Watch Oprah interview Jennifer Lopez below:
Read the full transcript:
OPRAH: So when we were putting together our dream list of 2020 Visionary conversations—(applause)—we said we want people who are at the top of their game. We want—we want people who are redefining what it means to be strong, to be powerful, to be inspirational, to be aspirational, to be astoundingly age-defying. (Applause.) Who gives new meaning to the word 50. (Applause.) And who, above all else, are well. And really, is there anyone on the planet that represents all of that more than the one and only Jennifer Lopez. (Applause.)
(Jennifer Lopez entrance.)
OPRAH: What are you doing out here?
JENNIFER: What are you doing out here on a Saturday?
OPRAH: What are we doing on a Saturday?
JENNIFER: Hi, everybody.
OPRAH: Jennifer Lopez in the house. You are wearing that—that is a suit.
JENNIFER: It's a three-piece suit.
OPRAH: Can we see what it looks like without the jacket? Let's see it without the jacket. You
want to see it without the jacket? Look at that. Oh, look at that.
OPRAH: You were just saying to me this is full circle for me because you opened the tour here.
JENNIFER: I did. I did. This is where we opened—you all were here? We opened the ‘It's My Party’ tour last summer. So it's kind of full circle. This was our first show. This was where we opened and the first time I sang on stage with my daughter Emme. So it was a special night for us. It was a really special night for us.
OPRAH: You've had a lot of special nights. Has 2020 been—(laughter)—I mean that. There you all go. I—how do you top the year that you've had? Really. What happened? Did you have a vision for that? Because you know we're talking about vision and setting the vision. Or has that been what happened to you last year with the culmination of what you've been dreaming and envisioning your whole life.
JENNIFER: I think that's what happened. It's been about 10 years since my kids were born. They turned 12 last Saturday. About 10 years where I just decided that I was going to work in a way that I hadn't before. And I was gonna grow in a way I hadn't before. Once you have kids, for me, what happened was I realized I had to do better. I was doing okay. I was doing good. But I had to do better. In fact when you said to that lady in the audience, you have to take care of yourself so you can take care of your kids.
JENNIFER: And that's what happened. And I think last year, the start of this year that's happening, my 50th year, which is crazy to think that that happened.
OPRAH: But you know what—because isn't it true? I read that you said somewhere, which is the best definition, you said you don't feel like you're aging. You just feel like yourself.
OPRAH: So the number doesn't even mean anything.
JENNIFER: It doesn't mean anything to me. I honestly feel the same way I did when I was 28 and put out my first record. I do. And I think it's a mindset of just continuing to realize that I'm still growing. And so long as I'm still growing, there's still somewhere to go.That there's more to the journey. That just because I'm going to turn 50 it's not over. That's what I'm realizing. It's not over. We're just at the halftime right now. (Laughter.)
OPRAH: Speaking of halftime. Okay. Speaking of halftime. We’ve never seen anything like that in our lives. (Applause.)
JENNIFER: Oh, my God.
OPRAH: In our lives we had never seen anything like that. So I'm curious as to just before you and Shakira—just before you went on, you're watching Shakira.
OPRAH: You know you've got to go out there and kill it. Were there butterflies? Were you thinking, wow, you just can't do better than 100 and something million people around the world. What were you thinking and feeling waiting to go on?
JENNIFER: Okay. So a lot of things. A lot of things. But mostly I—you know, I have a big show. I'm in the zone. I'm focused. I have put in the work. So I feel really good. And it was different because my daughter was going to be singing. So I had my little concern on her over there. But she's kind of, like, standing there going, like.
JENNIFER: So, okay, she's good. You have to focus on you right now. And I—I don't know, I just—I just—I think I just felt like, as I was watching Shakira, I was very still. And I saw that she was killing it. And I was, like, okay, okay, here we go. Here we go. This is it. And you know it's weird because I think most people who perform at the Super Bowl, they don't have to split it like that.
OPRAH: That's right. They do it.
JENNIFER: I had to actually stand there for, like, six minutes or more just like—
JENNIFER: And looking at, you know, three times the size of this of people, you know? And I'm, like, all right. We're about to tear this stadium down.
OPRAH: And you said—and you did. You said you wanted little girls all over the world to be proud of everything that they are. So you were dancing for yourself. You were also dancing for girls all over the world.
JENNIFER: Yeah, I mean, I knew—there were certain things I knew. When they asked me to do the Super Bowl. I was like I'm gonna close with ‘Let's Get Loud.’ I'm gonna close with ‘Let's Get Loud.’ That was a definite. And I knew that I wanted to push forth a message because I knew who I was representing. I knew I was representing not just myself, but women. Latinos. (Laughter.) And—and everybody. And all humans. And what I wanted everybody—every little girl, and I decided I was gonna put like—I was, like, how many girls will you let me have on the field, you know what I mean? They're, like, you can have 50. And I was like, okay, I'll take it. And I just wanted them—what—the message that was very clear to me that needed to be said was, be proud of who you are. And don't ever be afraid to use your voice and get loud in the face of injustice or anything that you don't agree with.
