Q&A: Jennifer Lopez Discusses Her Personal Life & Latest Movie 'The Back-Up Plan'
Jennifer Lopez hasn’t always been this revealing. During the height of the J-Lo media frenzy, Lopez would never answer questions about her personal life. Now she’s a married mother of twins and that was all fair game for discussion at a press conference for her new movie, The Back-up Plan.
The movie kind of relates to her personal life. She plays Zoe, a career woman who wants to have kids, but only seems to meet losers. So she goes the sperm bank route, only to meet the man of her dreams, Stan (Alex O’Loughlin), once she’s already pregnant… with twins. Along the way, hormonal changes make her binge on chili straight from the pot, wrap herself around a pregnancy pillow and pose naked in front of her bedroom mirror.
This must be the new J-Lo. Lopez hasn’t sacrificed any of her glamour for motherhood. She rocked a beige single piece dress with just enough frills to stand out, and her perfect skin glowed with natural happiness. The Backup Plan opens Friday, but here’s the update on the Lopez/Anthony clan from the matriarch herself.
Q: You’ve been out of the spotlight for a few years with your twins. Do you see this movie as a comeback?
Jennifer Lopez: I don’t really think of it that way. I was just home kind of on maternity leave; working and making music and doing things like that. And now, my first movie’s coming out since I was fat. So, that’s that.
Q: Do you see The Backup Plan as a message movie about pregnancy and children and the complications of love and lust?
JL: It’s not a message movie. It’s a romantic comedy. It definitely deals with modern issues, which I love. That’s what I really liked about it. It had a very modern voice. It seemed very up to date. I think that’s very important for romantic comedies, that they do deal with issues. It doesn’t feel like it’s a story from 20 years ago, which some romantic comedies can be like. So, that was one of the things that really attracted me to it.
Q: Has being a mom made you a better actress specifically in this role?
JL: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. But I knew. I knew that was happening as it was happening because my life and the way I felt about life and the way I felt about my children was so deep and profound. It was the first time I felt anything like that, that I knew that as an artist that it was going to make a huge difference in everything that I did. When I was on the movie I really did feel that. I really felt the growth of myself as human being, as a person.
Q: Part of the movie is about going crazy shopping for twins. Did you have that same feeling shopping for your twins?
JL: I mean, so many things in this movie were art imitating life for me because I had just gone through the pregnancy. It was really just fresh in my mind. We really fought with the guys sometimes with certain things. Like, “This has to stay in. And this has to be there. No you don’t get it. This is important. Women are going to love this.” So, we used a lot of the stuff from real life.
Q: What was your real life reaction when you found out you were having twins?
JL: When I found out I was having twins, I mean I was in denial that I was even pregnant. So when I found out I was having twins I kind of just laughed. Like, of course this would happen. I started giggling and Marc started crying. It was joyous. It was joyous. We were happy. We were.
Q: If you hadn’t met Marc and had babies, would you have considered single motherhood?
JL: No. No, it’s just too hard. Honestly, I have so much respect for single moms or anybody who finds themselves a single mother, but to even choose to be a single mother is just so courageous to me. It is such a hard job to raise a child and to be everything to that child without a partner. I think it’s just admirable and courageous and brave and every other valiant word I can think of. I don’t know if I could do it on my own. I really don’t.
Q: Even with Marc Anthony, you both have really busy careers. How do you handle it all?
JL: It’s hard. They’re at the point right now where just the past few days, not the first day of the junket but the second day of the junket, comes to the door and start yelling, “No, mommy, mommy don’t go.” I was like, “Oh, this is bad.” So, that just started happening like yesterday. I’m like, “This tough.” I’m just going to have to figure it out as I go along. I’m like, “I will be home and the sun will still be up.” Like trying to explain to them it’s not going to be that long. It won’t be night time.
Q: How old are they now?
JL: They’re two. They just turned two.
Q: Is it the terrible twos yet?
