In the cover story for Sports Illustrated’s July issue, Rodriguez, 43, details how his fiancée helped him break out of his shell — a public persona that he nicknamed “the Robot” because of the way it made him seem in the media.
“I had it backwards,” he told SI. “I tried to say the right things, to be manipulative, instead of doing the right things. For so long, I took the approach that it doesn’t matter what they write; I’m just going to go out and be the best baseball player I can be. I didn’t realize that it actually does matter.”
So how did he change? It all started when, less than a month into dating Lopez, he sent her a video of a press conference he’d been in, asking her advice.
Initially, Lopez, 49, said he did well. But when pressed, she gave some constructive criticism, especially about how he told a reporter that he didn’t miss playing baseball.
“‘You could have smiled, once,’ ” she said, Rodriguez recalled. “‘You’re silly, you’re funny; I know that now. And why did you say you’re fine without baseball? You love baseball. You miss baseball. It’s okay to let people know that.’ “
That advice marked the beginning of a change for Rodriguez. Realizing he spent years molding himself for the press, Rodriguez embraced the man beyond the A-Rod image.
“The key to being in the public eye is being your best self,” Lopez told SI. “It’s not being fake. It’s being you. But the best version of you.”
Her advice helped Rodriguez see how he could be more: “She knows how to communicate to the masses in ways I never will,” he told SI. “She has this platform that’s just ginormous, like 200 million on social, over 75% of them millennials. She just sees it. She helps me out all the time when I’m trying to land a point on something. She’s just a wordsmith.”
Now Rodriguez shares his life with millions of followers on social media.
“I’m not the person walking around with the camera on myself all day, but he does love it,” Lopez told SI.
Rodriguez and Lopez got engaged in March, nearly seven weeks after the couple celebrated their two-year anniversary.
“You make my world a more beautiful safe and stable place … in the midst of our ever-changing, ever moving life,” she wrote in part in a touching Instagram post.
“We are meant to be, and how much you mean to me cannot be put into words,” he penned in part in a post of his own.