Hotter than Ever!
Jennifer Lopez is ready to take charge of her life again. After suffering the slings of self-doubt following her divorce from Marc Anthony, and then the realization that her romance with Casper Smart wasn’t the answer, J-Lo is beginning the New Year with a fresh outlook on life.
“ I’m already thinking of myself in a different way. When I meet someone that I’m attracted to or have chemistry with, I’m going to take my time and make sure that it’s the right person—that they’re whole, too. I’m making sure I’m whole first. Then together we can add to each other’s happiness.”
Apart from romance, J-Lo’s career is taking off on all fronts. Jennifer released her A.K.A. album last June and then was seen performing in a highly steamy “Booty” video with Iggy Azalea. J-Lo then resumed her duties as a judge on American Idol and created waves this fall by doing a slow dance with one of the contestant hopefuls while fellow judges Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban provided musical accompaniment. Then, in October, Lopez released her book, “True Love”, which offers considerable insight into the emotional roller coaster she’s been on since her divorce from Marc Anthony.
As if that were not enough, Lopez, 45, is returning to the big screen with her appearance in the film, The Boy Next Door, an erotic thriller in which she plays the character of Claire, a high school teacher coping with her husband’s infidelity. Vulnerable and confused, she succumbs to the charms of her hunk-ish new neighbor, Noah (Ryan Guzman), an 18-year-old teenager who lavishes her with attention. He calls her beautiful and then quickly apologizes. “It’s okay,” she says. “It’s the nicest thing anyone has said to me in a long time.” They share a passionate night together after which Claire, realizing that it’s a mistake, decides to end their relationship. Noah refuses to accept that and begins to stalk Claire in an increasingly menacing fashion reminiscent of Glenn Close’s character in the film, Fatal Attraction. Complicating matters is the fact that Noah is a student at the high school where she teaches. Directed by Rob Cohen, the film also stars Kristin Chenoweth, John Corbett, and Ian Nelson.
With respect to his high-octane sex scene with his co-star, Ryan Guzman was clearly enamored with the sensationally beautiful Lopez: “Obviously I was excited, because there’s a love scene with Jennifer, but I was more excited to play a character that was so different and so crazy and so out there… Jen is an amazing person to do those scenes with.”
STRIPLV: Jennifer, you never seem to stop working these days…
LOPEZ: (Laughs) I know, I know. But I love it. I’ve had some rough times, and sometimes the best thing you can do is throw yourself into your work, be a good mother to your children, and not worry about things so much.
STRIPLV: Have you enjoyed working on American Idol –now in its 14th season?
LOPEZ: I have so much fun on the show. I love doing it because I love music and I love being able to listen to so many young artists trying to make their mark and giving all they have. It’s also interesting for me to be able to talk with fellow judges (Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr.) about music and spend time together away from our regular lives and be in that situation together.
STRIPLV: You really seem to enjoy the interaction with the contestants.
LOPEZ: It’s so wonderful to be able to discover great new talents and share their enthusiasm and dreams. That’s why it’s hard for me sometimes to say no or criticize (contestants), because I hate breaking their hearts, because I know how much it means to them. But still I find it a thrill to come across some incredible young artists and find a potential new superstar. That’s what it’s really all about.
STRIPLV: Tell us about your new book about your life, “True Love”, which is very open about how you struggled after your divorce.
LOPEZ: It was a very cathartic experience. When you sit down and write about your own life, it forces you to think very hard about everything. It’s not like you can run and hide. But it turned out to be a very positive thing, because I saw how I had been able to find strength inside myself and get my life back together. I learned a lot about myself and that I was tougher than I thought when I went on tour with my kids and had such a good experience.
STRIPLV: Your children are such a huge part of your world. How do you see your role as a mother and the kinds of things you would like to teach them about life?