JL: No. They are so pleasant and happy. They have a lot of love in their lives. So, they’re very content children. But now they’re starting to be able to express certain things. Like they know when I start putting on hair and makeup and getting dressed it’s like, “She’s going somewhere.” Sometimes they’ll come with me and they’ll know that too because they’re getting dressed. And then sometimes they’re not. So, I think they’re starting to put all that together. It’s difficult, it’s difficult.
Q: Did you bring anything from your own personal experiences into the film?
JL: It’s funny because Zoe and I are so opposite because she was so comfortable being along because of having lost her parents so early. I’m so uncomfortable being alone that we were total opposites. It was funny because in a sense it made me admire this person. I loved playing her because I envy people like this, in a sense but the fact that it became also her crutch, you know what I mean. Also, kind of her big flaw is that she was so afraid to let anybody into her life that she was going to let something great pass her by. Or subconsciously destroy it, which is what she kind of tries to do in the movie a little bit. But no, we’re not similar in that way. It was something I had to find and, again, just realize, “Oh god, I love her. I kind of wish I was like her. This’ll be great to play.”
Q: But women having commitment issues instead of the guy, we don’t really see that on screen as much.
JL: Yeah, but that was also one of the things that was so great about this script. It just wasn’t typical that way. It was just more modern. We’re used to, like you said, seeing men with the commitment issues and they’re afraid and God, they’re going to get tied down. Here’s a woman who has her own business and has money in the bank and is actually better off, in a sense, than her male counterpart. That actually was very interesting to me, again, which made it more modern of a comedy than the kind of regular cliché ones that can get kind of boring sometimes.
Q: What would you say is the best and worst part about having twins?
JL: The best part is mostly everything. I mean, just the way they change your lives and just having that feeling of love inside you all the time. It’s just such a fulfilling place to be in your life. You know, I kind of wish it would have happened to me earlier in my life sometimes. But I know things happen when they’re supposed to happen. The worst thing about it, probably if there was something that was tough is that there was two of them. I was always worried that they would both feel exactly the same. It’s like if I gave one a little bit of candy I gave another one a little bit of food or whatever. If I kissed one, I made sure, like I don’t want him to see me kissing her without kissing him. You know, just making sure that they both felt equally loved is what was tough about the twins. It’s funny because you’ll be holding one and the other one will climb on your back. You know that he wants attention too or she wants attention too. So, it’s challenging.
Q: How did you get back in such amazing shape after the babies?
JL: Getting back into shape was challenging like it is for anybody who has a baby. The first few pounds drop off really fast and then you’re like stuck with those last 10-20 pounds, let’s say, and then you’ve really got to get disciplined. There’s just no other way to do it. You’ve got to diet, you’ve got to do the exercise. You just have to. I knew I had the movie coming. That was like another level of like having to not eat as much and really, seriously, no bread, no sugar. You really start having to think about those things because being on camera, responsibility to look good. If you don’t you’ll hear about it from a group like you.
Q: How do you do the beauty stuff now when you probably have three seconds in the bathroom everyday?
JL: Yeah it’s hard. Sometimes it’s like literally I’m taking a bath and Max, off with the clothes, in the tub with me, in the shower. It’s like you just don’t have a minute by yourself. Go to the bathroom, baby standing right there. You’re like, “I’m like go outside.” She’s like, “No way.” So, yeah, it’s tough.
Q: You have a brief nude scene looking at yourself in the mirror when you’re eight months pregnant. Did you have a say in how much you showed?
JL: I just thought that a naked pregnant woman checking herself out would just be so funny. I actually wish there was more of it in the movie. Actually, it was my idea to put it in because I just remember being pregnant and just marveling at the hugeness of my body and just like looking in the mirror from all angles. But it’s something you do privately and then him coming in. I said, “You know, when he comes in, let’s start the scene where she’s like in the mirror and then that’s why she’s feeling insecure.” We should have a real, pregnant lady double with the real pregnant body do it. That’s what we did.
Q: Oh, so it was a double.
JL: Yeah, but it was a choice. I really felt like it was a good way to enter that scene. We had a couple ladies come in who were very fine with it. Well, they knew before they got there that this was what the scene was.
