Jennifer Lopez sat down with Diane Sawyer on ‘Primetime’ for a lengthy interview where she finally admitted she is engaged to Ben Affleck. She described Ben as “brilliantly smart, loving, charming, affectionate. I just admire him in every way. You know what I seen in I respect him. I feel like he teaches me things.” For a (long) transcript to the chat, read on.
Diane Sawyer: And now, Jennifer Lopez. She’s not just a star. She’s a kind of supernova. The Puerto Rican girl from the working class section of the Bronx, who willed herself into an entertainment power house. She was is first Latina to crack the $1 million barrier for a movie. The first woman to have the number one movie and album at the same time. And you might think that would be enough. But no. If you’ve seen the photos, it looks like she may have something else, a guy next to her that moviegoers dream about — Ben Affleck. What’s really going on here? We’ve talked about them. We wondered about them. And we had no idea what she would say when we sat down for our interview. So, here, now, is Jennifer Lopez finally speaking for herself. We’ve all been looking at the pictures, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck. But can this really be? After all, they’re completely different people, or so it seems. She, the racy, pop star with the flashy ex-boyfriend. Not to mention, two marriages. He, the towering actor who romanced an uptown god December, brainy guy who grew up in the working class part of Boston. Affleck and Lopez. They met just after she was starting to film her new movie “made in Manhattan,” in which a Puerto Rican woman, a maid in a new york hotel, falls in love with a flashy and unattainable guest. We heard that Lopez was wary of Affleck’s reputation of a charming Casanova. Then, suddenly, everywhere we looked, the pictures of them kissing. And then, the diamond on her finger, pink, the rarest diamond of them all. Finally, it was our chance to sit down and ask her, is Ben Affleck really the one? Or just the one for now? So, is Ben the one? Getting married? Are you getting married?
>> Oh, Diane. Diane, the cameras are on. Can we talk later? I want to talk later.
Diane: Reporter: Kissing him on the balcony.
>> We’re very secure with our relationship. This is like being on the front line. You’re really going for it.
Diane: I am.
>> Battle. Got your little hard hat on with the green. And she’s in my sights.
Diane: It was a standoff, until a few minutes later, we stopped to change tape. Impulsive superstar grew quiet for a minute, then phoned Ben privately. And when the cameras fired up, smile, like any girl who has finally decided to talk about her guy, her ring and a future full of dreams. Are you engaged?
>> Yes. It’s the most magnificent thing I’ve ever seen. I still look at it, kind of marvel at it. He said I just wanted you to have something that nobody else had.
Diane: If you were describing somebody who never met him, what would be the first thing you’d say?
>> If I had to describe him, I’d probably say that he’s brilliantly smart, loving, charming, affectionate. I just admire him in every way. You know what I seen in I respect him. I feel like he teaches me things.
Diane: You really thought he was one of the Hollywood —
>> Playboy types.
>> Skirt-chasers. He gets mad when I say that. We’ve talked about it so many times. And we talked about people see him with one type of person. And me with another type of person. And the two of us together. How did that happen? And we’re probably more alike and from the same kind of background and the same kind of upbringing and the same kind of family and house and all that stuff.
Diane: You went home to Boston. You met his mom.
>> I met his mom. I stayed at his house, which is just like my house in the Bronx. We spent hours. He took me everywhere all over Boston, to show me his history of his life. It was great. We had the best time.
Diane: And your parents like Ben?
>> Oh, god, may love — my mother loves Ben.
Diane: When momma loves him, that’s —
>> That’s good. I even told her, she never really likes anybody I’m with. So, be prepared. He was like, okay. But he — he won her over, in true Affleck fashion.
Diane: And everybody saw that you stopped by the church there.
>> Yes. We did stop by the church there.
Diane: So, “us” magazine thinks that’s where you’re going to get married.
>> We did stop by the church there, yes. We don’t have any plans to get married at that specific church at this specific time.
Diane: I was going say this is a deposition.
>> At this specific time, no comment. I don’t know. I don’t remember.
Diane: She did tell me they are planning a wedding a lot further off than anyone thinks. But wait a minute, when it comes to Jennifer Lopez and roman, what about all the skeptics who think she’s been way too eager to fall in love and has a history to prove it. By the way, she doesn’t disagree.
>> Because I am such an artist in that way, a flutter bug in that way, the idea of love and fairy tales and romance and all that is so appealing to me.
Diane: And it’s not just romance. At the age of 32, she’s already been married twice, to a model and the second one, dancer Cris Judd. That one, just a little more than a year ago. And the divorce is still not final. Why does she think it’s real with 30-year-old Ben Affleck, when her true love track record does not inspire confidence. Do you say to yourself, how could I be so wrong?
