By Rachel McRady‍, ETOnline.com.

Jennifer Lopez loves love and after rekindling her romance with Ben Affleck and marrying him over the summer in two separate ceremonies, she’s now focused on successfully blending their two families.

The 53-year-old triple threat star is mom to 14-year-old twins Emme and Max, whom she shares with ex-husband Marc Anthony, while Affleck is dad to three kids, Violet, 16, Seraphina, 13, and Samuel, 10, with his ex-wife, Jennifer Garner.

In her new Vogue cover story, Lopez opens up about Garner in a rare comment, calling the Alias star “an amazing co-parent,” and noting that the 50-year-old actress and Affleck “work really well together.”

As for the blending of their two families, Lopez says this “needs to be handled with so much care.”

“They have so many feelings. They’re teens,” she says of her and Affleck’s kids. “But it’s going really well so far. What I hope to cultivate with our family is that his kids have a new ally in me and my kids have a new ally in him, someone who really loves and cares about them but can have a different perspective and help me see things that I can’t see with my kids because I’m so emotionally tied up.”

Affleck is Lopez’s fourth husband, and she surprised some fans by choosing to change her last name to Affleck, a move that was criticized in a New York Times opinion piece.

“What? Really?” Lopez says of the criticism. “People are still going to call me Jennifer Lopez. But my legal name will be Mrs. Affleck because we’re joined together. We’re husband and wife. I’m proud of that. I don’t think that’s a problem.”

Jennifer Lopez – Photo: Annie Leibovitz for Vogue
Jennifer Lopez – Photo: Annie Leibovitz for Vogue

When the Vogue interviewer asks her if she would want Affleck to change his name to “Mr. Lopez,” she laughs and says, “No! It’s not traditional. It doesn’t have any romance to it. It feels like it’s a power move, you know what I mean? I’m very much in control of my own life and destiny and feel empowered as a woman and as a person. I can understand that people have their feelings about it, and that’s OK, too. But if you want to know how I feel about it, I just feel like it’s romantic. It still carries tradition and romance to me, and maybe I’m just that kind of girl.”

Lopez, who was previously engaged to Affleck in the early ’00s, says the were “so young and so in love” during their first romance. She adds that their “carefree” attitude toward going through their relationship in the public eye “turned out to really bite us.”

“I became very guarded because I realized that they will fillet you,” she says of the time after her first split from Affleck. “I really wish I could say more. I used to be like that. I am like that. But I’ve also learned.”

She adds that “there was a real love” between her and Affleck, noting that it was still present when they reconnected in 2021.

Jennifer Lopez – Photo: Annie Leibovitz for Vogue
Jennifer Lopez – Photo: Annie Leibovitz for Vogue

“I don’t know that I recommend this for everybody,” she says. “Sometimes you outgrow each other, or you just grow differently. The two of us, we lost each other and found each other. Not to discredit anything in between that happened, because all those things were real too. All we’ve ever wanted was to kind of come to a place of peace in our lives where we really felt that type of love that you feel when you’re very young and wonder if you can have that again.”

In the time between their relationships, Lopez says she learned to put herself first rather than her partner.

“You turn yourself into a pretzel for people and think that that’s a noble thing, to put yourself second. And it’s not,” she says. “Those patterns become deep patterns that you carry with you, and then at a certain point you go, Wait, this doesn’t feel good. Why am I never happy? I really felt that way for a long time. And finally I was just like, Ugh! It’s time to figure me out because I need to be good for these babies.”

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Ellen Bullock