Jennifer Lopez is one of the biggest names in the entertainment industry — but in her new Netflix documentary, “Halftime,” she explains how being in the spotlight isn’t always sunshine and rainbows.
A good chunk of the special is devoted to the media attention both her body and the men she’s been with over the years has received — and how praise for her career has often taken a backseat to a focus on her personal life. Since breaking out with “Selena” and her first album, “On the 6,” her curves have often stole the spotlight, as have her relationships with men including Sean “Diddy” Combs, ex-husband Marc Anthony and current fiancé Ben Affleck — who makes a quick cameo in the doc.
“No matter what I achieved, their appetite to cover my personal life overshadowed everything that was happening in my career,” Lopez says of the media, before revealing how the talk got to her.
“I just had a very low self esteem. I believed a lot of what they said, which was I wasn’t any good. That I wasn’t a good singer, I wasn’t a good actor, I wasn’t good at anything. Why wouldn’t I just go away?” she said. “I felt like I was in this really abusive dysfunctional relationship, where you’re with a guy who tells you you suck.”
As Affleck popped up, he said he once asked her, “Doesn’t this bother you?” of the treatment she received in public. “And she said, ‘I’m Latina, I expected this. You just don’t expect it. You expect to be treated fairly,'” he added.
“There were many times where I was just like, I think I’m just gonna quit. I had to really figure out who I was and believe in that and not believe anything else,” said Lopez.
Speaking about the focus on her trademark physique, Lopez noted that when she first started in the industry, “the beauty ideal was very thin, blonde, tall, not a lot of curves.”
“I grew up around women with curves, so it was nothing I was ever ashamed of,” she said, before admitting that “it was hard, when you think people think you’re a joke, like you’re a punchline.” She did note, however, that she “wound up affecting things in a way that I never intended to affect them” — as the doc pointed out how her infamous Versace dress moment at the Grammys led to the creation of Google Images.
“I’ve lived in the public eye. One of the things I’m proud of is that I’m able to hold it together in front of everybody without anybody knowing how I feel,” she continued. “Even now, I’m not going to get into what my relationships were like. But in how it relates to me and the journey that I’ve been on, I had to learn that the key was no so much about other people, but yourself. It’s about being your own keeper and not looking for somebody to give you a home, but making your own home.”
“When my kids were three, I got divorced, I was a single mom with two little kids. At 42, movies roles were not knocking down my door and as I was getting back to work, I felt like I didn’t know what my value was anymore,” she explained. “I was doing ‘American Idol,’ that was the first big job I did after I had my babies and it was good for me at the time. People could see me for who I was and that changed everything.”
She said she felt like she had a “purpose” again and dove headfirst into working on her acting, dancing and just “everything” to make herself “better in every way.”