USMagazine, Wednesday, December 5, 2012, 6:00pm (PST)
Jennifer Lopez may be happy and in love now, but 16 months ago, when she split from husband Marc Anthony after seven years of marriage, she wasn't sure she'd ever feel like herself again.
In a new interview with Hollywood Life, the singer and former American Idol judge opens up about the end of her relationship with Anthony, the father of her twins, and how she turned her heartbreak into the inspiration for her new Dance Again World Tour.
"I was going through a divorce and the breakup of a family, which was devastating to me because family means everything to me," Lopez, 43, tells the site of her July 2011 split.
"I didn't want to be the woman who stayed in bed for months. I did do that a little," she admits, "but I knew I had to get through it."
And not just get through it but learn from it and grow because of it. "I had to figure out what I did wrong that I was in a relationship where I was accepting situations that weren't good for me," she explains. "If you're allowing yourself to be in a bad relationship, you need to understand why."
"I had to turn [the breakup] into something better. I thought, 'I don't want to just survive it, I want to come out better."
To that end, the superstar focused all of her personal energy on taking care of her 4-year-old kids, Max and Emme, and threw everything else into her career. She danced every day, worked out as often as she could, and even read inspirational affirmations about how to "heal her life." Little by little, she started to feel stronger, happier.
The turning point came when she heard the song "Dance Again" by Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull, and Red One. "I had to beg and beg Enrique to give it to me. I told him, 'That's my song.' And finally, he gave in," she recalls. "'Dance Again' became my anthem...an expression of what I needed to do at that time in my life and for what I was taking on with [my career]. It was a beautiful metaphor that became my reality."
Part of that reality now is the singer's 25-year-old former backup dancer and current love, Casper Smart, whom she started dating in the fall of 2011. The two recently celebrated one year together -- and from the way Lopez talks about him, it looks like there may be many more anniversaries to come.
"It's nice when someone comes along, and it works. It's great," she tells Hollywood Life. "I'm lucky to have someone in my life now who understands my family and accepts them."
"I now believe in the fairytale more than ever," she continues. "I believe in happily ever after with love."