Jennifer Lopez Loves Love And The Tradition And Romance Of Taking Ben Affeck’s Last Name
The power pose is back, bitches! But with a softer, gentler twist thanks to L.O.V.E., both the concept, and in all likelihood, the name of JLo’s next fragrance offering. Jennifer Lynne Affleck covers this month’s issue of Vogue, which was shot by Annie Leibovitz, but I’m fairly certain Tyra Banks was brought in to direct the shoot. Because even though Jen’s dressed in the flowing silk softness of a hopeless romantic, the close-ups of her exposed feet belie a strength that can only be gained from embarking on an arduous “journey of self-discovery.” So yes, Jen may be the “kind of girl” for whom taking her husband’s last name “still carries tradition and romance,” but she’s not afraid to “Get loud!,” especially now that she’s got a new album to sell that “serves as a kind of bookend to This Is Me…Then, the album she released 20 years ago in the heady early days of her relationship with Affleck.” That’s Ben Affleck, by the way. As in the Mr. Affleck to her “green neon sign whose soft cursive reads ‘Mrs. Affleck’” that hangs in her dressing room.
Vogue reports that the neon sign was a gift from the crew. Jen’s working on a movie called Atlas as part of a deal between her Nuyorican Productions and Netflix. And get this— it “isn’t most people’s idea of a love story!” Our girl is branching out! Instead, it’s a “straight-up sci-fi action thriller, in which Lopez plays a military intelligence analyst assigned to reconfigure a potentially lethal form of artificial intelligence,” that she… wait for it…. falls in love with!
Though the costumery is more Mad Max than Wedding Planner, scholars of the Jennifer Lopez catalog will find in Atlas’s protagonist a familiar character: the headstrong careerist with little time for life’s mushier feelings until the right man (or droid) comes along.
Oh, Jen. Never change! Here’s what she had to say about the incredible romance involved in filling out several forms, having them notarized, and paying a nominal fee to have them recorded in The Big Look Of Lovers Who Dared To Love/country, state and federal records.
Lopez, her hair matted, her neck and temple caked with fake blood, is surprised to learn that a few days after her marriage this July, The New York Times published an opinion piece expressing disappointment that at a moment when feminist ideals felt imperiled in America, Lopez had taken her husband’s name.
“What? Really?” she asks. “People are still going to call me Jennifer Lopez. But my legal name will be Mrs. Affleck because we’re joined together. We’re husband and wife. I’m proud of that. I don’t think that’s a problem.” You mean there’s no part of you that might want Ben to be Mr. Lopez? She laughs. “No! It’s not traditional. It doesn’t have any romance to it. It feels like it’s a power move, you know what I mean? I’m very much in control of my own life and destiny and feel empowered as a woman and as a person. I can understand that people have their feelings about it, and that’s okay, too. But if you want to know how I feel about it, I just feel like it’s romantic. It still carries tradition and romance to me, and maybe I’m just that kind of girl.”
Well, fourth time’s the charm and all that. Jen was less of that kind of girl when speaking of co-parenting with her third ex-husband Marc Anthony. But at least Ben’s ex Jennifer Garner is willing to keep the tradition and romance of divorce alive.
The couple has brought a lot of thought to the project of integrating their households, and they are learning about parenting from each other. Affleck’s ex-wife is, Lopez says, “an amazing co-parent, and they work really well together.” Lopez does not have the benefit of such a relationship with her ex-husband, who lives on the East Coast.
Jen’s manager Benny Medina tells Vogue that she “has a way of falling in love with whatever she is immersed in at the moment,” which at this moment seems to be falling in love. But Ben’s not the only object of her affection!
“Self-love is really about boundaries. Learning what you’re comfortable with and putting up the boundaries, not being afraid of the consequences. Knowing that in taking care of yourself, everything will turn out okay, that people will treat you the way you want to be treated and your life will feel good to you. For a long time, I was just like, Yes, do whatever you want! I can take it, I’ll be here, because I’m really strong, and I’ll be fine. Little by little it chips away at your self-worth, your self-esteem, your soul.”
Ah, OK. So I think we finally know why Jen finally put her foot down on the wedding leaks and made whoever posted that clip of her serenading Ben at their wedding take it down. But I have a feeling Can’t Get Enough might almost be ready for love.
She lends me her AirPods so that I can listen to a few rough cuts from the record. There are plaintive, confessional songs, reflections on the trials of her past, upbeat jams celebrating love and sex. As I’m listening, I notice that she has closed her eyes, and she is dancing in her chair and singing along to her own voice. For a moment it occurs to me that she might be treating me to a little performance, but no, she is just so into it.
Here’s Mrs. Affleck proving that silk chiffon can be just as loud as tight corduroy pants if you know how to work it.
Pic: Annie Leibovitz for Vogue