OPRAH: Was—I heard you say that singing on the stage with Emme was really cathartic for you. What was that like as a mother, as a singer, what was that?
JENNIFER: As I think of it, I just—you know, my whole body fills up with so many emotions because, you know, she came up in these pods and she started the song without me and then by the time she came over to me it was such a huge celebration and I wrapped her in the American flag and on the other side it's a Puerto Rican flag. And I'm looking at her and she's singing ‘Born in the USA. I was born in the USA.’ And, yes, and I was just—we both yelled at each other: ‘I'm gonna live my life.’ And to see her with so much joy be so much in her own power so young and all the little girls around me singing and going off and it was such an amazing feeling. It's hard to describe. It's hard to describe how proud I was. How—
OPRAH: It filled you up.
JENNIFER: —exhilarated I was. It did. It was amazing. I think everybody got that at home.
OPRAH: Everybody got it. Did Emme come out that way? Was she always that child?
JENNIFER: She's quiet. You know? She's a thinker. Oh, she came out she was angel. I would look at her when she was little. Both my babies. But I was like you're an angel. Does every mom feel that way? I think so. And—but she was always quiet. My son is very, like, loud and rambunctious and full of energy. And Emme's like the opposite. She's the yin to his yang, you know? But she feels very comfortable performing and singing on stage.
OPRAH: So when did you see that she had the ability to do that on stage?
JENNIFER: I didn't know. I always thought she was really shy. And then when I was gonna direct my first video for ‘Limitless,’ the song that I did with Sia that you guys opened with.
JENNIFER: I directed my first video and I was saying I needed a little girl in the video. And she heard me, like, talking about it and she came to me and she was, like, ‘Uh, mom, I can do it.’ And I was, like—I never thought about putting them in the business or to work or anything. I just didn't want that for them. I work with a lot of kids, and it's a lot. It's a lot of pressure. And I was, like, no, baby. Videos are really hard. They're long hours.
OPRAH: Long days, yeah.
JENNIFER: You don't want to do that. And I go on and I start casting girls and seeing them and having them come back. [My fiancé] Alex [Rodriguez] is, like, ‘You should put Emme in the video. She really wants to be in the video.’ I was like, ‘Alex, I don't want to.’ And then Uncle Benny: ‘You should put Emme in the video.’
OPRAH: Put Emme in the video.
JENNIFER: I'm like, guys, I don't want to—I don't want her working. I'm directing for the first time. And what about if I have to tell her something?
JENNIFER: Like do that better, you know. Like I don't want that. And she was, like, ‘Mommy, I really can do it. I can do it. I promise.’ I said, ‘If you do it, you have to see it through. You have to get all the way through.’ She was like, ‘Okay.’ And she did it. And when she got on the set, she started singing and she started acting. So it was more of an acting thing in the video where she is kind of—it's all green screen, and it's all left to the imagination. I said you represent every woman, the little girl inside every woman. Okay? And what an uphill climb it is to be born a woman. Right from the beginning. And I want you to struggle going up the hill like your foot is stuck and you've got to pull it out and you've got to keep climbing and you've got to keep going. She's, like, ‘Okay. Okay.’ And she's dressed in, like, man clothes that she sheds throughout the video. And then she's at the top singing. And we did the first take all the way through. She was a natural. And I was, like she was a natural.
OPRAH: I know.
JENNIFER: And I look at her and I'm like—I'm crying. Everybody on my team has been with me for 20-some years. They all saw when they were born. We're all with tears in our eyes. Oh, my God. She's much littler then that she is now. A couple years ago. And that's when I knew.
OPRAH: That she had it.
JENNIFER: She had it.
JENNIFER: And she can do whatever she wanted to do with it. She didn't have to do it, but she could do whatever she wanted with it.
OPRAH: So you were pretty confident and assured that it was going to be exactly what it was for the Super Bowl.
JENNIFER: For the Super Bowl, that was—we had gone on tour. Like I said, we opened the tour last year, and she would sing a little bit of ‘Limitless’ with me. And I wanted her to just do opening weekend which was two L.A. shows. And she wound up singing—we were on tour for 30 shows. I was like you don't have to do it every night. She was on tour with me anyway. No, no. I want to. And she would come out every night and do her little part and it was a very special part of the show but we had choreographed it without her just in case she didn't want to do it. But she did it every single night. And she enjoys it. So I knew the Super Bowl would be a smaller part for her. And I didn't want to—when I asked her, I said if you don't want to do this, again, you don't have to do it. And she acts like she doesn't care a little bit. But she cares, like she wants to do it. But she did it. And, yeah, she just has fun with it.
