Jennifer Lopez admits that had she refused to step out of her comfort zone, she might not be dating Alex Rodriguez.
The power couple speaks withVanity Fair's Bethany McLean for the magazine's December issue, and recall how they came to connect after meeting 12 years earlier.
"It was just one of those things where you feel compelled to do something you wouldn’t normally do,” Lopez says, remembering when she spotted Rodriguez in Beverly Hills, California, when she was having lunch. "I could literally just have walked away, but I walk over and tap him on the shoulder and say ‘Hey.’"
The 48-year-old triple threat star notes that, at the time of "the tap," she was dressed as her Shades of Blue character, detective Harlee Santos, but despite her getup, Rodriguez told her, "'You look so beautiful.'"
It wasn't long before Lopez received a call from the former New York Yankees player and they agreed to have dinner, but neither of them was certain it was a date.
"He was sitting there in his white shirt, very confident and manly, but then he was just so talkative!” Lopez shares. "I don’t know if he thought it was a date. I thought it was a date. Then I knew he was nervous because he asked me if I wanted a drink. I said, ‘No, I don’t drink,’ and he asked if I minded if he had one. He was nervous, and it was really cute.”
Rodriguez admits that he felt "uneasy" about the meet-up until he learned that she was on the market. "She told me around the third or fourth inning that she was single,” he quips. “I had to get up and go re-adjust my thoughts. I went to the bathroom and got enough courage to send her a text.”
Lopez says the text read: "'You look sexy AF.'"
“And then it took a turn,” she continues. “The fire alarm went off, and we had to evacuate. ...No, really. The fire alarm went off!”
Needless to say, these two have been nearly inseparable ever since that first pseudo-date, with Rodriguez pointing out all their similarities. "We are very much twins,” he says. “We’re both Leos; we’re both from New York; we’re both Latino and about 20 other things."
Lopez agrees. "I understand him in a way that I don’t think anyone else could, and he understands me in a way that no one else could ever,” she explains. “In his 20s, he came into big success with the biggest baseball contract [at the time]. I had a No. 1 movie and a No. 1 album and made history. We both had ups and downs and challenges in our 30s, and by our 40s we’d both been through so much. And more importantly than anything, we had both done a lot of work on ourselves.”
Both agree that had they struck up a romance all those years ago, it wouldn't have worked out. "We had to grow and discover ourselves first," Lopez says.
The two have gone through career highs and lows and personal trials in their lives as the public watched, and Lopez confesses that she really struggled when her and then-fiance Ben Affleck's 2003 movie, Gigli, was a total flop. "I was eviscerated," she confides. "I lost my sense of self, questioned if I belonged in this business, thought maybe I did suck at everything. And my relationship [with Affleck] self-destructed in front of the entire world. It was a two-year thing for me until I picked myself up again."
Over a decade later, Lopez is grateful for her relationship with Rodriguez. "A lot of people I’ve met in my life, they don’t appreciate what they’re doing and how amazing it is," she says, noting that Rodriguez once told her he was "livin' the dream."
In an exclusive interview with ET last month, Rodriguez also confessed that he and Lopez don't like spending too much time apart. "It's what it's all about," he gushed. "It's a good time for us and it's great to be supportive and loving towards each other."
Check out more of our chat with the 42-year-old former MLB pro: