away at her sense of self-worth — she has taken complete control of her evolution and will not let anyone else come in her way. 

The Optimistic Realization Behind Their Lovely Reunion

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck smiling at one another.

That begs the question: how did Ben Affleck manage to slide his way back into her heart, especially in light of the tumultuous way their break-up transpired all those years ago? As the 53-year-old puts it, it truly was a fairytale. The Hustlers star was reeling from her split with fiancé Alex Rodriguez, and Affleck had reached out to her to discuss a magazine article to which he had contributed. They got talking and soon realized that though everything had changed, nothing had changed.

The sparks were still evident, the connection unmissable. “People in my life know that he was a very, very special person in my life. When we reconnected, those feelings for me were still very real,” said the mother-of-two. At the same time, they’d both been through some absolutely excruciating battles in recent years that forced them to grow and learn and essentially recover. “All we’ve ever wanted was to kind of come to a place of peace in our lives where we really felt that type of love that you feel when you’re very young and wonder if you can have that again,” said Lopez. 

RELATED: The Simple Secrets to Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy’s 25-Year “Fairytale Marriage”

The consensus is that Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck have found their happily-ever-after. But is their magical reunion something to aspire to, or is it a rare exception that we should be cautious about? J-Lo said that not everyone’s pathway is the same and that we can’t always expect to get back with our exes and right those wrongs.

“ You go through all these relationships, and you’re searching and you’re connecting and you’re disconnecting with people, and you’re like, God, is this just what life is?” she stated. She’s right: Life is often about meandering and disconnecting and growing apart from people and spending time alone, and learning to love yourself, but every now and then, once in a blue moon, you do find your happy ending. But you never know when it’s going to happen, so hang tight and experience the present. 

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