“It was actually worse then,” Lopez said of the frenzy surrounding “Bennifer.”
After documenting their relationship in her “Jenny from the Block” music video, Lopez and Affleck got engaged in 2002, postponed their 2003 wedding days before they were set to walk down the aisle, then officially split by January 2004.
“It was just crazy,” Lopez added of the media circus. “Now at least I can show you who I am a little bit. Back then you just believed anything you read on the cover of a tabloid. Many times it wasn’t true, or it was like a third of the truth.”
The entertainer concedes that with the pressures of social media, it’s difficult to be a celebrity in 2018 — “but they didn’t live through the tabloid era,” she said. “Now I sound like my mom. ‘I used to walk uphill to school, before there were cars!’ ”
In fact, Lopez believes social media has actually strengthened her relationship with Rodriguez, which PEOPLE confirmed in March 2017.
“Now people get to see that this guy they thought was this hard-nosed athlete is, like, a goofy dad who loves his kids and celebrates his girlfriend,” she said of their romance, which they’ve documented online.
Lopez went on to share what makes their relationship work.
“When we met, we’d both already done a lot of work on ourselves,” Lopez said, possibly alluding to the MLB pro’s 2014 doping scandal.
Lopez added: “Everybody has flaws, and the people I want in my life are the people who recognize that and are willing to work on those flaws. … It’s super-important: someone who’s willing to look at themselves and say, ‘OK, I’m not great here’ or ‘I could do better there.’ ”
After meeting a Yankees game (with her ex Marc Anthony!) in May 2005, Lopez and Rodriguez reconnected more than a decade later.
They were first linked in early 2017, PEOPLE confirmed they were dating that March, and they’ve been seemingly inseparable ever since — from moving in together and spending holidays together to blending their families (she shares 10-year-old twins Max and Emme with ex Anthony; he has daughters Natasha, 13, and Ella, 10, from a past relationship).
“Their relationship from the beginning was very passionate, and they moved quickly,” a Lopez source told PEOPLE in July. “With Alex, Jennifer seems more mature and peaceful. It’s like she realized she doesn’t have to be married to be in a happy and serious relationship.”
Planning for a future together, Lopez and Rodriguez are focused on their children’s happiness. “Life is all about family for both of them,” the source added at the time. “Besides the fact that Jennifer and Alex always had a strong attraction to each other, this seems to be the main reason why their relationship works so well. The kids always come first for both of them.”