>> I think that — I think that. I don’t regret it. I feel like everything happens for a reason.
Diane: Your first marriage was 17 months, believe.
>> Not even. Maybe 10 or 11. I say I’ve been married twice but I haven’t had a marriage yet.
Diane: Because the second one was so short. You fell in love enough to get married.
>> This is not to take anything away from Cris or the wonderful man, who I loved very much. But I think it had more to do with me.
Diane: But we pressed her again — how can she be sure this one is real?
>> You’re asking me — you want to know how I feel, so, ite you. What I knew that what’s different this time is that I as just more scared, more scared. It was too powerful. And it was too this. It made me really — before, I had control of the things. So, I wasn’t afraid to kind of be in there, in the fire. The fir was far enough away that I could dance around in there. And this time, it was smothering me. And so hot, you know, that it was like, made me afraid.
>> Bigger and realer and y just — you just feel it. It’s something it’s a totally different than anything else you’ve ever experienced.
Diane: And can you wait to get married? How long can you wait?
>> We want to do it. But there’s no rush, at the same time. It’s something we would like to do as soon as possible. But we’ll take our time. And w plan right. ‘Ll do it where it’s good for all of our families, where it will be a really big celebration because, you know, I just want to do it right.
Diane: The real thing?
>> Yeah. I want to get married in a church this time. And I’ve never been before.
Diane: And was it a very traditional proposal?
>> It was traditional, but also, in a very spectacular way, as, of course, Ben would do it. You know.
Diane: Later, we’ll tell you more about the proposal and the night she called the most romantic night of her life. And these days, it seems Lopez is surrounded by transforming love stories. In the new movie, coming out December 13th, Lopez is a woman working hard and invisibly.
>> It was her job to go unnoticed.
Diane: When, in one moment of yearning, she tries on the beautiful clothes of a hotel guest.
>> What are you doing?
>> Not until you try them on.
>> I can’t try on her clothes. Hi.
>> I’m Chris Marshal.
>> Caroline. Want your coat?
>> The weather can be so tricky.
>> Are you going out?
>> Weren’t you saying how you wanted to stretch your legs?
>> If your husband wouldn’t mind.
>> She doesn’t have a husband.
>> I don’t have a husband.
Diane: Ray fines sees her and begins a busy case, as she races back and forth between the reality of single mom and maid, living in the Bronx, and fantasy. You say you knew this woman.
>> Because of where I’m from. Being Puerto Rican and from the Bronx. I’m still the same girl from the Bronx. It might sound like a lot of pull to people, but that really is the truth. I really am that same person.
Diane: Jenny from the block.
>> Jenny from the block.
I’m still jenny from the block.
Diane: “Jenny from the block” is her new song, being played everywhere. She is a legendary perfectionist tearing from recording set to movie set. Are you difficult?
>> No. I’m not.
Diane: Are you difficult to live with, to work with?
>> No, I’m easy.
Diane: And the diva thing, your own chef, your own sheets your own —
>> My own sheets. That’s a good one. At first I hated it. I really hated it. I thought this is mean. Where do they get this from? I thought people around me were saying it. So, it really hurt me. You know what I mean? You try to get to the root of where it’s coming from. You know what? They chose me and I’m going to have to go with it. It’s because I do like the glamor. And I do like the fancy clothes and the pretty coats.
Diane: How much fun is it to buy anything you want?
>> Fun. It’s fun. I was the girl with the hole in her shoes. So, yes.
>> Yes. Yes. We really didn’t have a lot of money. I had the holes in the sneakers. I had the holes in the sandals.
Diane: Were you embarrassed?
>> Hell, yeah. I was embarrassed. But like anybody else, I didn’t dwell on it, but it existed. When mom had money, she’d go out and get you what she could. Bills, I knew the “bills” when I was 2 because it was always about the bills. We he to pay the bills. Did you pay the bills? We have to pay the bills. Bills, bills, bills. Everybody out there goes through it. That’s how I grew up. Now, to be able to have, l, a closet full of designer shoes for me, I will never get over it. Ly be 60 years old, I will walk into the closet, I’ll look at the shoes and be like “yay.” I’ll be happy. I’ll look at my nice coat and go yes. It’s a joy for me. And it’s a joy to give it to my family. And it’s a joy to share it with people I love. You know, it’s one of the great things about it. I’m not going to lie. It’s great. It’s great to have a house that you feel like your family can come to.
Diane: And for Ben, a car. He gave her a diamond bracelet, and a lesson about love and laughter at the white hot center of publicity. They are photographed relentlessly, like some exotic species on a 24-hour celebrity nature channel.