OPRAH: Yeah. So that was such an incredible performance. I mean, people were, like, calling everybody about it.
OPRAH: Watching it in real time. Were you surprised, then, when some people thought it was a little much? People started complaining.
JENNIFER: About the sexy part?
OPRAH: About the sexy part. Were you surprised?
JENNIFER: No. It didn't bother me. It was such a beautiful night. And it was—it was so well received. Like to listen to, like, the small fraction of people who thought it was too sexy and trying to say something negative, it would have been a sin for me to like—
OPRAH: Even take that in.
OPRAH: That is so cool. Are you really good with that? Have you reached a point in your career where other people's judgments do not impact how you see or judge yourself?
JENNIFER: Finally, yes.
OPRAH: You've gotten there?
OPRAH: That is—
JENNIFER: And it was just recent, too.
JENNIFER: It wasn't—yeah. These are journeys that take a long time.
JENNIFER: They take a long time. First you have to figure out, I'm not loving myself enough. I need to figure that part out.
OPRAH: Which I was saying to the woman over there. Everybody in this room, listen to J Lo.
JENNIFER: It's great to think, oh, if I take care of everybody else I'm a good person. You know? I put myself last. A lot of women in my family, that's how we were raised. Especially Latinos. Everybody comes before you. I'm last. I'll eat last. I'll get dressed last. I didn't even take a shower. It's fine.
JENNIFER: That's how you're raised. And you need—you come to the realization that it's not that. I have to take care of myself so I can take care of everybody else better.
OPRAH: I read where you've said you've come to a place now—because this is the truth, y'all. The 40s to 50s are it.
JENNIFER: Oh, my God.
OPRAH: For anybody who's thinking—who's dreading the 40s? It doesn't even start to make sense.
JENNIFER: It's not over.
OPRAH: Not only is it not over. It's just getting started.
JENNIFER: It's just beginning.
OPRAH: It's just beginning. It's true. It's so true.
JENNIFER: It's so true. We're, like, together.
OPRAH: It's so true. As you've gotten through your 40s and now at 50 where you feel the most comfortable and most powerful, that's how it's supposed to be.
JENNIFER: That's absolutely how it feels. And it's a journey to get there where you get to the point where you realize that you're giving yourself the credit. I've done well. I've done good. I've worked on myself. I've tried to be better. I'm gonna keep on growing. When you get to that place where you're not encumbered with what other people think of you and what you're doing and you're just doing it for yourself and your own individual fulfillment and happiness and doing things in the right way, nothing can stop you after that.
OPRAH: Nothing can stop you. So let's talk about that growth. You married in your 20s.
JENNIFER: A couple times.
OPRAH: A couple times. I was just gonna skirt on by that. But, okay. Married in your 20s.
OPRAH: And now engaged at 50.
OPRAH: What—what—what do you know now about love that you didn't know then?
JENNIFER: Again, and I think this is the key to life, that I had to love myself and be okay on my own before I could be in a healthy relationship.
OPRAH: Okay. So were you at the point before you met him—
OPRAH: —Alexander. Were you at the point where you could be alone? Just before you met him?
JENNIFER: I could.
OPRAH: You could, yes.
JENNIFER: It was, like, getting there. I think once I got divorced and I had to kind of re-examine my whole life because I never—I waited to have kids. I had the kids when I was 38. That I—because I never wanted to not be with the person I was with and had kids with.
JENNIFER: And I just felt like—I don't know, like I needed to—when we got divorced, it was such a—like the lowest time of my life. I felt like I had failed miserably. And that I was not gonna give my kids what they needed. And I actually still didn't know what to do. So I had to kind regroup at that time.
OPRAH: And was that your own personal feeling about that marriage and situation? Or was part of that engrained? What you're taught—taught culturally?
JENNIFER: Taught culturally. That you can't raise kids without a man and a woman there. A mother and a father. And I think they do need their father. They need their mother and their father. But your happiness has to be a part of that.
OPRAH: Because you bring your full happy self to your children.
OPRAH: That's what people need to know.
OPRAH: So you shouldn't stay in bad situations for your children because your children just grow up with two people in a bad situation who are unhappy.
JENNIFER: Everybody's unhappy.
OPRAH: Yes. And everybody ends up being unhappy. So do you think that you and Alex have worked on yourselves, done the work for yourselves, because I always say this. You are looking—you can't look to somebody else to make you whole. You've got to try to bring your whole self.
