Stephanie Petit
April 09, 2018 12:35 PM

Jennifer Lopez may be one of the most recognizable stars in the world, but Alex Rodriguez had to do a double take during their first encounter before becoming one of Hollywood’s A-list couples.

The former New York Yankees slugger recently visited The Ellen DeGeneres Show, during which the host decided to make him tell the story of how he reconnected with Lopez — a story she compared to the actress’ own retelling of their fateful meeting.

“I describe it as the luckiest day of my life,” Rodriguez said.

The 42-year-old athlete said that after a lunch meeting in Los Angeles, he was searching the parking lot for his car when someone tapped him on the shoulder.

“I turn around, and I do not recognize this person,” he explained. “And it’s Jennifer, but she’s dressed up as Harlee from Shades of Blue and she’s in her jeans and her big boots. And it took me about four or five seconds. And she said, ‘It’s Jennifer! It’s Jennifer!’ I go, ‘Oh my God, Jennifer, you look beautiful.’ ”

Alex Rodriguez
Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

Alex Rodriguez

Rodriguez continued, “I was so embarrassed and then I got a little nervous, and I’m like, ‘This is so goofy.’ We all know who Jennifer is and she’s everywhere.”

“And she says, ‘You have my number, reach out,’ ” he explained. “And I went home that night and reached out.”

DeGeneres disputed the story, though, explaining that Lopez shared a different account during an appearance on the talk show last year. Still, the 48-year-old singer’s version of events is pretty similar.

Lopez told Vanity Fair in the magazine’s December cover story that she saw the baseball star walk by while having lunch and decided to approach him.

“I could literally just have walked away,” she said. “But I walk over and tap him on the shoulder and say ‘Hey.’ ”

Lopez added, “I had just come from a promo for my show, Shades of Blue, so I’m dressed like my character, like a boy — Timberlands, jeans, curly short hair. He looks at me. I say, ‘It’s Jennifer.’ He says, ‘You look so beautiful.’ ”

The lunch actually wasn’t the first time the couple crossed paths, though. On May 21, 2005, Lopez met Rodriguez while attending a Yankees game alongside her then-husband Marc Anthony.

As both teams geared up to play some ball at Shea Stadium in Queens, Lopez was snapped shaking hands with Rodriguez. She and Anthony — who was scheduled to throw out the first pitch at the Subway Series Game — also posed for a photo with the sportsman, who was married at the time to Cynthia Scurtis (the pair split in 2008).

Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez and Marc Anthony in 2005
SplashNews

Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez and Marc Anthony in 2005

Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez
Mike Ehrmann/WireImage

Recently opening up in the April Harper’s BAZAAR cover story, Lopez revealed she’s in no rush to walk down the aisle with her boyfriend of over a year.

“I do believe in marriage, and I would love to grow old with somebody in a committed relationship,” the star told the outlet. “But I’m not forcing anything right now.”

Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

The couple have been candid about blending their families — Lopez’s 10-year-old twins Max and Emme and Rodriguez’s daughters (with Scurtis) Natasha, 13, and Ella, 9 — making it known that their priorities lie with their children’s best interests.

In fact, the former New York Yankee’s daughters were a huge fan of Lopez from the get-go. “She is such a great role model. They look at her like she’s the Messiah,” Rodriguez told PEOPLE exclusively in October of Ella and Natasha.

He added, “When they’re in Las Vegas, I don’t think they leave Jennifer’s side.”

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