Everything We Learned in Jennifer Lopez's Netflix Documentary, "Halftime"

·5 min read
MIAMI, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 02: Jennifer Lopez performs onstage during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show at Hard Rock Stadium on February 02, 2020 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 02: Jennifer Lopez performs onstage during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show at Hard Rock Stadium on February 02, 2020 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Jennifer Lopez's new documentary, "Halftime," was released on Netflix on June 14. The doc, directed by Amanda Micheli, begins on J Lo's 50th birthday in June 2019 and follows her through that year: the release of her movie "Hustlers," her Oscar campaign, and her Super Bowl halftime show with Shakira.

"I really feel like my life is just beginning," she says in one of the early scenes, and that's the theme of the whole documentary. Lopez feels like at the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020, everything she's been working on her whole career is finally coming together into one jam-packed, intense time.

Ahead, we're breaking down the biggest revelations in the documentary.

Jennifer Lopez and Her Team Were Offended the Super Bowl Wanted Her and Shakira to Team Up as Performers

In the doc, Lopez notes that it was "really late" to select who the headliner for the halftime show would be, but she was pretty sure she was the "front runner." But when the NFL and Roc Nation announced that she and Shakira would be joining forces for the show, her team were not happy. "It was an insult to say you needed two Latinas to do the job that one artist historically has done," her manager, Benny Medina, says in a talking head.

Lopez also complains throughout the documentary about how much time they were given for their performance. "If it was going to be a double headliner, they should have given us 20 minutes. That's what they should have f*cking done," she says. Later she adds, "It was the worst idea in the world to have two people do the Super Bowl. It was the worst idea in the world." At another point, she complains to the NFL, "I'm trying to give you something with substance, not just us shaking our f*cking asses and belly dancing."

Jennifer Lopez Wanted Bruce Springsteen to Sing "Born in the U.S.A." in the Show's Finale

Early in their creative process, the team landed on the idea of including "Born in the U.S.A." at the end of the show. Shakira was against it, pointing out that she wasn't born in the US, but Lopez explains in the doc that she felt it made a statement that everyone who was born in the country was a "real" American. "If you come up with a better song and a better cameo to make the statement that we shouldn't be hating on each other . . . that's the statement," she says.

But Springsteen apparently wouldn't lock down the appearance (probably because "Born in the U.S.A." is actually not patriotic but rather about the hypocrisy Springsteen witnessed around the Vietnam War and the death of many of his friends in the conflict), and Lopez eventually decided to have her daughter, Emme, sing the song during the show.

Jennifer Lopez's Self-Esteem Took a Hit Because of Tabloid Coverage of Her Personal Life

The documentary recounts some extremely cringeworthy and often racist media coverage of Lopez, her body, and her personal life that happened in the 2000s, including her initial relationship with Ben Affleck. "I just believed what they said, which was that I wasn't any good," she says, adding that it made her question her acting, singing, and dancing. She describes the dynamic with the media as a "really abusive, dysfunctional relationship."

Affleck, who's now her fiancé again, also appears in the documentary at this point, speaking to the camera. He says, "I said to her once, 'Doesn't this bother you?' And she said, 'I'm Latina. I'm a woman. I expected this. You just don't expect it. You expect to be treated fairly.'"

Jennifer Lopez Felt Like She Disappointed Her Team When She Lost the Golden Globe

A large part of the movie is focused on the release of Lopez's movie "Hustlers," which garnered the actress considerable Oscar buzz. She was nominated for a Golden Globe for best supporting actress, her second-ever nomination after "Selena." She ultimately lost to Laura Dern. She says in the documentary that she was more disappointed for her team, who were all rooting for her. "I also know that you deserve this," Medina adds.

Jennifer Lopez Found Out She Didn't Get an Oscar Nomination Via Text

Lopez says that the night before the Oscar noms were announced, she dreamed that she had gotten one. When she woke up, she realized it was a dream. When she checked her cell phone, she saw a text from her sister Lynda that said simply, "I hate these f*cking people." J Lo knew she didn't receive the Oscar nom.

"The truth is I really started to think I was gonna get nominated. I got my hopes up because so many people were telling me I would be. And then it didn't happen. And then I had to ask myself, 'What does that mean?'" Lopez recounts.

She then explains her new perspective on awards. "I do this not for an award or to do my hits up there and seem like I'm the best performer in the world," she says. "No, I do this to tell stories and to effect change and to connect with people and to make them feel things because I want to feel something."

The NFL Tried to Cut the Kids in Cages During the Halftime Show

A big part of Lopez's vision for the finale was to have children in brightly lit cages, harking back to the children who are being held in ICE custody away from their parents at the border. One of the children would be her daughter, Emme, who would slip out of the bars.

The night before the Super Bowl, the NFL tried to pull the cage element. "They did not want the cages in the show. That had come down from the highest authority," Medina says, implying it came from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. "For me, this isn't about politics. This is about human rights," Lopez says. "The Super Bowl is tomorrow, and we're not changing anything." Ultimately, the cages were included.