JENNIFER: That's the thing. I feel like now I'm good no matter what. No matter what. If I'm with somebody. If I'm not with somebody. Jennifer's happy. I'm happy. And that—that I didn't even know I could be.
OPRAH: So you got over the fear of being alone.
JENNIFER: Yeah, that fear of being alone and that if I'm not with somebody I'm gonna be so lonely. I'm gonna be miserable. It's like, no, what are you talking about? Your life is amazing. And you're doing what you dreamed of. And you have these beautiful kids. And what are you thinking?
OPRAH: How did you do the work? Did you actually do therapy? Did you pray?
JENNIFER: I did therapy. I prayed a lot.
OPRAH: You meditated?
JENNIFER: I meditated. I learned to meditate. I read a lot of books. I read a lot of Louise Hay [author of “You Can Heal Your Life”] books. I met Louise Hay.
JENNIFER: I was, like, Louise, help me. I'm getting divorced. What do I do? I feel like crap. Help me. Yeah, I mean, I—whatever I could. I—I was around people in my life that were older, more experienced, and they helped me, you know.
OPRAH: I heard you like being around older people.
JENNIFER: I love being around older people. Always have since I was in my 20s. The experience and the wisdom that they have is so priceless to me. And I've always been fascinated. Like I was always that person, like, 20-something years old at a movie set and had, like, my 50-year-old girlfriend with me. You know? They're, like, what? And my young girlfriends, too. But I always had somebody like that. Like a sage in my life. Somebody who was guiding me.
OPRAH: So now you're engaged. Does it matter to you when you get married? You know, once you get—before you get engaged, everybody's, like, when are they gonna get engaged?
JENNIFER: I know.
OPRAH: And then you get engaged. When are you gonna get married?
JENNIFER: Are you gonna have kids?
OPRAH: Are you gonna have kids together? Yes. Does it matter to you when you get married?
JENNIFER: No. No, it doesn't. It's so funny because when we first got engaged. Oh, we're gonna get married in a couple months. Like your old thinking comes like right back. Like all that hopeless romantic that made me get married three times. You know what I mean? It came, like, rushing back. And then I was, like, wait. If we're gonna be together for the rest—he said whatever you want to do. I said if we're gonna be together for the rest of our lives, what is the rush? That's what we're really going to be. If we're really going to be partners. If we're really going to try to build something together that we both never had or never felt like we had, a family with a husband and a wife, a mother and father and we raise all our children and we can show them something that we didn't have.
JENNIFER: You know.
OPRAH: How are you all doing that? Because it's one thing for him to co-parent your kids. You to co-parent his kids, and working with all of the others.
JENNIFER: The others.
OPRAH: Yes. How does that work?
JENNIFER: You know, it's—it's through navigation. You have to navigate everybody's different personalities. Marc has a very different life. His—the mother of his children has a very different life than what we have. And we all kind of fill in the blanks for each other and we give the kids all different experiences.
OPRAH: Does everybody come together at some point to say, this is how we're gonna do it? Or who's running that show? Are you the one running the show?
JENNIFER: I think me and Alex, we—we talk a lot about it. Then he'll talk with Cynthia and then I'll talk to Marc and then we'll kind of coordinate and I talk to Cynthia. You know what I mean? So we have a network. The kids have a network of people who love, adore them, and want the best for them. And I think we figure it out as we go. We've been figuring it out as we go.
OPRAH: And how would you describe yourself as a mom?
JENNIFER: Oh, the first thing that comes to my mind is loving. I'm a loving mom.
OPRAH: Are you a good mom?
JENNIFER: I think I'm—I think I'm a really good mom. I think.
OPRAH: What makes you a really good mom?
JENNIFER: I think I'm a really good mom because I relate to my kids in a way that doesn't make them feel less than. Where they feel like they can talk to me. I talk to them. We talk to each other with love and respect. You know, I want to be around them. They want to be around me.
JENNIFER: And they think that's—I always said I wanted to create a home that they always want to come back to. That's my goal.
JENNIFER: Like everything about it. You know? And they're never going to be judged there. They can say whatever they want to say. They're not going to be able to afford it but they're gonna be given boundaries. They're gonna be given—you know.
OPRAH: Yeah, that's the thing I wonder about rich, famous people.
OPRAH: Like how—
JENNIFER: Yeah, because I didn't grow up rich or famous. But I have to deal with that now.
OPRAH: I mean, seriously.
JENNIFER: For my kid. And I'm, like, what do you—are you spoiled? Like what's happening right now?
