Jennifer Lopez reveals how she and Ben Affleck reconnected — from his 1st email to secret visits

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Jennifer Lopez talks marriage to Ben Affleck and more in the new Vogue cover story. (Photo: ANNIE LEIBOVITZ/Vogue)

Jennifer Lopez is sharing new details about life as Mrs. Affleck.

In Vogue's December cover story, the actress/singer/dancer/beauty mogul reveals new details about life with Ben Affleck, including how they officially got back in touch, his resurrected nickname for her, taking his name after their summer weddings and how they're going about blending their families.

Lopez was on the set of the sci-fi film Atlas for the interview and it was noted that her tent on the soundstage boasted a "Mrs. Affleck" sign, a gift from the crew after she said "I do" to the Oscar winner, first in Las Vegas in July followed by their second wedding in Riceboro, Ga., in August. She was asked about criticism, including from the New York Times, after she took his last name (legally and personally, but not professionally).

"What? Really?" the Hustlers star said seemingly surprised to hear it. "People are still going to call me Jennifer Lopez. But my legal name will be Mrs. Affleck because we're joined together. We're husband and wife. I'm proud of that. I don't think that's a problem."

SAN MARINO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 13: (L-R) Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck attend the Ralph Lauren SS23 Runway Show at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens on October 13, 2022 in San Marino, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck making their first public appearance as a married couple at a Ralph Lauren runway show in October. (Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

As for whether she considered Affleck changing his last name to Lopez, she replied, "No! It's not traditional. It doesn't have any romance to it. It feels like it's a power move… I'm very much in control of my own life and destiny and feel empowered as a woman and as a person. I can understand that people have their feelings about it, and that's OK, too. But if you want to know how I feel about it, I just feel like it's romantic. It still carries tradition and romance to me, and maybe I'm just that kind of girl."

It's confirmed that shortly after she called off her engagement to Alex Rodriguez in April 2021, Affleck popped into her inbox. The Tender Bar actor, whom she was engaged to nearly 20 years before, emailed her to tell her that a magazine had asked him for a comment about her for a profile — and that gave a glowing one. Lopez and Affleck, who had recently split from Ana de Armas, started regular correspondence. Soon, they started making making secret visits to one another's homes. And he was calling her by the nickname he gave her years ago: "Little" — a nod to the fact that, at 6-foot-4, he's a foot taller than the powerhouse performer.

"Obviously we weren't trying to go out in public," she said of rebooting their love story. "But I never shied away from the fact that for me, I always felt like there was a real love there, a true love there," whom she split from in 2004 after almost marrying. "People in my life know that he was a very, very special person in my life. When we reconnected, those feelings for me were still very real."

That's not to say that rekindling love with an ex works for all, added Lopez, who's now on her fourth marriage.

"I don't know that I recommend this for everybody. Sometimes you outgrow each other, or you just grow differently," she said. However, for them, "We lost each other and found each other. Not to discredit anything in between that happened, because all those things were real too. All we've ever wanted was to kind of come to a place of peace in our lives where we really felt that type of love that you feel when you're very young and wonder if you can have that again… You go through all these relationships, and you're searching and you're connecting and you’re disconnecting with people, and you're like, God, is this just what life is? Like a carousel, roller coaster, carnival ride? And then it settles."

Between their first and second turns together, Lopez did a lot of work on herself. A key component was learning and practicing self-love. "You turn yourself into a pretzel for people and think that that's a noble thing, to put yourself second," she said. "And it's not." She also looked at bigger picture: "'Why am I never happy?'" she said she asked herself. "I really felt that way for a long time…" She said she needed to "figure me out" so that she could be the best mother to her now-14-year-old twins with Marc Anthony. "It took years and years to really put the pieces together…"

Affleck told the outlet that the draw for him was that Lopez hadn't changed in the most important way — in her heart.

"There is something innately, magically kind and good and full of love at the heart of who Jennifer is," Affleck said. "That's exactly the person I remember from 20 years ago. Maybe she sees all the changes she's made, whereas when I see her, mostly I just see someone who has retained, against the odds, the thing about her that always made her the most incredible to me: a heart that seems boundless with love. She is my idea of the kind of person I want to be."

The Bronx-born superstar even talked a little about life beyond the walls at Chez Affleck-Lopez in their home base of Los Angeles — and the efforts they've made to blend their families. She called Jennifer Garner, the mom of Affleck's three children, "an amazing co-parent, and they work really well together."

As for her two, "They have so many feelings. They're teens. But it's going really well so far. What I hope to cultivate with our family is that his kids have a new ally in me and my kids have a new ally in him, someone who really loves and cares about them but can have a different perspective and help me see things that I can't see with my kids because I'm so emotionally tied up."

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck attend a special screening of the film
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck attend a special screening of her film Marry Me on Feb. 8, 2022. (Photo: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)

Lopez said she's learned a lot from from Bennifer 1.0 — as far as what to share with the world.

"We were so young and so in love at that time, really very carefree, with no kids, no attachments," when they were first together. "And we were just living our lives, being happy and out there. It didn't feel like we needed to hide from anybody or be real discreet. We were just living out loud, and it turned out to really bite us. There was a lot underneath the surface there, people not wanting us to be together, people thinking I wasn't the right person for him." Because of that, she's "very guarded," otherwise the public "will fillet you. I really wish I could say more. I used to be like that. I am like that. But I've also learned."

But rest assured this is a great time for her — and she's riding this wave of happiness professionally and personally. In the coming months, she'll appear in the films Shotgun Wedding and The Mother. She's also crafting a new album which she seems most excited about.

"I'm not one of these tortured artists. Yes, I've lived with tremendous sadness, like anybody else, many, many times in my life, and pain. But when I make my best music or my best art is when I'm happy and full and feel lots of love," she said, adding that the album will be her most honest work yet. It's "…a culmination of who I am as a person and an artist. People think they know things about what happened to me along the way, the men I was with — but they really have no idea, and a lot of times they get it so wrong. There's a part of me that was hiding a side of myself from everyone. And I feel like 'm at a place in my life, finally, where I have something to say about it."