Jennifer Lopez on what she'd go back and tell herself during 1st Ben Affleck split: 'It's gonna be better than you think. So just hang on'

"I feel very confident in knowing who I am and what I have to offer," Lopez says of tabloid scrutiny. "There's not really anything anybody can say to shake that."

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Jennifer Lopez is two days away from releasing her most personal album to date, This Is Me...Now, which is inspired by husband Ben Affleck. But, being that she's Jennifer Lopez, simply putting out a new album isn't enough. The 54-year-old singer is simultaneously dropping a film — This Is Me...Now: A Love Story — on Prime Video, which takes heavy influence from her and Affleck's decades-spanning love story.

"I felt like I wanted to do something special," Lopez explains to Yahoo Entertainment of her $20 million, self-funded passion project. (A forthcoming documentary rounds out the three-part spectacle.) "I felt like the music deserved that."

In 2002, when "Bennifer" was first plastered on nearly every tabloid cover, Lopez released her first Affleck-infused album, This Is Me...Then. The fact that the follow-up was two decades in the making is why Lopez feels like it deserved more.

"People know the story of me and Ben, that's not the story I want to tell," she says.

This Is Me...Now: A Love Story is "a narrative-driven cinematic odyssey, steeped in mythological storytelling and personal healing," per the film's synopsis. Lopez plays herself in a story about a hopeless romantic. After true love is lost, she must go through a journey of self-discovery — and several failed relationships — before learning to love herself and ultimately finding true love again. So, how much of the narrative is rooted in truth?

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck.
Jennifer Lopez talks to Yahoo about her new film, This Is Me...Now: A Love Story, which was inspired by her rekindled relationship with Ben Affleck. (Christopher Polk/Golden Globes 2024 via Getty Images)

"It's meta," she says. "It's not autobiographical, but it's definitely inspired by events of my life and of other people's kind of journeys that I've watched. But it's definitely the story of a hopeless romantic's journey through life and their search for love. That really kind of sums it up in a way, and there's definitely things from my life that are infused and inspired in the story."

Lopez and Affleck first called off their engagement in 2004. They've both been open about how the rise of tabloid culture and media scrutiny contributed to the demise of their relationship. Two decades later, they are still two of the paparazzi's favorite targets, with every expression and photo meticulously analyzed online. (Many times, incorrectly.) As for how they handle that now, Lopez says she is more "confident" in knowing their truth.

"Honestly, we're just kind of very grown," Lopez says. "Everything seems so important when you're younger, you know what I mean? You think everything's going to be taken away from you and everything that everybody says or thinks about you matters, and as you get older you realize it really doesn't. Not that you don't care what people think, I do, but at the same time I feel very confident in knowing who I am and what I have to offer. There's not really anything anybody can say to shake that."

Lopez continues, "The thing I love more about who I am today as opposed to maybe 20 years ago is I can really continue evolving, and growing, and knowing that I'm not where I'm gonna be in two years, or five years or 10 years. It's going to be even better. It's really the exciting part."

Of course, when Lopez and Affleck did break up the first time, it was hard on the pair. If Lopez could go back and tell herself something in 2004, she says it would be this: "It's gonna be better than you think. So just hang on."

This Is Me…Now: A Love Story drops on Prime Video on Friday, Feb. 16.