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Jennifer Lopez has been in the public eye for three decades, and for much of that time, the Super Bowl halftime show performer was the subject of constant media attention. Tabloids were hyper-focused on her love life at a time when her career was exploding. And while she portrays the image of a strong Puerto Rican woman, J. Lo admitted that the negative publicity took a toll on her mental health.

Jennifer Lopez at the Met GALA
Jennifer Lopez | Ray Tamarra/GC Images

Jennifer Lopez was a tabloid fixture in the 2000s

Jennifer Lopez burst onto the scene at the turn of the century and became a star of the stage and the screen, starring in movies opposite some of the biggest names in Hollywood.

But despite all the hard work Lopez was putting into her career, her relationships are what made headlines in the early 2000s. Her relationships with figures including Diddy, Ben Affleck, and Marc Anthony became constant tabloid fodder.

The negative attention gave Jennifer Lopez a low self-esteem

Lopez opened up about how all the attention around her personal life affected her in her 2022 Netflix documentary Halftime.

“No matter what I achieved, their appetite to cover my personal life overshadowed everything that was happening in my career,” Lopez said honestly. “I just had a very low self-esteem. I really believed a lot of what they said, was that I wasn’t any good. That I wasn’t a good singer, that I wasn’t a good actress, I wasn’t a good dancer; I wasn’t good at anything. I just didn’t even belong here. Why wouldn’t I just go away?”

“I feel like I was in this really abusive, dysfunctional relationship,” she continued. “When you’re with a guy who tells you, ‘No, you suck, you’re not good, you’re dah-dah-dah,’ you feel like you have no worth and value.'”

“There was many times where I was just like, ‘I think I’m just gonna quit,'” she confessed. “I had to really figure out who I was and believe in that, and not believe anything else.”


Jennifer Lopez Was Honest with Ben Affleck About His White Privilege 20 Years Ago

Ben Affleck acknowledged she wasn’t treated fairly

Affleck spoke in the documentary about their relationship at the time from his perspective, and just how sexist and racist the headlines were. “I said to her once, ‘Doesn’t this bother you?’” he recalled. “And she said, ‘I’m Latina. I’m a woman. I expected this. You just don’t expect it. You expect to be treated fairly.’”

After the two got back together in 2021, Affleck reflected on the time in an interview on the Awards Chatter podcast. 

“People were so f***ing mean about her, sexist, racist, ugly vicious s*** was written about her in ways that if you wrote it now, you would literally be fired for saying some of the things you said,” he remembered. “Now it’s like, she’s lionized and respected for the work she did, where she came from, what she accomplished — as well she f***ing should be!”