Jennifer Lopez Recounts Her and Ben Affleck’s ‘Very Sad,’ Gradual Breakup After Calling Off 2003 Wedding

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J.Lo on Her and Ben's Gradual 2003 BreakupApple
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For the first time, Jennifer Lopez is filling in the blanks of what really happened to her and Ben Affleck the first time they dated and almost got married. Lopez spoke to Zane Lowe for Apple Music’s This Is Me…Now Radio series to celebrate the release of her new album this Friday and share her candid history of their love story. The first clip of that interview is premiering here, exclusively on ELLE.com. The radio series will drop tomorrow at 1 P.M. ET/10 A.M. PT on Apple Music.

For context, Lopez and Affleck first dated and got engaged in the early 2000s before getting back together 20 years later. On the day before their original September 2003 wedding, they called off the ceremony and issued a joint statement explaining why:

Due to the excessive media attention surrounding our wedding, we have decided to postpone the date. When we found ourselves seriously contemplating hiring three separate “decoy brides” at three different locations, we realized that something was awry. We began to feel that the spirit of what should have been the happiest day of our lives could be compromised. We felt what should have been a joyful and sacred day could be spoiled for us, our families, and our friends.

Lopez’s rep later shared in January 2004 that she and Affleck had broken up: “I am confirming the reports that Jennifer Lopez has ended her engagement to Ben Affleck. At this difficult time, we ask that you respect her privacy.”

What happened between September 2003 and January 2004? A gradual, slow breakup, Lopez told Lowe now.

“We didn’t break up right at that moment, it happened over the series of the next few months,” she said. “Because what it did was it casted doubt in me, and both of us, about what our relationship was, and where it was going, I think. And I knew in my heart that I wanted to be with him for the rest of my life, I knew that. But it didn’t feel like we were going to make it. And so, it scared me.

“It was very hard, it was a very sad moment of letting go of somebody that you truly love because you just can’t figure it out. You just don’t have the capacity and the ability at that moment, emotionally, to figure it out. We just weren’t mature enough in that way. Even though he was in his late twenties, I was in my early thirties, it still, it wasn’t...We weren’t ready to deal with and look at each other and go, what we have is real, we need to buckle down, we need to do some work. We just weren’t there yet. And so, we go, ‘Oh, this is what people do, they break up when things get hard, and we’re going to go our separate ways.’ And we went, and we both tried, and found other people, and had beautiful children, and had other families, and then even had other relationships after that.

“And it wasn’t until both of us had done, I know for me, a lot of work, and got into a place where I was like, you know what? I’m totally good on my own. I’m chill, I love my life, I have this amazing career that I’ve built for myself, I have these amazing children...I have great friends, that’s when he showed back up.”

Lopez added that for Affleck, “funnily enough, he said he had had the same type of experience. And that’s kind of how it went down.”

Watch Lopez recount what happened in the video above ahead of her full interview’s release tomorrow.

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