Jennifer Lopez on Why Ben Affleck Isn’t in Her ‘This Is Me...Now’ Film, Plus Exclusive Clip

"When you love somebody in that way, they're always with you. They always are a presence in your life, no matter what you go through," Lopez tells Complex about her husband.

Two individuals posing together at a premiere, one in a black suit and the other in a strapless gown
Axelle / FilmMagic
Two individuals posing together at a premiere, one in a black suit and the other in a strapless gown

Jennifer Lopez is starring in This Is Me...Now: A Love Story, which is described as a visual and musical reimagining of her publicly scrutinized love life.

The project arrives on Prime Video on Feb. 16, and it serves as both the visuals for her new album (her first in a decade) as well as a retelling of her love life, in her own words. Lopez pokes fun at herself but also sheds light on the constant criticism she faced regarding her dating habits during her time in the spotlight. In the film, Lopez revisits her past relationships and failed marriages, her friends in the film express concern about her addiction to love, which inspires Lopez to embark on a healing journey.

Lopez worked alongside director Dave Meyers to write and create a cinematic experience that celebrates her new music, showcases her strengths a dancer with larger than life choreography and her undisputable rom-com charisma. She's more vulnerable than ever, giving fans an inside look at her healing journey that eventually led her back to herself and to love.

One of the most talked about romances in her life has been the one with her now-husband, Ben Affleck. While they dated and broke off their engagement early on in her career, the pair reconnected 17 years later. In their time apart, Lopez married and divorced Marc Anthony and then dated a slew of other men. In This Is Me...Now, she embraces that she is a serial dater and a hopeless romantic, which is what led her to repeatedly give love a chance.

Wedding party walking down a flower-lined aisle, bride and groom leading with guests in suits and dresses following

"The whole idea was—People know the story of me and Ben, I don't want to tell that story," Lopez tells Complex about the project. "So what can we do with this music that really is part of the story that I want to tell? And once we figured out what that was, Dave and I, I went to Ben. You know, when you have an Oscar winning writer in the house, you go, 'Is this scene good?' [Laughs.] And he was, you know, obviously helpful."

While her 2002 album This Is Me...Then was inspired by Affleck, This is Me...Now focuses on the space between those two projects, and what she experienced in the time they were apart. Affleck doesn't star in the film in the traditional sense. Lopez found a vehicle to feature him in the film without him playing himself, as a way to symbolize his presence in her mind even when they weren't together. Even now as she promotes the project, she credits him for encouraging and inspiring her to write it, and for pushing her to believe in herself.

"The choice to not put him in it is because he wasn't in that part of the journey. I was on my own in many ways. So it didn't make sense to have him in it. But to have him in the background, kind of subconscioulsy, not as himself but as kind of a voice, and a presence, made sense. So we figured out a device of how to do that."

She adds: "Because I think when you love somebody in that way, they're always with you. They always are a presence in your life, no matter what you go through. And so that was the perfect way to incorporate him in the piece."

Elsa from Frozen wears a floral crown and stands center in a choreographed dance scene with performers in background

In one scene, a grown up Jennifer comes face to face with the child version of herself, played by Bella Gagliano. "I remember being on the set, and we did that towards the beginning of shooting. Some of my friends were on the set with me, because they work with me, and I was like, 'This is some—this is very kind of deep.'" Lopez says with a laugh. "When we wrote it, I knew that was deep. But when the moment came for me to face my younger self, it was very kind of unnerving in a way. You know what I mean?"

"What do you say to that person you neglected for so long? What do you say? It was a beautiful thing," she continued about the cathartic moment. "And the young actress who worked with me was lovely and amazing and made it very easy for me to kind of want to embrace her. Not as a mother and a child, but as myself. And so, it was quite moving, at the end of the day."

The film is extravagant and over the top in ways fans have come to expect from Lopez. In this exclusive clip provided by Amazon Studios, Lopez performs the title song inside her mending heart. The film also features a long list of star-studded cameos like Keke Palmer and Fat Joe, and shows Lopez at her most honest, raw and real.

When asked what advice she would give to other hopeless romantics like herself, she says: "Watch the movie, watch the movie! [Laughs.] Everything is in there. I don't have to tell you, you'll get it yourself."

This Is Me...Now: A Love Story arrives on Prime Video on Feb. 16.

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