OPRAH: How do you raise kind kids who have their own ambitions when they are raised with everything? I was just so used to being poor if we got anything, we were so happy. So happy. But when you have everything, it's to degrees. You know what we're talking about. Right? You all want your kid to have a better life than you. How do you—
JENNIFER: When you do that, there's a whole new set of problems. Right? They have a better life than me, than I had growing up. They can have mostly whatever they want. Good schools. They have—
OPRAH: Are they on allowances? Do they make up their—
JENNIFER: No. No. Yes. Emme's, like, I have to clean my room. Yes, you do. Today. Not tomorrow. They have chores. But they also I think for me it's important that they see me working hard. That you have to work hard for things. Things aren't going to be given to you.OPRAH: When you started dating Alex, did you have a family meeting with the kids to tell them?
JENNIFER: That we were dating?
JENNIFER: No. I think they just saw him coming around and little by little we tried to
ease into it. And then we went on a family trip so all the kids could be together and that was like a big step for us. And that we talked to them. Like I was like, ‘We're gonna go on a trip with Alex. You know Alex. You like Alex? You know what I mean? Okay.’
OPRAH: What if they said, ‘No, we don't?’
JENNIFER: Then we would have had issues. Right? We would have been in therapy. Why don't you like him? I want to know. What are you feeling that I'm not feeling? But it wasn't that. It was, like, no, they really—they really liked him. Max said something—I remember this conversation with him. Even though it's like three years ago now. He said something like, ‘Alex is the only one who ever doesn't get mad at me.’ So Max is the one that gets in trouble in the house. He's like, “He's the only one that never gets mad at me.’ Like he has so much patience with him. Because he's all over the place and he's the most beautiful boy and the most loving boy. But he will not (inaudible) for a second. You know what I mean? Like Max. All you hear through the house is, like, "Max." All the time. And Alex has this amazing patience with him which I hadn't realized.
OPRAH: Okay, so here's a question. What made you say, about Alex, ‘Yes. You're the person I want to spend the rest of my life with.’ What are the qualities?
JENNIFER: It was—it was different. It was different than anything I had ever experienced in the sense of his consistency in what he said. Every time. And that, you know, sticks.
JENNIFER: You know, and he also wanted—he wants to build together. Which I've never had. I've never had, you know, somebody who wants to see me shine and grow and I think him being in my life is a big part of what happened this year.
JENNIFER: You know what I mean? Because he allowed me to kind of grow. You know what I mean? And it wasn't like, ‘Get back down here.’ You know?
OPRAH: Or, ‘Don't outshine me.’
JENNIFER: Don't outshine.
OPRAH: I've had that with Stedman all these years. He always wants the best for me.
OPRAH: He always wants the best for me. You want the one that wants the best for you.
JENNIFER: The best for you. And who also sees in you even more potential than you see in yourself.
OPRAH: Yes. Yes.
JENNIFER: And you're, like, really?
OPRAH: Really? Yeah.
JENNIFER: That thing. And I think Alex has done that, and I do that for him. So we have that kind of mirror quality for each other.
OPRAH: Okay, we've got to talk about that green dress.
JENNIFER: Oh, God.
OPRAH: This last fall you created a stir when you wore the green Versace dress that you made famous nearly 20 years ago. Did you feel differently in it last year, this past fall, than 20 years ago?
JENNIFER: I did. I felt very different.
OPRAH: You felt better?
JENNIFER: I mean, look at the pictures. You know what it felt like? There was a lot attached to it because I was—I was friends with Donatella many years now. And when I met her, Gianni had just passed away. So she was devastated. And it took her a long time to recover from that. If you really ever recover from something like that.
JENNIFER: But I just have such affinity for her. And so that has always lived with us. And when she asked me to do this, she—we were sitting together at an event and she said, ‘Jen, do you know it's the 20-year anniversary from when you wore the green dress?’ And I go, ‘No, I didn't know that. Thank you for telling me. Has it been that long?’ (Laughter.) She's, like, ‘Yes. I'm gonna do a whole runway show dedicated to that print because it now has become, like, an iconic thing for Versace, that jungle print is what they call it.’ And I said, ‘Oh, great. I love 'em.’ I thought she was gonna invite me to the show or whatever. And she goes, ‘No, I want you to wear the dress again and walk at the end.’
JENNIFER: And I was, like, ‘Oh. Okay. Okay. Yeah.’ And I said yes, like, right away. Like just like a split second. And then I was, like, ‘Yes. Whatever you need. Of course I'll do that for you.’ And I didn't really think about it. But then when I wore it and I put it on and I was, like, oh, my God. I feel—I'm stronger now. I'm in better shape now than I was then.
JENNIFER: And so I'm, like, backstage, like, doing that.
OPRAH: Feeling the dress.
JENNIFER: Feeling it, yeah, okay. And I had never walked in a runway show. So that was my first time really doing that. So I was, like, what is this like? You know what I mean? So I had a little bit of butterflies. And it was a surprise on top of that. So, you know—
OPRAH: Oh, that was—
JENNIFER: She's like, ‘Everybody's gonna go crazy.’
