Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez are cover stars of the December issue of Vanity Fair, and are sharing their paths to becoming a couple.
Interviewed at Lopez’s Bel Air, California, home, the two said their similar life experiences and age is what makes them so good together now.
How they got together in the first place is something close to chance. The two met while Lopez was still married to singer and father of her twins, Max and Emme, Marc Anthony. Anthony was throwing the first pitch at the 2005 New York Mets game with Rodriguez’s team, the New York Yankees. Photos from the event show Lopez and Rodriguez shaking hands with each other.
Years later, Lopez, 48, was having lunch after shooting promotional images for her NBC show “Shades of Blue” when she saw Rodriguez, 42, walk by.
“I almost yelled out ‘Alex,’ but I am the shyest person when it comes to things like that,” she said. Instead, she went outside and tapped him on the shoulder to say “Hey.”
On their first date, Rodriguez was nervous and wasn’t sure they were actually on a date to begin with.
“He was sitting there in his white shirt, very confident and manly, but then he was just so talkative," Lopez recalled. "I think he thought I was going to be this loud person, but I'm not. I just listen. So he’s talking, talking about his plans, about how he had just retired from baseball, about how he saw himself getting married again, all these things you wouldn’t normally talk about on a first date. I don’t know if he thought it was a date. I thought it was a date. Then I knew he was nervous because he asked me if I wanted a drink. I said, ‘No, I don’t drink,’ and he asked if I minded if he had one. He was nervous, and it was really cute.”
Lopez made it clear she was single, and Rodriguez took a bathroom break to reassess. On the way back, he texted Lopez, “You look sexy AF.”
The two say that challenges in their careers when they were younger is among their commonalities and that had they dates when they were younger, it wouldn’t have worked.
“We had to grow and discover ourselves first,” Lopez said.
Lopez had box office disappointments, like “Gigli” and the public end of her engagement to Ben Affleck. In 2014, Rodriguez was suspended for an entire season after a steroid scandal.
“The hardest times prove who you are. That’s what I love and admire the most about Alex,” Lopez said “He doesn’t let anything beat him. He just comes back stronger.”
Rodriguez finished his last season with 33 home runs.
“I did that at 40 and 100 percent clean, and no one can take that away from me,” he says. “It told me everything about who I was.”
“We put so much pressure on ourselves to be great, to be the best all the time,” Lopez said. “We understood that about each other. When we came together it was ‘Oh my God, I was the same way.’”
For both, however, gratitude and love of family seems to be the most significant part of their bond. Lopez shares the home with her twins and Rodriguez, who is father to daughters Natasha and Ella from his marriage to Cynthia Scurtis.
“I thought, Wow, this person is different,” Lopez said. “Because a lot of people I’ve met in my life, they don’t appreciate what they’re doing and how amazing it is . . . not the greatness of the house, but the moment of sitting there with someone you love, with a family, with healthy kids.”
In Rodriguez’s words, they’re “living the dream.”
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Credit: John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com