Jennifer Lopez's New Doc Is Less About Ben Affleck and More About Self-Love

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Amazon MGM Studios

If you had a hard time understanding Jennifer Lopez's recent music video project "This Is Me... Now: A Love Story," her documentary "The Greatest Love Story Never Told" might answer some of your questions. In the doc, Lopez shares that the inspiration behind both "This Is Me... Now: A Love Story" and her ninth studio album, "This Is Me... Now" (both of which released on Feb. 16), was to finally set the record straight about her love life.

"I've been married four times now. I'm sure people watching from the outside were like, 'What is this girl's fucking problem?' You saw kind of a compulsive behavior," Lopez says in the documentary's introduction. "What I portrayed to the world was, 'Oh this didn't work out and it's fine and I'm good and they're good.' And all of that was kind of bullshit."

The documentary goes behind the scenes in the making of both the film and the album, and Lopez also walks viewers down the last two decades of her personal life. She admits all those back-to-back marriages and relationships were a result of not being good with herself.

"I didn't think much of myself. So the world didn't think much of me. That lined up," she says in tears.

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She also reveals that part of the inspiration behind her self-financed multimedia project was getting back with the love of her life and now-husband, Ben Affleck, who appears in both the musical (as an incognito character) and the documentary. Lopez shares that she was completely devastated after their 2004 breakup because she felt like she didn't just lose the love of her life but also the best friend she'd ever had. The public scrutiny that followed only made things worse.

Similarly to the musical film, the documentary touches on Lopez's love life for the past 20 years, the reason she was in constant search for love, and her love story with Affleck. But more importantly, it highlights her self-love journey and explores why it took her so long to get to a better relationship with herself.

"'This Is Me... Now' is about truth and facing the truth of who you really are and embracing that, and the truth is I'm not the same as I was 20 years ago," she says.

In the documentary, Lopez shares how being the middle child made her constantly feel a need to show her parents and family that she had value and worth. She felt ignored by her dad, who was always working, and her mom, whom she claims was always the center of attention. Feeling emotionally neglected forced her to become hardworking and disciplined, she says, and somewhere down the line she started seeking the love she didn't feel she received growing up from men.

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At first, it was hard for me to believe that Lopez isn't the same person she was 20 years ago — at least when it comes to her love life and her need to constantly be in a romantic relationship. When have we ever seen her single? Very shortly after her breakup with baseball star Alex Rodriguez in 2021, she was already being publicly seen with Affleck. Can someone really get over their fear of being alone and their need to constantly be in partnership without ever taking a significant break from dating? I'd argue no. But in the doc, Lopez admits there was a period when she did finally embrace singlehood.

In the musical, there's a scene where Fat Joe, who plays her fictional therapist, asks her if she has "ever considered being alone for a minute." Her incognito character begins to break down in tears. Lopez admits in the documentary that the scene with Fat Joe parallels an actual conversation she had with a therapist.

"I used to be terrified to be alone," Lopez shares. "I didn't know what I was going to do by myself. Who was going to take care of me? Who was going to protect me? This one therapist said to me, 'Can you be alone?' And I was like, 'I can do it. I can be alone. I can be alone. I'll be alone until Christmas.'"

Lopez's therapist suggested she erase everyone from her phone who might pose temptation. According to Lopez, she listened and took some significant time to be alone and address whatever it was she needed to heal — like feeling emotionally abandoned as a child.

It's been easy for some fans to dismiss Lopez's recent projects — the film, the album, and the doc — as silly or unnecessary. But I couldn't help but empathize with her after having more insight into her journey and the things she's struggled with when it comes to love and relationships. I now believe Lopez when she says she took the time to be alone and heal — whenever that was.

Ultimately, it's clear that investing $20 million in this project was for herself, not for fans or viewers. Documenting her own journey was more a therapeutic act of self-love than anything else. Lopez likely didn't put out these projects to be nominated for awards or because she believes they'll be major hits; she put them out because they were the final process in her healing journey.

If these projects do anything, I hope they inspire viewers struggling with self-worth to take the time to reflect, heal, and give themselves the self-love they've always deserved. Because at the end of the day, the only love that we can guarantee in this life is the love we can give ourselves.