J.Lo: 40 and Fabulous!

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Jennifer Lopez has always been pretty, but it seems the 40-year-old singer/actress has become more beautiful since settling down and giving birth to her adorable twins, Max and Emme, 2. Perhaps it's the inner glow that comes along with motherhood?

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"I can't help but be a different person now that I've had kids," she says in the May issue of Redbook. "That really does change your whole perspective on life for the better. I definitely feel like I've grown up. So, I guess in a way parts of me are going to be different, but in general I'm still the same girl from the Bronx who had big dreams."

Of course, she couldn't have become a mom without the help of her doting husband of nearly 6 years, Marc Anthony. After several failed relationships with high-profile celebs such as Sean "Diddy" Combs and Ben Affleck, how did Jennifer know that Marc was "the one"?

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"I think you can love many different people, but that's different from what makes a great partner in life, which Marc is for me," she notes. "When you love somebody so much that you're willing to work to be a better person, and that other person is willing to do the same for you, that's when you have magic in a bottle. And that's not easy to find. Here's the thing with relationships that nobody tells you," she continues. "You're not going to find one person where everything is always going to be perfect -- that's bull. You have to work at a relationship, and you have to agree to disagree. You have to find someone who is willing to work out the kinks with you and you with them. Communication is everything; it's the only thing. If your communication game is strong, you can get through the tough stuff. But if it's not, the littlest thing can bring the relationship down."  

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Fortunately, having a family hasn't hindered J.Lo's career in the slightest. Jen's first film in three years, "The Back-up Plan," hits theaters on April 23; she's got a guest-starring role on "Glee," followed by the release of a new CD, Love? this summer. Of course, there is a downside: when she's working, that means she has less time to spend with her children.

"You feel guilty whenever you can't have your kids right there with you on your hip," she admits. "I never expected to feel the guilt of not being able to be there for them at every single moment." Still, she and Marc do their best to carve out family time. "I think by the standards of this business, Marc and I live a pretty normal life, except for all the traveling," she says. "We're together a lot. We wake up as a family together, we have meals together, we put them to bed together most nights. We might even get to spend more time with them than most working parents because we don't work normal working hours and we have the luxury of taking them with us. Sometimes we're home all day and don't even go to work until after they are in bed at night."

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As for turning the big 4-0 in July of last year, Lopez says it really wasn't that big of a deal. "I remember when I was 33 or 34, it was devastating because I realized I wasn't a kid anymore," she says. "The great thing about 40 was that I really felt like I had life experience and knew what I was doing now. In fact, 40 turned out to be an empowered place for me, because I also realized how much I didn't know when I was 20 or even 30."

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To read more of Redbook's interview with J.Lo, pick up the May issue on newsstands April 20!

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