>> It’s not just about love. It’s about being in the public eye when you’re in love and going through relationships.
Diane: The day we talked, the people in the paper took a shot at her scarf.
>> I was like, you don’t like my scarf. Come on, man. It’s supposed to be long.
Diane: Do you know the cameras are there?
>> It depends. A lot of times they will catch us. We’ll see them — is that a camera across the street, underneath that car?
Diane: And Affleck is so determined not to take it all too seriously. He decided, in another way, to flirt with the line between the truth and the tabloids. He’s in the video?
>> I really kept asking him, are you sure you want to do this? Are you sure? He said, I’ll be in the video. He’s never really done anything like this before. Hasn’t been around somebody making an album. He was so supportive
and so, kind of like right there. I mean, he is my part, he is my best friend. We talk about everything and support each other to the end.
Announcer: Jennifer takes Diane back to the old neighborhood, where the dreams were born.
>> Your room was up here?
Announcer: And then, candles and romance, the night Ben proposed.
>> It was the best day of my life. It was just amazing. I couldn’t believe it.
Announcer: When “primetime” returns. Xw
>>> We continue, now, with Diane’s exclusive interview with Jennifer
Lopez. Hers is a story of powerful ambition, the kind of drive that can propel a girl out of the Bronx, toward the stars. Even if she never stopped being that girl from the old neighborhood. And now, she takes Diane back to her block.
I’m still jenny from the block
used to have a little now, I have a lot
>> That big white building, you see it?
Diane: We’re driving out of the neighborhood. She’s on the phone with Ben periodically. How many times do you talk on the phone a day? Pointing out San Francisco her childhood.
>> This is my church. This is where I went to church every Sunday.
Diane: We go to her old school. Meet one of her old teachers.
>> This used to be my sixth grade teacher.
Diane: Did she pick up some great moves?
>> This is a big piece of pizza.
Diane: And the girl with the big appetite for life showed me the house where she used to live. Your room was up here?
>> My room was in the back. This is the house where I grew up.
Diane: She called her first album, “on the 6.” That’s the train from Manhattan to the Bronx. The Bronx, where she was a little girl with her nose pressed up against the window of the big apple.
>> Getting on the train and coming down to Manhattan was a big deal. My dad worked in the city. My mother would be we’re going to meet your dad for lunch. We’d meet him in the cafeteria of this office building. It was really no big deal, but my mother would dress us up, all three of us. Matching outfits and the whole thing to go see my dad and walk in the city and look around at all the tall buildings. That, for me, was something to aspire to. I want to be part of this world.
Diane: Was it to be famous.
>> It wasn’t to be famous. It was just to have an exciting life, in a way, maybe.
I’m real, yeah
Diane: So, she started dancing and singing. But her dreams were so audacious they even gave her pause.
>> Nobody in my family, or in the vicinity of where I grew up, in a 100 million block radius, had ever thought about what I was doing.
Diane: She had a high school boyfriend, and for one moment, thought about reining in her ambition. I.
>> I went to my dad one day. I said, are you happy? And he was like, yeah, I’m happy. I mean, are you happy with your life, you know, being married and working, you know, 9:00 to 5:00. And he was like, you’re already thinking of settling down. And that struck me. And I was like, no. And that really stayed with me. It stayed with me, I mean, until this day, I think about it. Because he was like, there’s so much more out there for you. And I worked hard for you to have that.
Diane: How close did you come to just getting married and having the kids?
>> I thought about it. I thought about it. It was just that day. Not that close, I guess.
Diane: What happened next was the explosive combustion of girlishness and grit. She started as a street-wise fly girl, on the comedy show, “in loving color.” More Latina moxy on a bit part in a short-lived TV series. But overtime, it became clear that underneath the hair and makeup, lived a sleek show stopper.
For tonight when you would be here in my arms
Diane: She now commands multimillion dollar deals for movies. Like her new one where she place a single mom in the Bronx.
>> What we do does not define who we are. What defines us is how well we raise after falling.
Diane: Who reminds her character is built on many things. Her mentor in the hotel says it’s not who you are but how you pick yourself up when you’ve been knocked down. That is the measure of what —
>> After you fall.
Diane: The measure of what you’re going to become. And I’m not sure how much you got knocked down.
>> I think — well, I’ve been — ve had my share of knockdowns. I think it’s for the 10 or 15 movies that I’ve done. And the three tv shows. There were about 50 auditions between. I could have taken the wrong road at any minute.
Diane: What do you mean?
