Jennifer Lopez Talks 'Prioritizing' Her Family's Health: 'It Became the No. 1 Thing We Took for Granted'
The star also opens up to PEOPLE about responding to online commenters "lying" about her looks, and how "honored" she felt performing at President Biden's inauguration: "I'm feeling really blessed and hopeful for the year to come"
Jennifer Lopez is putting safety first for her family.
Like many, the star has reevaluated priorities amid the coronavirus pandemic. "It became the number one thing that we, in a way, took for granted for so long," Lopez tells PEOPLE. "Not being able to see my mom and dad as much as we wanted, we didn't spend the holidays together — different things like that where you realize health is the number one most important thing in our lives, so it became a huge priority."
Lopez is taking part in a new campaign to raise awareness about the WELL Health-Safety Rating, an evidence-based third-party designation to verify a building or space has taken the necessary steps to prioritize the health and safety of their staff, visitors and other stakeholders. The campaign encourages people to look for buildings and spaces with the WELL Health-Safety seal on their windows or doors to feel more confident in their decision to go inside.
For Lopez, 51, it's about finding reassurance as she heads back to work. "We have an excitement to get back to work safely and I've been adamant during my shoots that we follow protocols including testing and face masks and social distancing," she explains. "But as we continue to move forward, I want to have a comfort level and a peace of mind as we enter back into a more normal routine, which hopefully will be sooner rather than later."
"It's important to me that when I get back to work on stage and filming that I'm confident I'm doing it safely for everyone," Lopez adds. "There's a huge responsibility. It's like, 'OK we don't want to take any chances with anybody's life,' so we need be as safe as we can."
With the vaccine currently being rolled out across the US, the "I'm Real" singer admits she is ready to take it "to help on the whole with with getting everybody back to normal," even if it is some time before she qualifies. "I obviously want to get it. I want to contribute in every way that I can to help getting everybody back to work and back to a more normal state of life again," she says.
Lopez is grateful that she and fiancé Alex Rodriguez, 45, have been able to work amid the pandemic, but confesses both they and her twins Maximillian and Emme, 12, have struggled with the required changes over the last year.
"As creative people, it's nice to be around one another, and we were still able to be productive, but not as productive as I think we could have been if we were all together," she says. "And it was really difficult for the kids doing virtual school. They found it very, very hard and they miss their friends and there was a little bit of a depression that went with that. You know, everybody's anxious to get back and I think the WELL Health-Safety Rating is really going to help with that."
If there's one positive takeaway from the past year for the Hustlers star, it's the increase in quality time with her family.
"That time is precious and, besides health, probably the most important thing that we have, so we're going to keep a lot of those things going," Lopez states. "But also realizing that there were a lot of things we could get done from home, and that we don't have to travel as much, even though my work involves a lot of travel. I realized that there's some things I could cut out and things I could do to give me more time with my family and my kids, which I think was a blessing."
RELATED VIDEO: Jennifer Lopez Performs Powerful Patriotic Medley as She Speaks Spanish at Biden Inauguration
There may not be anyone who kick-started 2021 with as much of a bang as the actress-producer, who launched a brand new beauty line while also taking the stage at one of the nation's biggest events: President Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony.
"Everything has been going really awesome. I feel so blessed and honored to have been asked to sing at the Inauguration in such a historic moment in our country," Lopez exclaims. "And in a time where we all needed so much hope after having such a hard year, and the past four years being pretty hard on everybody, so I'm feeling really blessed and hopeful for the year to come."
JLo Beauty has been a "dream come true" for the mogul, who admits she's been thinking about doing a skincare collection for the past 20 years.
"I had to wait until I felt really ready and knew exactly what I wanted it to stand for: beauty from the inside out, really prioritizing self-care and self-love," Lopez explains. "Amidst all of the disappointment and confusion and fear of the last year, this was something positive that I could concentrate on. Something that people had been asking me about for years, and be able to finally share that was a real dream."
RELATED VIDEO: Jennifer Lopez Has Worn Sunscreen Daily Since She Was a Teenager: 'I Don't Forget to Wear SPF'
Lopez recently made headlines for clapping back at an Instagram user who accused her of getting "tons" of Botox. "LOL that's just my face!!!" she quickly posted in response to the commenter. "for the 500 millionth time...I have never done Botox or any injectables or surgery!! Just saying."
The star says she couldn't let the "lying" comment go without a response. "I don't judge anybody if you want to do Botox and injectables. That's fine! But I don't want people lying on me and saying, 'Oh she's trying to make believe that this stuff works,'" she explains. "No, I'm telling you what I do that works! Please don't call me a liar. I don't have to lie about things. I've been pretty honest about my whole life."
"If I had, I would say, 'Yeah, you're right,' but I don't want people going, 'Stop lying, you're doing this, you're doing that,' when that's just not true," she continues. "I just felt it had to be set straight, but in a loving way. And one of my big beauty secrets is that I try to be kind to others and lift up other women. I think that that is important for us to do for each other instead of trying to tear people down."
Lopez recently recreated a scene from her iconic "Love Don't Cost a Thing" music video on Instagram, celebrating the hit song's 20th anniversary. It also marks two decades since the triple threat made history as the first star to simultaneously have a No. 1 album and movie, with J.Lo and The Wedding Planner.
"That's amazing, and to still be able to do what I love and still be performing, I really feel like I'm just beginning, like there's so much ahead," she confesses. "It's such a great feeling and proves that just because you get to a certain age, doesn't mean that life is over. It's different than it was 20 years ago for me, but it's just as exciting and I'm doing stuff now that is just as good, if not even better."
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