The Real Reason Jennifer Lopez And Marc Anthony Divorced

There’s conscious uncoupling, and then there’s presenting your ex with a Person of the Year award, à la Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony. “He’ll always mean a lot in my life,” Lopez said of Anthony in front of a cheering crowd at the 2016 Latin Grammys. “He’s not just a person of a year. He’s a person of a lifetime and for the rest of history.” 

Lopez and Anthony shocked fans years ago when they announced their separation after seven years of marriage (via Us Weekly). These days, they’re the friendliest of chart-topping exes, popping up in each other’s social media feeds with their kids, and giving in when their fans chant at them “Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!” at award shows. In the years since their split, Anthony and Lopez have moved on to new relationships, new music, and new business ventures. But it’s clear there’s still a lot of love there. So what really went wrong between Lopez and the man she dubbed her “twin soul” and “mentor”? Here’s what we know.

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony went from friends and collaborators to romantic partners

Jennifer Lopez was fresh off her star-making role in the biopic Selena when she met Marc Anthony in 1998. The two reportedly connected backstage at a Broadway show and soon became friends and collaborators (via MTV). Lopez soon appeared in the video for Anthony’s hit single, “Contra La Corriente.” Anthony, a three-time Grammy and six-time Latin Grammy winner, performed the duet “No Me Ames” with Lopez on her debut smash album, On the 6, in 1999. The song reached the top of Billboard‘s Hot Latin Songs chart.

In 2019, Lopez reminisced about “No Me Ames” and Anthony to Billboard, saying, “I was such a huge fan of his music in Spanish, and I was like, ‘Maybe we should do something in Spanish. I just love your music.’ He was like, ‘Let me think about it.’ He left the studio, and literally five minutes after he left, he called and said, ‘I have the song for us.'” 

It was widely rumored that the two dated following the end of Lopez’s first marriage to actor Ojani Noa in 1998 but prior to her getting serious with Sean Combs, aka Puff Daddy at the time (via InStyle).

A rocky road to Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony's fairy-tale wedding

For both Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez, the path to happily ever after featured some very memorable speed bumps along the way. Following her breakup with Combs in 2001, Lopez fell in love with dancer and choreographer Cris Judd after meeting him on the set of her music video for her smash single “Love Don’t Cost a Thing.” (Judd directed the video.) Lopez and Judd married in 2001, but split just nine months later (via Women’s Health).

In 2002, Lopez’s role in the notorious bomb Gigli ended up gifting the world with one of Hollywood’s most enduring celebrity entanglements: Bennifer. Within the year, she and co-star Ben Affleck were engaged. But despite the whirlwind romance, the bling, and even a joint Diane Sawyer interview, Affleck and Lopez broke up after postponing their wedding in early 2004. Their relationship lasted only 18 months, but the two remain friendly (via InStyle).

Coming off the crash and burn of her romance with Affleck, Lopez reconnected with Anthony, who at the time was ending his relationship with his first wife, former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres (via People). The timing, it seemed, was finally right, and in true fairy-tale style, they wed in a surprise ceremony at Lopez’s home in Beverly Hills in June 2004, according to People. The wedding came just four months after Lopez and Affleck’s breakup, and less than one week after Anthony’s divorce from Torres was finalized (via History).

Love, business, and babies

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony honeymooned just outside of Santa Barbara following their surprise 2004 wedding, but it was quickly back to work for the power couple (via Today). In 2006, Lopez appeared with her husband in the movie El Cantante, in which Anthony portrayed legendary salsa singer Hector Lavoe. The “Do It Well” pop star and “You Sang to Me” singer went on tour together in 2007 and announced some exciting news on the road: Twins on the way (via Today).

Following the birth of Max and Emme in February 2008, Lopez and Anthony renewed their vows. Despite some swirling rumors about the state of their union, the couple was unfazed. They performed the sultry duet “Escapémonos” together at the 2010 Grammys, and Lopez gushed often about the strength of their bond. 

