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Alex Rodriguez Says MLB Doping Suspension Helped Him Gain Perspective: I Had to ‘Stop Being a Jerk’

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Alex Rodriguez is opening up about how he turned his life around following what could have been a career-defining scandal.

In his new cover story for The Hollywood Reporter, Rodriguez admits of his 2014 suspension from Major League Baseball for using banned performance-enhancing substances, “There were nights in Miami when I was close to tapping out.”

The former New York Yankees star – who ended his 22-year career in 2016 – says he spent his year away from the sport “turning the lens inward,” and focused on spending time with his two daughters — Natasha, 12, and Ella, 9, with former wife Cynthia Scurtis. He also saw a psychoanalyst and kept a journal.

“It’s probably too soon for me to say this, but maybe in 10 years I’ll be able to say that the ’14 sabbatical’ was one of the best things that happened in my life,” he says.

Martin Schoeller for The Hollywood Reporter

Rodriguez, 42, adds of 2014, “I’ll say this: That year off I just had to f—— change and stop being a jerk.”

Now, with his focus turned to television – and an upcoming stint as a guest shark on Shark Tank – Rodriguez tells the publication, “It’s night and day how content and happy and proud I am.”

“It starts with being accountable. When people can see that you’re genuine, that’s when they pay attention. You have to own your s—,” he explains.

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Martin Schoeller for The Hollywood Reporter

Part of that happiness is girlfriend Jennifer Lopez, whom he hit the red carpet with for the first time in May at the Met Gala.

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Of the romance, Rodriguez says, “We both appreciate where we are in our lives. We appreciate being parents, and we’re so similar; we’re both kind of workaholics.”

Though the athlete mostly kept mum on his status as one half of Hollywood’s hottest power couple, he did admit which J. Lo tune is his favorite: “Jenny From the Block,” of course!