LOPEZ: I want them to grow up to be loving and kind, and generous people. I come from a very hardworking family, and all through my life I’ve had the strength of will to believe in myself, and knowing that hard work goes a long way to getting you to where you want to be in life. I think my children will learn from my example that being charitable, that being good to people, taking care of your loved ones, and working hard for your goals are the keys to leading a good life.
STRIPLV: You’re someone who has achieved so much in life, but you’ve also had some ups and downs. How do you get through the tough times?
LOPEZ: There are going to be some wonderful high moments in life and then you’re going to experience difficult moments. Life is a journey like that. The important thing is to find happiness in yourself and then you have a better perspective to deal with everything that life throws at you. You also have to learn to find a good balance between your career and your home life, your life with your children. It’s always a challenge.
STRIPLV: What does your book ultimately say about true love?
LOPEZ: I’ve realized that love starts inside you. You’ve got to love yourself first until you really figure out that piece and really understand what that means, which I did not, and then it can go better for you.
STRIPLV: What about finding a new true love?
LOPEZ: I’m not going to rush into anything—I’m very happy as I am. I’m making good choices in my life and I feel I’ve become a much stronger and wiser person. For me, I’ve figured out that you have to feel good on your own, before you should get involved with anyone. That’s the basis of everything.
STRIPLV: What was it like making your new movie, The Boy Next Door?
LOPEZ: I love acting and it was much easier making this film, (even though there are some terrifying scenes for me to play), than it was for me to make Parker (her previous film) when I was dealing with my breakup and I was not in a good place.
STRIPLV: Is acting important to you?
LOPEZ: I still don’t think I’ve achieved as much as I wanted. My acting career got sidetracked a bit when I got married, but now I’m interested in working more often and trying to find as many great roles as I can. I feel that I have a lot left to accomplish.
STRIPLV: When you were a little kid, who inspired you to believe in yourself and make you believe that you were going to become a successful actress and singer?
LOPEZ: I think my mom was a very integral part of my life, because she made us believe that we could do anything. I was a Puerto Rican girl from New York. It seems so far-fetched, but when people make you believe that, you’re less afraid to try things. She always was very big on us being independent, not having to depend on any man, not having to depend on anybody, just being able to kind of survive on your own no matter what. And one of the things that went along with that was working hard. And my parents were great examples. My dad worked nights most of my life. My mom worked at the school and had a Tupperware job.
STRIPLV: How did your family see your showbiz ambitions?
LOPEZ: When I was starting out, my mother told me: “I’m going to support you in everything you’re doing, but I don’t want to ever hear you crying if things aren’t working out for you!” I remember getting my first big job where we were doing a show about the history of Broadway musicals. We went on a tour of Europe and I was very upset, because I was the only member of the dance troupe who didn’t have a solo number. So I called my mother crying on the phone. She told me: “You were the one who wanted to be in show business, so don’t call me and sob on the phone. Goodbye, and I’ll see you soon.” It’s what I call my family’s brand of tough love and it works!
STRIPLV: Is that the kind of moment that made you who you are today?
LOPEZ: It strengthens you. It gives you a lot of inner motivation, which you can draw upon when things aren’t going well. But I’ve always had a lot of ambition and drive. I was inspired by watching my mom and dad work very hard to take care of their family. You never forget that. I was raised by my mom and grandmother, who were very tough Puerto Rican women, and they’re my role models in life. It becomes a part of you and you know that hard work will help you accomplish just about anything!
STRIPLV: You’ve always been known as an exceptionally beautiful woman, but people are saying that they’ve never seen you look hotter than you do now.
LOPEZ: Oh, wow! (Laughs) Thanks for saying that... I went on a vegan 22-day (diet) plan and that really did the trick for me. I’ve never felt healthier or fitter than I do now. I decided to get more serious about what I was eating and there really are amazing benefits to the way you feel, as well as how your body looks when you do eat well.
STRIPLV: What about new romance? Anything you can tell us?
LOPEZ: I am totally single...It’s not going to be forever. Someone great will come along!