“First and foremost, we love each other, truly love each other in a way that’s very deep and meaningful, not in a superficial sort of way,” Lopez told Latina in 2010 (via Today). “There’s a deep respect, admiration, and love for each other. We honestly believe that we make each other better people.” Returning the love, Anthony described Lopez as his “muse” to Us Weekly that same year, adding, “She’s my girl, and I mean that in every step of the way. In every sense of the word in all kinds of ways.”

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony's shocking split

From serving as a judge on American Idol to her album Love?, Jennifer Lopez was having a banner year in 2011. Behind the scenes, though, her marriage to Marc Anthony was falling apart. To shocked and saddened fans, the pair officially announced their separation in July 2011 after seven years of marriage. In a statement published by BBC News, Lopez and Anthony revealed, “This was a very difficult decision. We have come to an amicable conclusion.”

Anthony filed the divorce petition in Los Angeles in April 2012, citing “irreconcilable differences,” Billboard reported. Lopez retained primary custody of their twins, Max and Emme, with Anthony granted visitation for a week each month. Neither Lopez nor Anthony were ordered to pay child or spousal support (via Los Angeles Times).

Just a few months after the announcement of Lopez and Anthony’s split came news of their next collaboration: the Univision talent show Q’Viva! The Chosen. Keeping it civil, the two tackled the elephant in the room and kept things light when appearing on the show together in January 2012. Lopez described their situation as “very Sonny and Cher after the divorce” (via People). She also delivered a jab at her ex after he described two female contestants as his “babies.” “You’re a pig,” she side-eyed her former husband (via Entertainment Tonight).

Did Marc Anthony have an affair with Jada Pinkett Smith?

In the aftermath of their divorce, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony moved on quickly to new relationships; Lopez with backup dancer Casper Smart and Anthony with Venezuelan model Shannon De Lima. And by quickly, we mean both relationships began and ended before Lopez and Anthony’s divorce was finalized in early 2014.

Even though Anthony and Lopez continued their professional relationship following their breakup, rumors hounded them as to what brought about the end of their nearly decade-long partnership. The highest-profile story involved Anthony’s co-star in the 2009–2011 TNT drama Hawthorne, Jada Pinkett Smith. On the medical series, Anthony and Pinkett Smith’s characters were romantically involved, and rumors spread that the two had a real-life affair.

When the gossip reached a fever pitch, Pinkett Smith and her husband, actor and rapper Will Smith, released a statement firmly denying the affair: “Although we are reluctant to respond to these types of press reports, the rumors circulating about our relationship are completely false. We are still together, and our marriage is intact” (via New York Daily News). Pinkett Smith’s publicist added, “Everything about Jada and Marc Anthony is false.” TMZ also spoke with several Hawthorne crewmembers who refuted the claims of sparks flying between Anthony and Pinkett Smith on set.

Marc Anthony will 'always love Jennifer'

Rumors about Marc Anthony’s infidelity grew in intensity when the couple announced the end of their marriage in the summer of 2011. In an interview with ABC News that September, Anthony strongly denied the allegations and chalked up all the talk to the tabloid rumor machine. “It was a flight attendant. It was the pilot — I heard it was this guy sitting next to me in a rehab in Houston. I’ve heard it all,” Anthony said about the infidelity rumors.

When asked about the rumors surrounding his relationship with Jada Pinkett Smith, Anthony brushed them off as “laughable,” before saying, “What bothers me is the effect it has on family, to Will and Jada’s circle, and their children, and their relatives, and their loved ones” (via Today).

Later in the interview, Anthony shared that the decision to divorce was mutual and stemmed from a “realization on both our parts.” He also addressed tabloid reports that he was jealous of Lopez’s success and tried to control her, saying, “I think anybody will tell you how I supported her, from day one. … We’re going to be in each other’s lives for many, many, many years, and I’m glad that our friendship is that strong.”