OPRAH: And everybody did. Everybody did.
JENNIFER: I was like, ‘you think so? Okay, I'm excited.’ And it was—walking around, it was around the runway like that. Like a big circle. And as I came out and I walked and I saw everybody start standing up, including Anna Wintour.
OPRAH: Well now.
JENNIFER: Then I was like, ‘Well, Anna Wintour made it up?’ I kept going. And I walked all the way around. And the music was—it was just like you know when everything comes together?
JENNIFER: In a perfect moment? Like the music felt great to me and we were there and everybody's smiling.
OPRAH: And you looked so good.
JENNIFER: Thank you.
OPRAH: This is the thing. This is the thing. Then you posted the picture of you in the white bikini that literally went viral.
JENNIFER: Oh, right. Yeah.
OPRAH: And started people all over the world—
JENNIFER: I love that, that that happened.
OPRAH: —posting themselves.
JENNIFER: I love that you guys did that.
OPRAH: Relaxed and recharged.
JENNIFER: This is after the Super Bowl so I was in pretty good shape but I also was exhausted. And so I took like a little time and I was just relaxing. And as I said, relaxing and kind of recharging. I was recharging.
OPRAH: How long did it take you to recharge after that?
JENNIFER: Oh, man, a couple weeks. A couple weeks. I felt like I had got hit by a truck after the Super Bowl. And I think it was because I started filming Hustlers—I started working on Hustlers the February before. So a year ago. And I went from Hustlers to the tour to Hustlers coming out and filming a movie that I just did called Marry Me to the Super Bowl. Non-stop. So I think once—I was just trying to get to the Super Bowl and finish. And when I finished, I literally the next day—it's so crazy I'm, like. I could not move from the bed. Like my legs weren't working. They weren't working. It was done.
OPRAH: They had worked that pole the night before. (Applause.) And those legs said we don't have to do another thing.
JENNIFER: Right. And we're done.
OPRAH: Oh, my God. First of all, in Hustlers, you learned to pole dance. We've read all that. And the first time you had to do the shot, were you nervous about—
JENNIFER: I was—I was so terrified. My heart was beating. Now I wear sexy costumes. It's not a big deal. Up stage. You know, I do my bodysuit. You know, we all do it. All the girls do it. We're fine. But I have, like, three pairs of tights on and I'm like—you know what I mean? And mesh all through the arms. And we're really covered. That's why I was a little bit with the Super Bowl I was so covered with so much better it was like having a wetsuit on. Like it was that thick.
JENNIFER: But with Hustlers, you know, when you're an actress it's a totally different thing. I'm in my comfort zone being myself when I'm on stage and Jennifer. When I'm playing a character like Ramona who was basically a lifetime stripper, she started when she was very young, in my mind I created all this—
JENNIFER: —and—it wasn't all there in the script. You have to make this stuff up.
OPRAH: It's called acting.
OPRAH: It's called acting. Yes.
JENNIFER: Okay? And we—and the whole idea of her—she was the star of the club. The person who knew the game. And you had the run the whole—she knew what everybody was thinking. She was just an amazing character.
OPRAH: In charge all the time. Yes.
JENNIFER: In charge all the time. And in this moment, you know, getting up on stage in what was a dental floss. I tried to start with a coat on. I was, like, this would be nice. I was trying to convince the director. Okay, but you have to lose it right away. No, no, no. I will. I will. But it was more exposed physically and emotionally than I had ever done in a movie. So it was—as I'm walking to the stage on that day, I'm literally with my producing partner, Elaine Goldsmith Thomas, and she's behind me and we're walking to the set like we do 10 times a day when you're making a movie. Back to the trailer. Back and forth, you know. And they're, like, you ready? And I'm, like, ‘Yeah, yeah, I'm ready.’ And I turned to Elaine and I go, ‘I'm nervous.’ And she goes, ‘What? Nervous?’ I go, ‘Yeah, I'm scared.’ And she goes, ‘You got this.’ And I go, ‘Yeah, yeah, no, I got this. I got this.’ My heart is beating out of my chest. And you just—in that moment, you realize the vulnerability but also the power and the balls and the bravery it takes to get up and do that. Because even that person—
OPRAH: Because you're doing it as an actor.
JENNIFER: —who does that. Right? And all of that is going through my mind. It's 300 extras. Mostly men in the audience. They're still men. They're not, like, fake people. They're real people. They're still about to—
OPRAH: They were gonna stick dollar bills—
JENNIFER: They're about to see it all.
OPRAH: Yes. yes.
JENNIFER: Oh, my God. What am I doing with my life? I'm a mother. This is crazy. Why are you doing this?
OPRAH: Did you go through the scene with Alex before?
