Compared to her ex-boyfriends, Jennifer Lopez says dating Alex Rodriguez is a breeze.
In the December issue of InStyle (on newsstands Nov. 9), the 49-year-old Second Act actress ruminates on how dating in Hollywood has changed since the dawn of social media. Take, for example, Lopez's high-profile relationship with Ben Affleck, which ended in 2004. The extensive media coverage surrounding their romance was intense, but the former couple fed into it by doing joint interviews and lambasting the media in her "Jenny From the Block" video.
"Jennifer and Ben were asking for it with that video," says Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, who runs Lopez's company, Nuyorican Productions, and also wrote Second Act. "I told her, 'I'm selling you as a maid [in the film Maid in Manhattan], and you guys are driving around in Bentleys?'" But, as Goldsmith-Thomas points out, "It's 16 years later. I'm sure Ben Affleck is more mature, too."
Lopez admits dating was "actually worse" back then. "It was just crazy. Now at least I can show you who I am a little bit. Back then you just believed anything you read on the cover of a tabloid," she tells the magazine. "Many times it wasn't true, or it was like a third of the truth."
While today's stars have to deal with social media, they "didn't live through the tabloid era," she adds. "Now I sound like my mom: 'I used to walk uphill to school, before there were cars!'"
Lopez argues social media is one reason she and Rodriguez haven't been tabloid targets. "Now people get to see that this guy they thought was this hard-nosed athlete is, like, a goofy dad who loves his kids and celebrates his girlfriend," she says. Lopez also noticed a shift in how she's perceived after she became an American Idol judge in 2010. "That show was live; everything was in the moment, not edited. So, finally people got to see that I was actually a person, someone with a heart. I got to speak for myself for the first time, and that changed everything."
Make no mistake: the entertainer isn't complaining.
Life with Rodriguez is just easier, Lopez says. "When we met, we'd both already done a lot of work on ourselves. Everybody has flaws, and the people I want in my life are the people who recognize that and are willing to work on those flaws," she says. "It's super-important: someone who's willing to look at themselves and say, 'OK, I'm not great here' or 'I could do better there.'"