Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez end their four-year relationship: A look back at their romance

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Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez have officially ended their high-profile romance after four years of dating. The news comes one month after the pair denied breakup reports.

The couple issued a joint statement Thursday: "We have realized we are better as friends and look forward to remaining so. We will continue to work together and support each other on our shared businesses and projects. We wish the best for each other and one another's children. Out of respect for them, the only other comment we have is to say is thank you to everyone who has sent kind words and support."

Before their split, the couple nicknamed J-Rod had often mentioned each other in interviews and were frequently seen with one another's children. They had announced their engagement in March 2019, although they had postponed their wedding plans because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here's a look back at their relationship.

February 2017

A chance meeting in Beverly Hills led to the coupling. The actress was having lunch when she saw the former MLB slugger walk by. (They first met more than a decade ago in 2005 when Lopez's ex-husband, Marc Anthony, threw out the first pitch at a Yankees-Mets game.)

“I almost yelled out ‘Alex,’ but I am the shyest person when it comes to things like that,” she recalled to Vanity Fair. When she went outside, he was there. "I could literally just have walked away. ... But I walk over and tap him on the shoulder and say 'Hey.'" They exchanged numbers and Rodriguez asked her out to dinner a few nights later.

While on their first date at the Hotel Bel Air, Lopez remembered him being "very confident and manly, but then he was just so talkative!" She added, "I think he thought I was going to be this loud person, but I’m not. I just listen. 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. 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."

"I didn’t know if it was a date," Rodriguez told the magazine. "Maybe we were seeing each other at night because of her work schedule. I went in uneasy, not knowing her situation ... [then] 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."

So what did the text say? "'You look sexy AF.'" The rest, as they say, is history.

March 2017

Within a few weeks of their encounter, dating rumors surfaced. "She seems excited," a source close to Lopez told People. "He has been around her family and she really likes that he is a dad. She is aware, though, that he is a ladies’ man too and is being cautious. For now, it’s just fun. She is single and enjoys dating."

April 2017

The pair publicly confirmed their romance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show during separate appearances. Lopez also very casually made their romance Instagram official — the first of many cozy posts to come.

May 2017

Lopez and Rodriguez made their red carpet debut at the Met Gala. And after only dating for three months, they already had pet names for each other. Lopez revealed that she called Rodriguez her "Macho."

Summer 2017

Full steam ahead! In June, Rodriguez and Lopez jetted off to Paris for their first big trip together.

In July, they celebrated their birthdays together with a joint bash.

October 2017

After moving in together, Rodriguez and Lopez posed together for the cover of Vanity Fair. In a joint interview, they were more candid than ever about their relationship.

Rodriguez was rehabilitating his image for years prior to his romance with Lopez, something she was very aware of. (In 2014, he was suspended for an entire season after admitting to using performance-enhancing drugs during his time with the Rangers.)

“The most impressive thing to me was how he did pick himself up and take that opportunity to make himself a better person,” Lopez told the magazine. “The hardest times prove who you are. That’s what I love and admire the most about Alex. He doesn’t let anything beat him. He just comes back stronger.”

The singer noted that if the pair began dating 12 years earlier, their relationship never would have worked. "We had to grow and discover ourselves first," she explained.

December 2017

Ten months into their relationship, they were already integrating their families, spending Christmas as one.

March 2018

After celebrating their first anniversary, Lopez made it clear she was in no rush to get married.

"I do believe in marriage, and I would love to grow old with somebody in a committed relationship. But I'm not forcing anything right now," she told Harpers Bazaar. "It's good, it's healthy; we communicate well. We understand each other's lives in a way that most other people couldn't."

August 2018

While accepting the Video Vanguard Award at the MTV Video Music Awards, Lopez publicly declared her love for Rodriguez during her acceptance speech.

"Alex. You are like my twin soul. We are like mirror images of each other. My life is sweeter and better with you in it, because you make me realize that every day, the sky is not the limit," she said. "The universe is infinite, and so is what we can accomplish together, with love and trust and understanding. There's so much more to do and to experience, and there is nobody I would rather do it with, baby. You are my macho, and I love you."

November 2018

Lopez and Rodriguez continued to blend their families. The singer, who shares 13-year-old twins Emme and Max with Anthony, and the former Yankees star — who has daughters Natasha, 16, and Ella, 12, from his previous marriage to Cynthia Scurtis — all spent Thanksgiving together.

February 2019

Lopez celebrated two years of "laughter," "fun," "adventures" and "true friendship" with her "macho" in a sweet Instagram post on their second anniversary. "You make my world a more beautiful safe and stable place... in the midst of our ever-changing, ever-moving life... you make me feel like a teenager starting out all over again," she wrote.

Rodriguez followed suit with a gushy post to his "macha," saying their two years together "feels like we have been together forever. We are meant to be, and how much you mean to me cannot be put into words."

An engagement seemed imminent.

March 2019

And it was! On March 9, Rodriguez locked "it down" during a romantic trip to the Bahamas.

Lopez, of course, said yes.

But not even 24 hours passed before Rodriguez was accused of being unfaithful. Controversial former MLB player Jose Canseco tweeted that A-Rod cheated with his ex-wife Jessica. “Poor girl she has no idea who he really is,” Canseco wrote about J.Lo. Canseco has made it known for years he dislikes A-Rod, and his ex-wife wife also slammed the allegation.

The attention grabbing tweets didn't seem to bother the newly engaged pair. “We’re really happy,” Lopez told People. “We have [an] appreciation for where we are in our lives today, and that’s what we’re enjoying the most.”

A week later, a former Playboy Playmate claimed she had sexted with Rodriguez two months earlier. Zoe Gregory told U.K.'s The Sun: "J.Lo is amazing and she doesn’t deserve this. While getting ready to marry her, he was asking me for sex videos, demanding we hook up and asking me to make arrangements with other girls. If he is doing this right up until the point he is proposing to her it is just not fair."

Again, the couple is brushing off the gossip. While on set of Lopez's new film Hustlers, they made it clear they were OK with some cheeky PDA.

April 2020

According to the New York Post, Lopez and Rodriguez were looking to go into business together, as they retained JPMorgan Chase to raise capital to buy the New York Mets baseball team. By August, Lopez said she was “so disappointed” that they had had to drop out of the bidding process.

May 2020

Lopez told Today that she was upset her nuptials had to be put on hold, because of the pandemic: "I'm a little heartbroken because we did have some great plans."

January 2021

J-Rod made a joint appearance at Joe Biden's presidential inauguration, where she performed.

Days later, a co-star of Southern Charm's Madison LeCroy accused her of being a "homewrecker" for having a relationship with a very famous former Major League Baseball star in a clip for a reunion episode of the reality show. The athlete is later rumored to be Rodriguez, although an insider in his camp claimed that Rodriguez didn't know her. LeCroy told Andy Cohen that her interactions with the unnamed man were limited to exchanges on social media

March 2021

Multiple reports alleged Rodriguez and Lopez ended their engagement. However, the couple issued a statement insisting they were still together but "working through some things."

"This isn't too surprising to anyone that has been close to them in recent months," an insider told Yahoo Entertainment.

Page Six, which was first to report the couple's split, claimed the LeCroy rumors led to the breakup.

Raechal Shewfelt contributed to this report

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