Q: Zoe is also obsessed with her pregnancy pillow. Did you have anything that Marc might not have liked that he got rid of when the babies were born?
JL: Okay, you’re going to love this. I had twins, so it was really uncomfortable because you lay on one side and there’s a baby and you lay on the other side and there’s a baby. So I had a really hard time with it. So I did have this really big pregnancy pillow. It was actually firm, very hard. Marc still sleeps with it to this day. Literally, while I was pregnant he was like, “I want one of those.” And he got one. You’ve seen it. Yeah, he travels with this pillow. They’re good. It’s a body pillow.
Q: Were you as horrible to Marc during your pregnancy as Zoe is to Stan in the movie?
JL: You thought she was horrible? I thought she was pretty normal. No, actually I had a lovely pregnancy. It was a beautiful, magical time for us. But of course there’s moments where you feel, like in the movie, it’s just so much going on with your body and so much going on hormonally that you don’t have time to deal with anything but that. I think it was really true to life the way we portrayed it in the movie.
Q: When can we expect your next album?
JL: We’re aiming for summer time. I’ve been working on it probably since last summer. I recently parted ways with my old record company and we have a new one. So, they’re going to get involved with it. They’ve heard what I’ve been working on already. Everybody’s really happy with it. We just need to finish it.
Q: What kind of direction is it going in?
JL: It’s the same that I’ve always done. There’s always going to be that combination of like dance and a little bit of street and a little bit of hip-hip and a little bit R&B. And just all of those influences that I grew up with that my music has always had. My albums, if you look from the first one to the last one, it always has a few ballads on there and there’s a few great dance cuts and kind of mid tempos. I just explore and I talk about…
Q: Are you taking any new inspiration, like songs about the babies?
JL: I wrote a song for the babies. I don’t know that I’m going to put it on the album. I’m going to call it Love? because I just feel like it’s an endlessly fascinating topic that all my albums have been about. It’s still very confusing to me. So, I explore that on this album probably more than my other albums. Again, it hasn’t taken its full shape yet. I mean there’s a real base of material that really goes with that concept and then there’s going to be stuff that we create now that I don’t even know what it’s going to be.
Q: Were the songs you did on SNL from the upcoming album?
JL: Yes. Starting Over and Until it Beats No More, yeah.
Q: Is Marc’s album coming out around the same time as yours?
JL: Yes. March’s album will be out this year as well. He just finished it. We just sequenced it the other day. He covered probably nine of the most beautiful ballads that were ever sung.
Q: Did you do any duets?
JL: We didn’t duet on this one. We’re going solo. He’s doing his thing and I’m doing my thing. We had our moment, when we were married when we did everything together. We did El Cantante, we did the tour, we made all the music together, he produced my album. That was a beautiful time for us and we really enjoyed that. But I think we both kind of subconsciously said, “It’s time for us, we have responsibility to our own individual fans. We have to go off and do our own thing.” You guys are going to love his new album. It’s absolutely brilliant.
Q: Why has love been so confusing for you?
JL: I mean it’s just something you can never figure out. I mean the more experiences I go through and even just in a marriage and how much work that takes and everything. It’s something that you can never really put your finger on. But I’m not sure that you’re supposed to. I think you’re just supposed to love yourself first and then kind of go through everything else. You know what I mean? The album talks about what’s right about it, what’s wrong about it. The things we do that we shouldn’t be doing. A lot of it has to do with the time we’re in. I mean even just looking around at what’s happening in the media right now with other celebrities and stuff like that. You realize how rampant and how low our standards have become in love. The dialogue needs to be opened on that.
Q: If you could give advice to yourself when you were 25 now that you’re a little bit older, what would you have to say?
JL: Nothing. I wouldn’t change anything, honestly. I really love the direction my life has taken. I feel now like I’m 25 again and that it’s all starting over. With the babies, you just make you feel like your life is just beginning. Probably because their life is just beginning and you so love them that you’re just like right there with them. It’s like, “Okay, this is the start of something awesome.” That’s how I feel in my life and in my career right now.