The Untold Story of Jennifer Lopez’s Return to Music: Lessons from Her Mother’s Sacrifice and the Power of True Love
With all the hype surrounding her new album, few have noticed the story behind Jennifer Lopez’s return to music.
Twenty-two years after the success of “This Is Me Then,” JLo seems to have experienced a full-circle moment. “This Is Me… Now” is a reflection of two decades of professional growth and many personal pitfalls.
Now, many are realizing the powerful message behind her new album.
What Jennifer Lopez learned from her mother
In her new single, “This Is Me… Now,” which gives the album its title, the singer gets vulnerable and tells the reasoning behind her decision to always fight for what she wants — even if it means giving second chances.
“I watched my mother miss out on her life,” she sings. “All those could-have-beens became her sacrifice.”
“But here in the darkness, it’s not the future nor the past. And ’cause it’s meant to be with you, boy, it will last. You met me halfway.”
As it happens to so many Latinas, our mothers’ experiences end up determining so much of our decisions in life.
JLo’s mother, Guadalupe Rodriguez, was born in Puerto Rico and met her future husband, David Lopez, in New York when they were both young.
Guadalupe was a homemaker for the first few years of JLo’s life and later worked as a Tupperware saleswoman. Lupe eventually divorced David in the 1990s after 33 years of marriage.
“I watched my parents. My dad worked nights, and I was aware of how much he was doing for us. My mom was a Tupperware lady and also worked at the school,” JLo said in an interview with W Magazine back in 2013. “I always felt that I couldn’t let them down. And I had a natural discipline from early on. I was always training for something.”
When love is the ultimate goal
That feeling we all know so well — that of making our parents’ success an extension of ours — perhaps was what made JLo never settle for a love story that wasn’t true.
“For me, the relationship journey has been very up and down,” she told Haper’s Bazaar in January 2019. “But it didn’t have to do with anybody else but me – it was about me figuring out me.”
Since her marriage to Ojani Noa in 1997, Cris Judd in 2001, and Marc Anthony in 2004, JLo seems to have understood that her quest for love no longer has anything to do with her mother’s experience.
“I took my time, lot of winters, summers, baby,” she sings in her new single. “And I healed my heart.”
So much so, in fact, that the “Let’s Get Loud” singer told Entertainment Tonight that reuniting with Ben Affleck was one of the main sources of inspiration for her new album.
“When Ben and I got back together, it was just like, ‘I want to make music again. I want to get back in the studio,'” she says. “I was very, very inspired.”
“Once the music was done, it felt so special to me,” she added. “It felt like something very different than I had ever done, even though I’ve written about love my whole career.”
Then and now, Ben Affleck has always been the constant
Twenty-two years ago, JLo began her relationship with Ben Affleck. Their love story overshadowed the release of her third studio album, “This Is Me… Then” — and for good reason. Their idyll inspired much of the songwriting on the album. With hits like “Jenny from the Block,” the album reached number two in the U.S. and sold 2.6 million copies.
The story behind the album was so evident that no one was surprised that Affleck appeared in one of the videos.
The “Bennifer” phenomenon was the talk of the tabloids until the couple called off their engagement.
However, in a sort of prescient intuition, Lopez knew that “This Is Me,” both “Then” and “Now,” would mark a pivotal moment in her life.
“Twenty years from now, if I give this [album] to one of my kids, I’ll be like, ‘This was me then, at that moment,'” she said in 2002.
Apparently, the singer is ready to show the world who she is today and what it has taken to get here.