Alex Rodriguez Is 'Grateful' for Fiancée Jennifer Lopez: 'We Have Appreciation for Where We Are'

The former baseball-star-turned-entrepreneur opens up about his strong bond with his future superstar wife

Alex Rodriguez’s surprise proposal to Jennifer Lopez was a homerun. The baseball legend, 43, surprised the global superstar, 49 with a 16-carat diamond ring on March 9, during a romantic Bahamas beach getaway. And the duo opened up about their relationship bliss in an exclusive interview in this week’s PEOPLE.

“We’re really happy,” Lopez tells PEOPLE. For Rodriguez, popping the question was the next step in a romance that has blossomed over the past two years: “We have an appreciation for where we are in our lives today, and that’s what we’re enjoying the most.”

“We’re in similar places in our life,” the former Yankees All-Star adds, explaining that “being born in New York, having Hispanic backgrounds, having two kids and being in the public eye for almost three decades,” has made their bond solid.

The couple finds the most joy in spending time with their blended family, which includes Rodriguez’s daughters Natasha, 14, and Ella, 10 (with ex-wife Cynthia Scurtis) and Lopez’s 11-year-old twins Max and Emme (with ex-husband Marc Anthony).

It helps that both Rodriguez and Lopez—this will be her fourth marriage and his second— understand how to navigate life in the spotlight. “[We’ve] had some ups and downs,” he says. “But we are not defined by our mistakes and we get back to what matters.”

  • For more on Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez’s romantic engagement and stylish new project, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE on newsstands everywhere Friday.

And while planning a wedding is hard enough for most couples, J-Rod is trying to squeeze it in while managing two very high-profile careers.

Lopez shoots her movie, Hustlers, in New York this month, launches her “It’s My Party” tour in June and celebrates her 50th birthday on July 24. Rodriguez, who is a successful MLB analyst and currently building his own fitness empire, will be by her side through it all. “We’re constantly supporting each other and thinking about all the things that we can build together, ” says Lopez. Adds her happy fiancé: “We are very grateful.”

Their latest collaboration with Quay Australia marks their first fashion campaign as a couple, and the duo says they found the experience to be “a lot of fun.”

“It was all new to me, but she’s the master,” Rodriguez said of watching his wife-to-be work her magic on set. “She’s put in her 10,000 hours.”

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