Jennifer Lopez’s new movie, Marry Me, co-starring Owen Wilson, comes out February 11. It’s about a global popstar who’s supposed to marry another big star (played by Maluma) until she finds he’s been cheating on her and she picks a guy holding a sign (Owen) in the audience to be her fake boyfriend and… well… you should know the rest even though you haven’t seen it yet because you’ve been around a rom-com once or twice in your life, I assume. And JLo is here to bring it back. I’m not complaining. I’m ready for this movie, and I’m ready for JLo to promote this movie, by promoting love. HER LOVE.
Two big JLo interviews today in the New York Times and she covers PEOPLE ahead of the release of Marry Me. Let’s start there because it’s PEOPLE, and they’re serving up in their first excerpt everything that we want – which is all things Bennifer. Yes, of course, of course she goes there.
All the quotes are as you expect they would be when JLo is in love. She says she’s “never been better” and that Bennifer is a “beautiful love story that we got a second chance”. And now that they got that second chance, they’ve learned from what the experienced the first time around:
“Before we kind of put [our relationship] out there and we were naïve and it got a little trampled."
This time, she says, "We both were like, 'Wow, we're so happy and we don't want any of that to come into play again.' We're older now, we're smarter, we have more experience, we're at different places in our lives, we have kids now, and we have to be very conscious of those things. We're so protective because it is such a beautiful time for all of us."
This is what I’ve been saying about them since they got back together last April – Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, especially Ben Affleck, don’t sweat the small stuff anymore.
So none of what she says here about him, about their relationship, is particularly newsworthy. It’s been obvious for the better part of the year. She’s “proud” of him, of what he’s gone through and how he’s come out of it. JLo is never not the best cheerleader, and she’s never been as enthusiastic of a cheerleader than she’s been for Ben.
Before you start pointing out the red flag here though, and I get why you would, this enthusiasm is reciprocated. It may not have been in the past, when Ben was younger and cared too much about what people thought and couldn’t get past the embarrassment, but you’ll recall, he’s the one who was talking her up in the press before they reunited. And if we switch to the NYT interview with JLo that was also published today, Ben makes multiple appearances, even though he knows there’s a journalist who’s been invited to speak to JLo at Bel-Air estate just before Christmas. It starts early, in the third paragraph:
“…Ben Affleck, pops in for a kiss and a whispered conversation near a giant gingerbread house that’s iced with the words “Affleck Lopez Family.”
She says “hi baby” to him and then, as the writer Nicole Sperling describes it:
“With a backpack slung over his shoulder, he interrupted the interview to pull her into the other room. They returned 10 minutes later, only to embrace, kiss and whisper “I love you” into each other’s ears. “All right my love, I’ll see you later,” he said before dashing off.
It was a peculiar moment. Was it planned? Spontaneous? My requests to speak to Affleck had been denied, yet here he was, the dutiful boyfriend sharing words of encouragement in front of the press.”
So to go back to my original point, it’s not just JLo out here fangirling her again-boyfriend. He’s giving back good in his own way. And now again I’m wondering…she’s been on several carpets now for his film premieres. Will he show up on the Marry Me carpet?
Unlike the PEOPLE feature though, there is more to the NYT piece than just Bennifer. Marry Me is a rom-com and people assume that rom-coms don’t come with the high degree of difficulty you see in say prestige pictures starring Leonardo DiCaprio. But there’s an argument being made here that in Marry Me JLo does go to some vulnerable places. I particularly enjoyed this paragraph:
“She’s so ubiquitous that sometimes she doesn’t get the credit she deserves,” [Marry Me director Kat Coiro] said. “I think there’s something of that in this film.” When Kat Valdez [JLo’s character] “talks about never winning any awards, I think that was a moment that was true to life,” Coiro continued. “She’s been around. She has fans like nobody else, and because of that high profile sometimes she’s not looked at in a certain way.”
And specifically by her peers, most of whom couldn’t do what she did in Hustlers. But it worked against her because they, of all people, who should know better, intimately better, thought it was easy.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s hard to be JLo, lol. All I’m saying is that in certain spaces, even JLo has limits that have been set for her by other standards. At the same time, that’s also why she has that superpower which is what Duana and I discussed a few years ago on the Show Your Work podcast – what JLo has that few other celebrities do is that nothing sticks to her. When you’ve been as famous as long as she has, when you’ve been a part of as many hall of fame gossip moments as she has, this is a kind of magic!
Maybe it’s because she’s better at learning and living the lesson that everyone, not just celebrities but civilians too, have such a hard time with. As she tells the NYT, specifically in reference to Alex Rodriguez (like I said, nothing sticks to her, not even him, and he TRIED):
“When you’re in things, you do what feels right. And I don’t beat myself up over ‘I wish I had done this differently’ or ‘Did I do too much?’” she said. “That’s what was comfortable at the time. I did what I did. He did what he did. And it was fine. The relationship stuff had nothing to do with being public or not being public.”
And later on, in general, on her relentlessly unwavering willingness to love – again and again:
“You can’t live life and think that things are just mistakes: I just messed up there, I messed up there. No, it’s all lessons,” she said. “It’s really what can you extrapolate from it that is going to help you grow and go to the next level of understanding yourself, finding yourself and being able to be at peace with your life, at peace with who you are.”
I know, right? JLo is rich and resourceful and of course she’s going to bounce back quicker from her f-ckups than you do, than we all do. Money doesn’t protect anyone from self-flagellation though. And it certainly never has protected women ever from self-doubt. Somehow, for three decades, Jennifer Lopez is still going, and is not even close to stopping. She believes in herself. It’s the simplest thing and the hardest thing at the same time.
Attached below – new photos of Bennifer out for dinner in Beverly Hills.