Even getting out of bed was a struggle for depressed and lonely Jennifer Lopez as she faced the aftermath of the devastating break-up of her marriage
She is one of the most famous women on the planet, with a gilded lifestyle, beautiful children and millions flowing in from films, music and fashion.
But even getting out of bed was a struggle for depressed and lonely Jennifer Lopez as she faced the aftermath of the devastating break-up of her marriage.
“It was very hard to get up in the morning,” she recalls. “Very hard. When you’re depressed and sad all the time it’s very difficult.
“I felt like my whole life had fallen apart. What I had known for seven or eight years with my children and everything, it was just... boom! An explosion!”
Her seven-year marriage to singer Marc Anthony ended after he filed for divorce last April, and Jennifer threw herself into work, filming thriller Parker with Brit action hero Jason Statham.
In it she plays an estate agent whose life is in ruins, and says the turmoil in her own personal life actually helped with the role.
Before the split: With Marc Anthony
She says: “It was very personal and very disappointing but actually great for the movie because the character was very much like that as well.
"So I could use all those feelings and all that sadness.”
Jennifer, known to fans as JLo, is now dating her choreographer, 25-year-old Casper Smart.
She says: “I am just one of those people who doesn’t give up and I know if you just hang on you will live and you will love again.
"You have to hold on, it’s going to happen again, it’s going to be OK.
"Things are hard and I feel like we grow and we learn the most in those moments and trust me, I had to remind myself of this all the time.”
New love: With dancer Casper Smart
Jennifer, 43, looks demure in a high-necked blouse and dark Oscar de la Renta slacks as we talk in a Beverly Hills hotel suite.
She is friendly, outgoing and willing to talk in detail about the emotional setbacks she has suffered.
She credits her children, four-year-old twins Emme and Max, with helping her get through it.
“It was really painful but the kids give you a certain strength because you cannot completely fall apart because they’re up at six in the morning and everything’s fine and normal for them,” she says.
“Work helped me through it, too. I did two movies and then I went right into working as a judge on American Idol again so that all helped very much.”
Jennifer intends to pass on to her children the advice her mother gave her.
“Everything I learned and everything I do has a lot to do with what my mom taught me and how she raised me,” she says.
Blessing: With daughter Emme and son Max
“She had three girls and taught us that we didn’t need anyone because we could accomplish anything on our own.
“I guess because she grew up through the 60s and 70s it was very important to her that we be independent.
"I think she was thinking of financial independence though, and since I have that I want my children to have emotional independence where they are at peace and love themselves and where they are always OK in the world on their own. They don’t need somebody else to be happy.”
The twins’ father Marc Anthony lives in New York and they stay in touch by Skype although she says: “He tries to make time to see them but he tours a lot so it’s difficult and they obviously miss him, so it’s tough, not just for me but for everybody in the situation. So we just take it day by day.”
Rapper: She was with P Diddy for two years
Jennifer is justifiably proud of her curvaceous figure although, she admits, keeping in shape is not as easy as it used to be.
“Like every woman in the world, especially after having babies, I have to work a little bit harder at it.
"I was super-intense about working out in my 20s and in my 30s I kind of slacked off a little bit.
"Now after having babies I work out more regularly, maybe three or four times a week.”
Life for JLo is much more settled now than in her early days of stardom when her partying, failed love affairs and even an arrest were well-documented.
She married her first husband waiter Ojani Noa in 1997 but a year later began a relationship with Sean “Diddy” Combs.
In December 1999 however, her personal life took a hit when the couple went to a New York nightclub and gunfire erupted between his entourage and clubgoers.
Lopez was arrested but no charges filed and Combs was acquitted on weapons charges.
Wedding: With Cris Judd
She married dancer Cris Judd in 2001 before getting engaged to Ben Affleck, but the high-profile romance – they were dubbed “Bennifer” – faltered in a storm of publicity.
The two movies they made together, Jersey Girl and Gigli, both received critical drubbings. Lopez finally wed old flame Marc Anthony in 2004.
She still sees some exes and joined in a standing ovation for Affleck at this month’s Golden Globes when he won for Argo.
With her movies, records and fashion and fragrance collections, Jennifer is one of the highest paid Hispanic entertainers of all time.
But it takes a lot of work to keep on top of everything.
“Right at the top of the year we have a big meeting and I bring the entire team together,” she says.
Bennifer: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez
“Then they go off and delegate to their people and it’s run like a corporation. I wouldn’t say I’m a mastermind but I’m pretty good at it.
"I know what’s true for me and then you hire people who are better at it than you, and that is what I usually do. I take on great partners.”
Born and raised in the Bronx district of New York in a strict Catholic household, Jennifer began her showbusiness career as a dancer in musicals and later acted in television sitcoms.
She had her first starring film role in Selena, a 1997 biopic about the murdered singer, and cemented her status as a leading lady in steamy action thriller Out Of Sight with George Clooney.
She then found new success as a singer with hit debut album On The 6.
Her second, J.Lo, debuted at number one at the same time as her film The Wedding Planner was topping the box-office.
She recently reignited her music career with dance hit On The Floor, from her album Love? and completed a world tour, accompanied by Smart, her mother, cousins and children.
New role: With Jason Statham in Parker
Now she has high hopes for Parker, in which her character teams up with Jason Statham’s to wreak revenge on a crime gang that left him for dead and hijack the loot from a jewel robbery.
She hadn’t known Statham but they hit it off right away. “You think of him as a brooding and serious tough guy but he’s quite gregarious and goofy and fun.”
With Casper Smart at her side helping her heal her heartache, JLo is back to her old self.
“I feel very good... very youthful and kind of timeless in a sense,” she says. “I don’t think of myself as getting older – I just think of how I feel.
"I just toured the world and was dancing and singing every single night and I didn’t feel I was any less than I was when I was 28.
"In fact I probably feel better now than I did then!”