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Jennifer Lopez: Ben Affleck Was “My First Big Heartbreak,” I Need to Be “On My Own” for a Bit

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck
Jennifer Lopez referred to her 2004 split from Ben Affleck as her "first big heartbreak"; plus, she opened up about her divorce from Marc Anthony

She luh’ed you, papi! Jennifer Lopez was married twice before dating and getting engaged to her Gigli costar Ben Affleck — but she didn’t know true heartbreak until they split in 2004. In a new interview with Maria Shriver, set to air on the Today show on Nov. 3 and 4, the “Booty” singer shared just how devastated she was to part ways with the Gone Girl actor.

The revelation came during a discussion about Lopez’s new memoir, True Love, when Shriver noted how quick the star was to move on with another man after her broken engagement to Affleck. (Bennifer broke up in January 2004; by June of that year, the American Idol host was married to third husband Marc Anthony, with whom she later had twins Max and Emme, 6.)

Related: PHOTOS: Jennifer's rocky relationships

“Right, you’re absolutely right,” Lopez, 45, told Shriver. “It was probably my first big heartbreak, and to have one of my best friends who I’d known for years, who I actually love and did have chemistry with, come into my life and say, ‘I’m here’…What you need to know is, nobody can save you or heal you,” she continued. “Only you can do that for you.”

The “First Love” singer has gotten better about that over time, but old habits die hard. “It’s still a work in progress for me. It’s how you feel as a child, you know, being a middle child and kind of being invisible sometimes, or, you know, trying to get the attention,” she explained. 

Related: PHOTOS: How Jennifer Lopez's style has morphed for her men

“So what did I do? I overachieved,” she continued. “I was the one who ran track and I won medals every weekend. Or I was the one who would go on the show and steal the show. And that would give me confidence. But there was a part of me that just wanted love, that felt like she wasn’t worthy of the love.” 

Now single — she split from boyfriend, dancer-choreographer Casper Smart earlier this year — Lopez is determined to find happiness within. “I’m open to love,” she told Shriver, “but right now, I think it’s better to just be on my own for a minute and learn more about myself.”

Related: PHOTOS: Jennifer and Casper's romance

One thing she’s learned is that she falls hard and fast — maybe too hard and too fast. As she told Meredith Vieira for an interview airing Nov. 3, she feels things “very deeply” and is easily swept up in the excitement of a new romance. 

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony
Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony in 2011.

Because of that, she admitted, she tends to be attracted to really intense, passionate people. “And I realized that’s not always a great thing,” she said on Vieira’s talk show. “As cool as it is in the beginning, it has to sustain beyond that, and be something that has a real basis to it and…can go beyond just that beginning honeymoon phase.”

That’s something she didn’t have with Anthony. She realized that one day when she was at a photo shoot. “Things had been going on for a while, [but] I wasn’t ready to deal with the fact that it could be over,” she recalled. “I didn’t want that. That was like the worst thing in the world for me. That was the one thing I would have never ever wanted to happen.”

Related: PHOTOS: J.Lo through the years

Her marriage to the singer, she said, was supposed to be her happily ever after. “I had waited so long to have kids,” she told Vieira, “and I finally did, and I’m realizing, ‘Oh my god. This is not right.'” 

Looking back, Lopez can’t say exactly what went wrong, except that both she and Anthony knew that staying together wasn’t the best thing for them or their kids. “It took a long time, and a long time of both of us doing the best we could and trying the hardest we could because we had kids and because we loved each other — and we still do,” she explained. “At the end of the day when I said [it wasn’t right], I kind of wished he’d been like, ‘No way.’ But he knew it too, and he was like, ‘Okay’…and that’s what happened.”

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