Jennifer Lopez Calls 2004​ Ben Affleck Split Her ‘Biggest Heartbreak’: I ‘Felt Like I Was Going to Die’

Coming full circle. Jennifer Lopez opened up about the "painful" end of her initial relationship with Ben Affleck before their 2021 reunion. The Hustlers actress, 53, sat down for a candid interview with Apple Music's Zane Lowe after announcing her ninth studio album, This Is Me ... Now, on Friday, November 25. Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck at the Ralph Lauren Spring 2023 Fashion Experience Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/Shutterstock "Twenty years ago, I fell in love with the love of my life," Lopez gushed. "I was working on an album and it was called This Is Me ... Then. It was all about capturing that moment in time. Now, the most amazing, incredible, unbelievable thing has happened. The reason we're here is because I want to capture this moment in time because it is even better than the first time." The New York native and the Argo director, 50, were engaged from 2002 to 2004 but called off their planned 2003 nuptials due to heightened media attention. This Is Me ... Then dropped in 2002 and featured a song dedicated to Affleck titled "Dear Ben," but the tunes hit different for Lopez after the duo's split. "Dude, I wouldn't even perform these records," she told Lowe. "It was so painful after we broke up. Once we called off that wedding 20 years ago, it was the biggest heartbreak of my life. I honestly felt like I was going to die. It sent me on a spiral for the next 18 years where I just couldn't get it right." Despite the lengthy — and unconventional — journey to get there, Lopez feels like she finally found her "happy ending" with the Gone Girl star. "It has the most would-never-happen-in-Hollywood ending," she said of their love story. "[A] 'That would never happen. We're not going to write that because nobody would believe it' ending." According to the Grammy nominee, Affleck noticed that not many of the songs on her 2002 album were played live. "He loves that album. He loves that music. He knows all of the words. You know what I mean? It's crazy. ... It's funny because when me and Ben got back together, he was like, 'You never performed the songs. You never did. I'm glad.' ... I was like, 'You're right. It was painful.' It was a part of me then that I had to put away to move on and survive. It was a survival tactic, for sure," she added. Following their breakup, both Lopez and the Oscar winner moved on and welcomed children with other partners. Affleck shares daughters Violet, 16, and Seraphina, 13, and son Samuel, 10, with ex-wife Jennifer Garner, while the "On the Floor" artist coparents twins Emme and Max, 14, with Marc Anthony. Us Weekly confirmed in May 2021 that Lopez and Affleck were "full-on dating" after her split from fiancé Alex Rodriguez. Nearly one year later, the Good Will Hunting star proposed to the musician for the second time. They exchanged vows during a surprise Las Vegas ceremony in July before tying the knot again with a more traditional wedding at Affleck's Georgia estate in August. "I think now that we're older, we realize it's much more clear, because even [then] when we felt that way, now we know," the Maid in Manhattan actress gushed to Lowe of her now-husband. "Now, we know. And there [are] no questions and there is no kind of like, "Well, let's see how this goes." Like, 'Nope, it's me and you. That's it. All the way, till the end. That's it. It's going to be us.'" When they rekindled their romance after two decades, the pair "had to tread lightly and carefully" for the sake of their kids. "Because they didn't live those years before. And they're like, 'Wow, they've known each other forever.' And that's it," Lopez continued. "We did know each other forever, and we had to live these separate paths and we did other beautiful things and we had these amazing children. ... Once we got whole enough and complete enough and loved ourselves enough and could stand on our own two feet really completely, as the universe would have it, we were brought into each other's lives again. And it was a crack in the clouds and that song came through and it was like, 'Boom, that's it.' And we were both very sure." This Is Me ... Now is set to be released in 2023 and will feature another song inspired by Affleck: "Dear Ben *Pt. II." Lopez confessed that she "didn't want to leave the studio" while creating the album. "I'm different than I was 18, 20 years ago. ... We have songs on there that are talk about what this life is for me," she explained. "Whereas 'Jenny From the Block' was me going, 'I'm still Jenny from the block. I know I'm famous now and all this, but I'm still Jenny from the block.' Now I'm talking about [how] my life is not all hearts and flowers like you thought it may have been. Let me tell you a little bit about what it was like."