“I knew there was something going on that I did not understand,” says Lopez, 49, who over the years had watched three marriages fall apart, including her last, with Marc Anthony, with whom she has 10-year-old twins, Emme and Max.
In the wake of her divorce from Anthony in 2014, the Second Act star knew it was time for some real soul-searching to figure out why she seemed to repeat unhealthy patterns with men. “I was done blaming other people – he did this or he did that – and I said to myself, no, it’s you,” she says.
Facing her fears wasn’t easy. “I grew up sharing a bed with my sisters from the time I was born, [and then] it was one boyfriend, and then another, and then a husband, and [so on], and I realized you’ve never been alone,” says Lopez, who also worked with a therapist to help discover what makes her tick.
“Until I could really learn to be happy on my own and love myself, these relationships were never going to work out, no matter what. That was a big turning point for me.”
Over time, and after going through what she metaphorically calls “the dark forest,” Lopez emerged a more empowered and enlightened woman. She credits Emme and Max for ultimately teaching her about true love.
Just by being their mom, she gleaned that “love was supposed to feel a certain way – just natural [with] a very selfless, unconditional pure quality,” she says.
It was with a renewed sense of self – and with her priorities straight – that she met Rodriguez, in early 2017.
“It wasn’t until I met Alex that I felt like, ‘Okay, I can be in a relationship again,'” she says.
“Everything feels healthy and different…We bring something to each other’s lives that is profound, good and healthy.”
For more from the exclusive at-home interview with Lopez, pick up this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday.