Jennifer Lopez on second acts in life, chances of getting married again
LOS ANGELES—After almost three decades in show business, Jennifer Lopez (or JLo) is a pro at interviews. She knows just how long her answers should be, and they are succinct and interesting. And she definitely knows how to pose for the cameras—a tilt of a head here, a toss of a head there, that goes best with a smile or a laugh.
In director Peter Segal’s romantic comedy “Second Act,” JLo stars as Maya, a big box store worker and a mom who gets a second crack at a corporate career. Filipino-American Vanessa Hudgens, Milo Ventimiglia and Leah Remini costar.
Fetching in a rust-colored top and pants, the 49-year-old entertainer who is in a relationship with retired baseball star Alex Rodriguez talked about the movie, the possibility of getting married again, fashion sense and her “7,000 fantasies.”
Excerpts from our chat:
Vanessa Hudgens said she was struck by how hardworking you are. What parallels do you see in Vanessa since she’s also a singer-actress like you? The thing that struck me the most about Vanessa was her emotional availability. We had a lot of actresses come in for her role. I read with them, and honestly, Vanessa was the one who was just so open. The audition scenes were incredible. She was way above anybody else we had seen.
Vanessa said to me, “Oh, I love that you act just like I do.” And I said, “Baby, that’s how everybody should act (laughs).” She started laughing. She’s an amazing girl. She already has an amazing career. She wants to sing and dance even more than she already does. I’m sure she’s going to kill it.
Going by the movie’s title, would you consider getting married again? Yeah. For sure. I have been married three times. I have had two under-a-year marriages and those I don’t really count as marriages.
But I was married to Marc (Anthony) for 10 years, seven years together, then 10 years before it was final. And it was good. It didn’t work out, but it didn’t destroy my vision of marriage.
I always thought because of the way I was raised that when you fall in love with somebody, you get married and try to have a life together. I learned along the way that’s not how it works and it takes more than that. So you have to choose well, and there’s a lot of different things. I love the idea of growing old with somebody, being committed to him and declaring that to one another—not so much to the world, but to one another.
How does being a mother of two children figure in the possibility of a marriage? Everything is about them. You want somebody around who understands children and is capable of loving children, who knows how to treat children … and is a caring person. You can’t have any random, selfish person come in your life when you have kids. You can’t have careless [people].
In the movie, it’s wonderful to see that although the women are competitive, they’re actually friends. Can you talk about the competitive field that you are in? I’m a competitive person, but with myself. I love other artists. The relationships in my life that I value the most are with my girlfriends. Some of the most important relationships that I have are with women. I resent the stereotype that women fight. I don’t think that’s what it is. We support and hold each other up through most of our lives. It’s the women in our lives who get us through.
You are an accomplished woman. Who helped you become who you are? My mom. She grew up in a generation when women were emancipating themselves, including from the traditional woes of getting married at 20 years old and having kids was all that you could do. She didn’t want that for us. She wanted us to go out, work and that you can do anything that you want to do. You just have to work hard. And you can have any job that a man has. That’s how we were raised.
The movie is also about forgiveness. What do you think is entailed in the process of real forgiveness? It’s letting go. For me, forgiveness is truly letting go of the pain that someone has caused you in whatever way and not just forgiving them, but also forgiving yourself.
You always make a splash with the clothes you wear. What is your attitude toward dressing? You pretty much can be whatever you want, and you have lots of different moods. Sometimes, I feel dressing up like a boy with Timberlands, baggy jeans and an oversized sweatshirt.
Sometimes, I feel like Audrey Hepburn. I have many style influences. I love fashion from all the eras.
I have always loved playing with fashion. I think it’s because I’m an actress. I like different characters. I fancy myself to have many different sides—from sexy, demure, romantic to manly at times. I love men’s wear. I love it all, I love chic clothing. This is my approach—I wake up, and I dress however I feel that day, who I want to be. Sometimes, I want to be Jenny from the block (laughs).
How do you find time to be fit despite all the many things you do? You just have to make time. Sometimes, I don’t want to make time for the gym, either. But I force myself to, because I know I want to feel good about myself. I work out three, sometimes four times a week.
I did my (Las Vegas) show the past three years (it ended last October). That kept me in great shape. That was a two-hour, very demanding high cardio, intense workout.
You started to work quite young in show business. How tough was it? Being Latina in this business is a huge challenge, even today. It’s much better today. You have a lot more Latin actresses who are having a lot of success, which I love seeing. But when I first started 20, 25 years ago, it was like, we want a Rosie Perez type, that’s it. And everything was a caricature or a stereotype of what Latin people were. They were not considering people like me for roles in “The Wedding Planner” or “Maid in Manhattan” or anything like that.
I just wanted to be the girl in the movie. I didn’t want to be the Spanish girl who is the friend or the maid, even though in one of my biggest movies, I played a maid. But you know what I mean—where you are the protagonist, and it doesn’t matter what nationality you are. And that was a breaking of boundaries.
Another breaking of boundaries for me was, there was a real specific type of woman that was in magazines and movies.
They were usually white, tall, sizes zero, one to two and I was not like that. Again, it was trying to find your way, to be a leading lady and to not be that.
Do you think shows like “In Living Color,” where you appeared in Seasons 3 and 4, helped improve the diversity on television? It has changed the culture. Now, my kids can look at a television show, and it’s a rainbow, all different nationalities, colors and sexualities—everything.
Your character’s résumé in the movie was juiced up when she applied for a job on Madison Avenue. Have you had anything on your résumé that wasn’t quite accurate? I am absolutely sure that I lied on résumés many times (laughs).
Do you still get stage fright? No, I don’t get stage fright. As a performer, there’s always an element of butterflies, adrenaline and nerves half an hour before you go on. But there was this beautiful thing that I was talking about with Ne-Yo and Derek Hough on “World of Dance.”
I said, “Those two minutes right when they have you backstage and it’s dark and you are about to go on and perform, everything goes away. It’s the best feeling ever.”
Ne-Yo was like, “Yes! (laughs).” You get nervous when you’re ready to go. It’s a second nature thing, but you have done your rehearsal. You are born to perform, and you just go out there and do it.”
Are your kids showing any signs of following in your footsteps? Are you open to them becoming performers, too? I want them to be happy. I want them to be fulfilled and love themselves. But yeah, they both sing. I don’t know what else they will do. They don’t dance, but they sing. They’re adorable.
What is your ultimate fantasy before you turn 95? There are probably 7,000 fantasies that I have before I turn 95. In the near future, I want to direct. I find myself heading in that direction. I’d like to have more time. But that is of my own doing.
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