Mario Testino/Vanity Fair
Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez are a proud power couple in Vanity Fair‘s December issue. Though they both have a long list of famous ex-lovers, it’s hard to imagine a more perfect pairing than the 48-year-old actress/singer and the 42-year-old athlete. Given their undeniable chemistry, Vanity Fair dispatched Bethany McLean to sit down with the couple for an interview.
Here are four highlights E! News gleaned from the cover story:
1. Lopez Boldly Made the First Move
Last winter, Lopez was having lunch in Beverly Hills when she spotted Rodriguez. “I almost yelled out ‘Alex,’ but I am the shyest person when it comes to things like that,” she says. She saw him later, outside, and decided to approach him. “I could literally just have walked away. But I walk over and tap him on the shoulder and say, ‘Hey.'” Lopez had just come from taping a promo for NBC’s Shades of Blue, so she was dressed “like a boy” in jeans and boots with “curly short hair,” she said. After introducing herself, Lopez recalled, “He says, ‘You look so beautiful.'”
They actually met 12 years earlier, when Lopez’s then-husband, Marc Anthony, threw out the first pitch before a New York Mets game. “You don’t have to say you remember if you don’t,” she teases Rodriguez. But he, of course, remembers: “Shea Stadium, during a subway series.”
Anthony J. Causi/ Splash News
2. Their First Date Was a Slow Burn
In late January, they agreed to meet up for dinner at the Hotel Bel Air. “He was sitting there in his white shirt, very confident and manly, but then he was just so talkative! I think he thought I was going to be this loud person, but I’m not. I just listen,” Lopez tells the magazine. “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.”
Looking back on that first dinner, Lopez says, “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.”
Rodriguez confesses he “didn’t know” if it was a date. “Maybe we were seeing each other at night because of her work schedule. I went in uneasy, not knowing her situation. It would be incredibly productive for me to sit with one of the smartest, greatest women in the world, especially for a guy like me who is coming through tough times, rehabbing himself, re-establishing himself to folks out there. I thought it would be a win-win no matter what.”
Eventually, Lopez clued him in to the fact that they were, indeed, on a date.
“She told me around the third or fourth inning that she was single. I had to get up and go re-adjust my thoughts. I went to the bathroom and got enough courage to send her a text,” Rodriguez says. It read, “You look bady AF.” They both laugh. “And then it took a turn,” Lopez recalls. “The fire alarm went off, and we had to evacuate. No, really! The fire alarm went off!”
3. They Come From Similar Backgrounds
“We are very much twins,” says Rodriguez, who, like Lopez, is also divorced with children. “We’re both Leos; we’re both from New York; we’re both Latino and about 20 other things.”
“I understand him in a way that I don’t think anyone else could, and he understands me in a way that no one else could ever,” Lopez says. “In his 20s, he came into big success with the biggest baseball contract [at the time]. I had a No. 1 movie and a No. 1 album and made history. We both had ups and downs and challenges in our 30s, and by our 40s we’d both been through so much. And more importantly than anything, we had both done a lot of work on ourselves.”
Admittedly, Lopez and Rodriguez are perfectionists. “We’re both like this. We put so much pressure on ourselves to be great, to be the best all the time. We understood that about each other,” the singer explains. “When we came together it was, ‘Oh my God, I was the same way.'”
Because they worked hard to find fame and fortune, they don’t take their success for granted. One night, for example, Lopez was in the bathtub and Rodriguez was sitting by the fire when he decided to sit on the bedroom patio. “I came out and said, ‘What are you doing out here?'” she says. “He said, ‘Living the dream.'” It was a small but powerful moment. “I thought, ‘Wow, this person is different.’ Because a lot of people I’ve met in my life, they don’t appreciate what they’re doing and how amazing it is,” she says. It’s not about “the greatness of the house,” she says, “but the moment of sitting there with someone you love, with a family, with healthy kids.”
4. Timing Is Everything
Lopez and Rodriguez tell Vanity Fair that if they had both been single when they initially met, their relationship wouldn’t have gone the distance. “We had to grow and discover ourselves first,” the “Booty” singer says. But their coupling also makes sense for another reason. “They weren’t afraid to dream,” Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Lopez’s former agent and current production company partner, says of the A-list duo. “And they are still dreaming, both of them.”
For the full interview with Lopez and Rodriguez, pick up the December issue of Vanity Fair.