Thursday, September 4, 2008

Jennifer Lopez Opens Up About How Life Has Changed, But That She Is Still J.Lo

Jennifer Lopez is not the type to skimp; she doesn’t do things one at a time. Careers, for instance. Or kids. Or offices. She has an office in her Los Angeles home; one across town at her Nuyorican Productions film company near UCLA; one at Sweetface, her New York fashion company situated across the street from Bryant Park, home to the city’s Fashion Week. And we’re sitting in another one now, in her house on Long Island, though “house” is an understatement it’s less house than estate—compound, even—hidden behind a gate at the end of an all-but-unlabeled street.

She’s 39 now. Hard to believe—15 years since her Fly Girl days on In Living Color. We’ve seen her through two divorces (to Ojani Noa, a waiter-chef, and backup dancer-choreographer Cris Judd) and two other very public relationships: one with Ben Affleck that caved under media scrutiny and a box-office flop, and one with Sean Combs that ended in a post arrest (his) breakup.

She has released eight albums (five of them platinum or more) and 21 movies. Her ubiquity has been extraordinary; after breaking out as Tejano star Selena in the 1997 biopic, it was virtually impossible to open a magazine or turn on a television or radio without a full-blown Lopezapalooza. In 2001, she was the first woman to have an album ( J.Lo, her second) and a movie (The Wedding Planner) both open at No. 1 the same week.

There’s a calm surrounding her. She chalks it up to the birth of her twins, Max and Emme, now seven months old. “All of a sudden,” she says, “the world is very clear. ‘This is important, this is not, this is okay, this is not.’ That’s what the world comes down to.” She wears little visible makeup, and with her hair in a bun, huge hoop earrings, and a long halter dress on, she’s squarely in casual-mother mode.

Well, mostly; her flip-flops are bejeweled Puccis that her friends Dolce and Gabbana picked out for her on a recent trip to Europe. She’s still J.Lo, after all, a woman who never met a fabulous outfit she didn’t like. “I’ve always loved the glamour,” she says with the slightest shrug. So sue me. “I can’t shy away from that. I’ve always been very girly.”

But even as her stranglehold on the box office and album charts has loosened a bit—a look at IMDB’s all-knowing Starmeter shows her often enjoying Top 20 status until after the Affleck/Gigli affair of 2003—her whole has become much, much greater than the sum of her ventures.

Jennifer was costume-changing her way around the world on tour with Marc —and when she finally holed up for her third trimester, she somehow saw it as a fashion opportunity: “I was like, How am I going to rock this moment of my life?” In early February, roughly two weeks before the twins were born, she commissioned photographer Tony Duran to shoot a book of her as a Valentine’s gift for Marc.

She has an assistant bring in the book. It is oversize, lushly shot, and frankly looks like the sexiest maternity catalog in existence: Jennifer in full makeup, hair done up, wearing long cashmere sweaters pulled up to expose her nigh-to-bursting belly. “I felt very womanly,” she says. “Marc was in a dream. He loved it.”

The pregnancy itself was a surprise, as the couple had all but given up on the possibility of having children. They had wanted to start a family as soon as they got married in 2004, she says, “then it just didn’t happen.” Despite rumors to the contrary, Jennifer says that they never pursued in vitro fertilization. “We knew nothing was wrong with either one of us—I had been checked, and he had kids already,” she says. “I knew, Something’s not ready here, in my head or in my life, and when it is, I know it’s going to happen.”

And it did, almost exactly three years later. Jennifer was by herself in Portugal for a show when she realized she was five days late for her period; Marc, at home in New York, was convinced that she was pregnant. “I was sitting down doing hair and makeup,” she says, “and I felt a flutter. The weirdest little…flourish. My makeup artist said, ‘What’s the matter?’ I didn’t say anything, but in my head, I was like, I have life inside me!” As soon as she got back to the States, out came the pregnancy tests. Twenty of them. Including one that she made Marc take: “I needed to see what a negative looked like!”


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