Mommy with a master plan

2010-05-07 09:02

Movie star. Pop star. World-class ­celebrity. Half of a superstar

couple. Mother of two-year-old twins.

Which of these five apply?

For Jennifer Lopez, the answer is all of the above. To the world,

she is actress-singer-entrepreneur J-Lo, but to Max and Emme, her twins with

husband-singer Marc Anthony, she’s Mama. That involves teething, potty training

and, no surprise, a heavy dose of parental guilt.

Lopez sits down for coffee at a Beverly Hills hotel on a Tuesday

morning, and makes it clear that she barely made it out of the house.

“When I came to do this interview, I heard, ‘No, Mommy! No! Don’t

go! Mommy! Mommy!’” Lopez says with a grimace.

“I thought, ‘Oh, this is bad. This is tough. I’m going to have to

figure out this thing of working and being a mommy as I go along’.”

How did she fit in this particular interview? With a healthy dose

of ­rationalisation, of course.

“I did reason that I would be home when the sun was still up,” she

says with a laugh.

“It was not going to be night time. That way, I didn’t miss an

entire day. That made me feel better.

At least I was fine with it.”

Casually chic in a long ponytail and a beige T-shirt dress, Lopez

doesn’t look like she’s being pulled in 10 different directions.

And, indeed, she says that she is ­finally living her dream life,

happily married after two divorces.

She has a new movie, a slew of scripts in

­development and a CD due out later this year.

It’s her children, however, that she prioritises.

“They’re such pleasant and happy kids,” Lopez says. “They have a

lot of love in their lives. They’re very ­content children.”

Up to a point, anyway.

“But they know when Mommy puts on hair and make-up, ‘Uh-oh, she’s

going somewhere’,” she says.

Lopez has been sneaking out of the house a fair amount lately to

promote her new romantic comedy, The Back-up Plan, which opens this

weekend.

She plays Zoe, a lonely pet shop owner who, after years of failed

­relationships, gives up on the idea of love and goes to a sperm bank. She is

inseminated with twins, but on the way out of the doctor’s office, she meets the

love of her life (Alex O’Loughlin). The question is: is he ready for an instant

family?

The film is Lopez’s first since El Cantante (2006), in which she

and Anthony co-starred.

“I don’t really think of it as a comeback. I was just home on

­maternity leave and making music.

“Now my first movie is coming out since I was fat. Just kidding! I

loved my time at home, but it’s time to get back to work.”

It wasn’t hard for Lopez to identify with a woman pregnant with

twins, having been through the
experience herself.

“I was in denial. I couldn’t even ­believe I was pregnant,” she

recalls. When I found out it was  twins, I laughed and said, ‘Of course this

would happen’. I actually started ­giggling. But Marc .?.?. oh, Marc, he started

crying. He is so beautiful and emotional.”

Talking about her character Zoe, Lopez says the hardest part of

­identifying with her was her solitude. “I’m the opposite. She was ­comfortable

being alone. I’m so ­uncomfortable being alone, but I ­envy people who are like

her. We’re not similar in that way. I embrace great things and hold on,” she

says.

Lopez – whose films include Selena (1997), The Wedding Planner

(2001), Maid in Manhattan (2002) and ­Monster-in-Law (2005) – returned to acting

feeling even more comfortable than she had before her sabbatical.

“My life is so deep and profound. This is the first time I’ve felt

this way. I knew, as an artist, that it would make a huge ­difference.

“Now I’m feeling my growth as a human being, and this has turned me

into a better artist.”

That same new perspective, she hopes, will be apparent in Love?,

her new album.

As for the sound, fans shouldn’t ­expect any radical

departures.

“It’s the same as I’ve always done – a combination of dance, a

little street, some hip-hop and R&B. There are a few great ballads and great

dance cuts.”

OK, so why the question mark in the title?

“I feel that love is an endlessly ­fascinating topic, and it’s

still ­confusing to me. I explore that on this album.”

The Bronx native has got back into her customary stellar shape.

Looking at her, no one would think she had ever given birth to twins. “It was

challenging for me. The first few kilograms fell off fast, but then I was stuck

with the last four to seven kilograms. You’ve just got to diet and do the

exercises. There are no shortcuts.”

When she’s not working, Lopez is at home being Max and Emme’s

mother, and stepmother to
Anthony’s three other children from previous

relationships.

“It’s hard,” she admits, “because I’ll be taking a bath and Max

will climb in, or I’ll be in the shower and there’s Emme. I don’t have a minute

to ­myself, but I love it.”

That sounds hard for ­someone who has been ­defending her privacy

from the paparazzi, but Lopez says this time it’s worth it.

“Everything in your life changes when you become a mother,” she

says. Having that feeling of love inside of you all the time is amazing. It’s

such a fulfilling place to be. I wish it would have happened earlier for me, but

I know things happen for a reason. I would love to have more children.”

Maybe not twins, though.

“I always make sure that each is getting the same from me,” she

says. “There has to be the same amount of candy. If I kiss one, I kiss the

other. I need to make sure that they feel equally loved. I hold one and the

other climbs on my back. That’s great, because they’re each getting a turn,” she

says.

“Love is love. There is enough of me to go around.”

»Cindy

Pearlman is a Chicago-based freelance writer
© New York Times


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