JENNIFER: No, Alex—here's the funny—Alex couldn't have been more fine with it. Listen, these sports guys, they—they know a strip club or two. (Laughter.) Let's be real. He was helping me with the movie.
JENNIFER: Yes. He was, like, just so you know, the guys go in through the back doors and they do this. And I was, like, really. You really seem to know a lot about this. But, yeah, it was funny.
OPRAH: Could you have done Ramona as well as you did, Golden Globe nominee. Many thought you should have been nominated for an Oscar.
JENNIFER: Thank you.
OPRAH: First of all, did you feel snubbed when people started saying you were snubbed for an Oscar?
JENNIFER: I was sad. I was a little sad. Because there was a lot of build-up to it. There were so many—I got so many good notices.
JENNIFER: Like more than ever in my career. And there was a lot of she's gonna get nominated for an Oscar. If it doesn't, you're crazy. And I'm reading all the articles and I'm going, ‘Oh, my God, could this happen?’ And then it didn't and I was, like, ‘Ouch.’ It was a little bit of a let down. Also I felt like my whole team, like I said, most of my team has been with me for years, 20, 25 years. And I think they had a lot of hopes on that. They wanted it, too.
JENNIFER: And I felt like I let everybody down a little bit.
OPRAH: But you didn't.
JENNIFER: I know, but I felt like that.
JENNIFER: I felt like that for a minute.
OPRAH: So you cannot have done that had you not gone through this journey to yourself.
OPRAH: You could not have done Ramona—
OPRAH: —could not have been the Ramona that we saw. Right?
JENNIFER: No. I think, you know, like you said, as you get more mature, as you get older, as you have this experience, this wisdom on you, you have this life on you, you become a better artist. You really do. You become a better singer. You become a better performer. You become better connected to people. You become a better actress because you've lived. You need that life. And some people are talented actors from the time they're very young. And I was a good actress always. I can say that now. To myself.
JENNIFER: You know? But what I do now is so much different than what I did then. And it's—it's more fun for me because I'm more confident with it.
OPRAH: Because if you can say now what you just said, I'm a good actress—
JENNIFER: Yeah, it was hard for me to say that, but I said it.
OPRAH: You said that.
JENNIFER: I said it.
OPRAH: Okay. So if you can say now that I'm a good actress, does it matter to you as much as if other people say it?
JENNIFER: No, and that's the thing that happens. I think what happened with the Super Bowl, with this whole entire year with, you know, getting—
OPRAH: The tour. Getting nominated.
JENNIFER: —nominated for all these awards and then not getting the Oscar thing, I had to kind of re-examine, like why do you do this? What are you so sad about right now? You've just had the most amazing year in your life. You've just had the biggest opening of a movie in your career. You just walked the runway in Milan and had a fashion moment. You just—like you are doing the Super Bowl a couple weeks. What? What? What is it? And you realize that you want people's validation. You want people to say you did a good job. And I just realized I was, like, no, you don't need that.
JENNIFER: You do this because you love it.
OPRAH: Do you know that in Michelle Obama's book Becoming, she speaks of going through that process herself. And I was saying to the audience earlier that a question that underlies everybody's insecurity is, am I enough? Am I enough? Am I enough? Michelle Obama's felt it.JENNIFER: Am I good enough?
OPRAH: I've felt it. That is the question. You can cut through the therapy. Save yourself a lot of bills.
JENNIFER: Yes. We're telling you.
OPRAH: Go to your therapist and say, ‘The question we need to ask is am I good enough?’ Have you answered that for yourself?
JENNIFER: I think, as I said, it's a finally thing. And I think it's just happened. And I needed to go through the Oscar snub, the Super Bowl game. All of the things that I went through in the last year in the best way and the toughest ways.
JENNIFER: Kind of being let down but you go, ‘Oh, my God, I don't need that. I'm actually here and I am okay and I am enough.’ I don't need this award right here to tell me I'm enough.
JENNIFER: I don't need that.
OPRAH: I heard that you tell yourself sometimes, ‘You're doing good, baby.’
JENNIFER: Yes. You've got to.
JENNIFER: You have to because there's another little voice that's going, ‘You're not doing good enough.’
JENNIFER: So the outside voice has to go, you're doing good.
OPRAH: What's your personal mantra, Jen?
JENNIFER: I have so many affirmations that I do. And I've done affirmations for a long, long time. I feel like they really do the more—I believe that how you think, and I teach my kids this, your thoughts create your life. You have to think positive thoughts all the time. You have to force yourself to think positive thoughts at times. And so I do a lot of different affirmations. I do I—you know, I'm open and receptive to all the goodness and abundance the universe has to offer. I—I am in perfect health. My children are in perfect health. We are safe. We are—we are whole. I am whole. I am good on my own. I love myself. I love you, Jennifer. I love the universe. The universe loves me. God loves me. I am useful and timeless at every age. I am enough.OPRAH: Do you recognize the fact that you are changing what people believe 50 and beyond can be? You see that, right? You see you're doing that. Right?