Anthony also had warm words for his ex-wife when asked directly if he still loved her. “I’ll always love Jennifer. She knows that. … We understand this to be a long story. This is not a short story,” he said.

In her documentary and memoir, Jennifer Lopez opened up about the breakdown of her marriage

In the years right after her breakup with Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez didn’t share much about what went wrong. But her concert film, Jennifer Lopez: Dance Again, which documented the pop icon as she embarked on her first world tour in 2013, captured Lopez’s raw emotions behind the scenes. “There’s no pain of failure like going through a divorce,” she says in the film. Though she didn’t specifically address the infidelity rumors circling her ex-husband, Lopez’s dad David, said, “It broke my heart to see that she had been hurt.” Lopez also says in the movie, “My dream was for us to always be together.”

In her 2014 New York Times best-selling memoir, True Love, Lopez discussed being in a place where she didn’t love herself during her marriage to Anthony and that she kept looking for validation from others. Lopez wrote that she told Anthony at the end, “This is not working. You know it’s not working. We’re not living like a family, and I don’t see how things are going to change. Neither of us is happy, and the kids are wondering what is going on. I think we should move on with our lives” (via HuffPost).

Jennifer Lopez said getting divorced from Marc Anthony was the 'lowest time' in her life

Jennifer Lopez has opened up more in recent years about her shocking split from Marc Anthony. “When my marriage ended, it was not easy to find forgiveness. It wasn’t the dream that I had hoped for, and it would have been easier to fan the flames of resentment, disappointment, and anger,” she told W magazine in 2016. However, she explained that Marc is her children’s father, so she knows she has to “make things right” in that sense. She admitted, “And that is, by far, the hardest work I do.” 

In a 2020 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Lopez revealed that she sought therapy after the divorce (via Hola). “I just felt like, when we got divorced, it was the lowest time of my life. I felt like I had failed miserably and that I wasn’t going to give my kids what they needed.” She also recognized that she didn’t to love herself, and learn how to become comfortable with being alone first and foremost. “I feel like, now, I’m good, no matter what,” she explained.

Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez are the friendliest of exes

A little shy of a decade after their high-profile divorce, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony are the picture of friendly exes and successful co-parents. Lopez told Kelly Ripa in 2017 that she and Anthony are “like best friends” and that collaborating again on her Spanish-language album Por Primera Vez helped them repair their relationship (via Us Weekly).

“At first I was like, ‘We’re good with the kids and everything, but if we start working together, are we gonna start going at each other again?'” Lopez continued (via People). Her fears were put aside once they started working with each other. “We’re just in a really great place, and the kids get to spend time with the two of us more together and see us working together,” Lopez told Ripa.

Lopez and Anthony also regularly pop up on each other’s social media feeds, like Lopez notably did on Anthony’s Instagram page in 2019. With daughter Emme holding their hands, his sweet caption reads, “Nothing but love between us.”

The real reason Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony divorced

Cheating? Diva behavior? Drama, drama, and more drama? According to Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, the real story is far from what the tabloids portrayed. Their breakup happened when they both realized it wasn’t working. Lopez, in particular, knew it was time to call it quits when she wasn’t loving and valuing herself. She summed up one of her hard-earned life philosophies to Allure in March 2021, saying, “We can’t just keep living our lives and thinking everything’s going to work itself out. No, it’s not going to work out. We have to get involved. We have to make changes.”

The two have long since moved on to other partners. According to E! News, Marc Anthony is dating model Mariana Downing. And Lopez, who released her long-awaited skin care line in January ’21, JLo Beauty, is engaged (maybe? maybe not?) to former Yankees star Alex Rodriguez.

Ever the business-savvy professional, Lopez is always keeping her eye trained on what’s next. And as she shared in Jennifer Lopez: Dance Again, “No matter how challenging the road or your journey in life is, you will live, you will love, and you will dance again.”

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