JENNIFER: I—I like that I have—that I have heard that. I love that.
JENNIFER: I love that because I feel like for myself, I'm redefining it. Like because when I was 20-something years old, I thought, ‘At 50, you'll be done.’ I'd be done. I was, like, I'm be married with kids, I don't know, they'll be in high school? Yeah. Like that's what you're programmed to think. And now that I'm here, I realize that it's so far from over. Like you said, it's just at halftime. It's not done. There's so much to do. Here's what I know. I know that whatever I—the next 10 years is gonna be—I don't know what's gonna happen. But I know it's gonna be better than what has happened.OPRAH: Whoa.
JENNIFER: That's—that's what I know.
OPRAH: And that's the space you live in.
JENNIFER: That's the space I live in.
OPRAH: And I know you believe this that there's so much undiscovered. Do you—the word ‘limitless.’ Is that your word? Do you feel that that's where you are right now?
JENNIFER: That's my word. That's my word. And I think when I went on tour right here in this arena I said to everybody, ‘You know, you need to understand and believe that you can do anything you want. We are truly limitless. That was part of the tour. Part of me turning 50. Part of what I realized, in fact, the year or two before, that there really are no limits. There's—the only limits are the ones that you put on yourself. The ones that you create in your mind. And when you pull all that away, the sky's the limit. The sky is not the limit.OPRAH: The sky is not the limit.
JENNIFER: The sky is not the limit.
OPRAH: I want to know how—you know, we were—we met you backstage for just a couple of minutes, and I was with my guy for social media. He goes, she's so pretty. He goes, she's so pretty. So when you look in the mirror, do you see the same pretty that we see? (Applause.) Let her answer. Don't try to influence the question.
JENNIFER: I will say truthfully and honestly sometimes. And sometimes it's like everybody else. I see all the things that are wrong. You know, and I don't have all day—
OPRAH: Can we say what those are so we can see what that is?
JENNIFER: What? You know.
OPRAH: No. I mean, there's this—
JENNIFER: I feel like I look tired. I feel like I'm—you know, different things. You know, that I look—that my nose is crooked. That, you know, my—you know. Whatever. And my teeth. I chipped 'em when I'm singing with the microphone. You know what I mean?
OPRAH: Okay. So are there some days when—okay. Are there some days—(laughter)—where you look at yourself and you go, damn. (Laughter.) Really.
JENNIFER: There are days—
OPRAH: Where you say—
JENNIFER: There are days.
OPRAH: Okay. All right.
JENNIFER: I go—
OPRAH: Listen, don't we think it would be a shame to look like this and not know it? Hallelujah.
JENNIFER: No, there are days.
JENNIFER: Where I'll look in the mirror, like I'm getting out of the shower and I'm looking at myself just in my glory, you know, and I'm, like, ‘Well, you're sexy, girl.’ (Laughter.) And I feel myself a little bit. Every once in a while. On a good day. When I'm at my peak from the gym and just showered off, you know. ‘Girl, you look good.’
OPRAH: You look good. Your 2020 vision for wellness for yourself. How much do you work out?
JENNIFER: I work out—it depends on what I'm training for. If I'm more into training fight mode I'm working out five days a week. If I'm more regular, I'm three, four days a week. And I don't go more than an hour or two a day.
JENNIFER: That's all you need. You need consistency more than you need to be there killing yourself. You know? You don't really need that part.
OPRAH: I have found—do you, like, have a regimen? Do you drink eight glasses of water a day?
JENNIFER: I don't. No.
OPRAH: I know that's it.
JENNIFER: Eight glasses of water a day. No, but I do carry around my little bling cup that I love.
OPRAH: Right, right.
JENNIFER: And that makes me drink more water every day because it's so pretty.
OPRAH: Who's got more stamina, you or Alex?
JENNIFER: Without a doubt.
OPRAH: Without a doubt.
JENNIFER: And he'll tell you that, too.
OPRAH: More stamina.
OPRAH: So what's the biggest vision, if there is one, that you hold for yourself for 2020 and beyond?
JENNIFER: For 2020 and beyond, I think I just—I just want to keep growing. I never want to get stale. You know? I never want to get, like, complacent or, like, bored with where I'm at. I just want to keep making it exhilarating and exciting for me.
OPRAH: Well, you've done that for us today.
JENNIFER: Thank you.
OPRAH: Thank you, Jennifer Lopez. (Applause.)
JENNIFER: Thanks. Thank you guys so much.