>> You get out there and you have to live with four people in a house, one bedroom. And it’s insane. You know, you eat pizza every single day, for every single meal because it’s only $1. There’s a lot of drugs around. And everybody drinks. And I never got into that stuff.
Diane: Why not?
>> Just never did. I think I should thank my mother right now. Thank you, mom. She really instilled in us that that stuff w just like, el. You know what I mean?
Diane: It must have been tempting at some point just to try some of the stuff.
>> No. I was Terri.As really — I had guardian angel watch over me.
Diane: Over her, a guardian angel, inside her, the heart of a mogul.
>> That’s what’s so great about it.
Diane:It’s almost nuclear energy, she races from studio, to movie set, to the red carpet. Is there a moment you thought you looked the best, the most like you?
>> There’s a couple of things that I loved. I loved the year at the
Oscars, where had this black ball gown on. That was the first time I felt like a princess. And one time at the ama awards and I had a pink dress on that I loved. It fit my body just right. And my hair was sufficiently light brown at the time. Everything comp plummeted each other. I had the right earrings on. I thought, that was a nice picture.
Diane: And what was your worst?
>> There was one where I looked so horrible. I had on a white hat, which I loved, I wear it all summer. And I had on this poochie dress. And it was the ugliest thing that ever was in the world. “Oh, my god. I look horrible.”
Diane: Don’t be fooled by girlish talk of fashion. She also has her own line of perfume. A line of clothing she’s struggling to get off the ground. And a restaurant. How many nights do you fall dead asleep exhausted?
>> Every night.
>> Every night. I get too tired, I guess cranky and tired.
Diane: Her antidote, she says, is stopping to g grateful, at least once every day.
>> If I get cranky in the morning or something like that, I just — I hate that. I hate when other people do it. I don’t like to see it in myself. And I can’t be perfect all the time. But I know I can be a good person all the time. At least I can try, you know.
Diane: Once again, we wondered if Lopez can be so disciplined in work, if that counts with her roller coaster history with guys. Sh talks about the month she spent in heart breaks, from bad relationships to the guy that cheating on her.
>> Relationships where you feel like, why am I here? What is going on? This is early, before I was famous. Before I was in the public eye at all.
When I first left the house and, you know, needed a place to stay. And someone kind of just, you know — not that they don’t care about you, but it’s the wrong kind of thing pip was lucky. I never got physically abused or anything like that. But, you know —
Diane: Is this the one you were talking about who cheated on you and treated you horribly and you struck it through?
>> No. Not that one. That was another one.
Diane: And what about Sean Combs, Puffy, P. Diddy, the man who courted controversy, if not danger. He always seemed to be the one in control. We wondered looking at the girl on the red carpet, who was she? Was she afraid?
>> No. I don’t think she was afraid, I just think that i, at that time, was — cared very deeply for Sean. You know, we just didn’t have the same ideals about life and family and stuff like that. Just wasn’t a good relationship for me. It didn’t have as much to do with him as it had to do with me at the time. I had to learn to care about myself a little bit more. And put up certain boundaries of what I would accept and wouldn’t accept. Because, really, she was just being himself. He wasn’t doing anything wrong. He felt like he loved me very much. And I know he did. And I felt the same way. If I was unhappy in some way, then I was the one who had to do something, not him. He was doing everything he wanted to do.
Diane: After the nightclub shooting, so much in the headlines, Lopez stayed with Sean Combs for a year. But just three months after she left him, she became engaged to dancer Cris Judd.
>> You can love somebody but it’s — you cannot work out sometimes. And that’s a harsh reality for a die-hard romantic like myself to face.
Diane: She says, not only was it an uncertain time for her —
>> Being in such a crazy life and needing a sense of security —
Diane: — But, she adds, she had also giving up hoping for the kind of magic you see in movies.
>> I had gotten to the point where I didn’t think that was going to happen for me. Cris, specifically, provided a rare sense of calm in my life they needed desperately at that time. And I think I provided something he needed at that time, as well.
Diane: A and she says she wants to make it clear that Ben Affleck did not break up her marriage. She said she and Chris had come back from a trip that made it clear to her that it would not last. Affleck, she says, was really just a friend, even if no one believes it.
>> My last marriage made me very cautious to kind of fall in love with anybody. And I — it seems like that to people. But too bad. And I feel like, in the beginning, I was having the opportunity to become friends for a very long time, without any romantic thing at all, was a very big plus for us.
Diane: And there’s one more thing — just today, Ben Affleck e-mailed me back. When I wrote him to ask if there’s anything he’d like to say. Here’s what he wrote. He says that her new movie is extraordinary. And her new album?
Glad you came into my life
Diane: Someone said love is friendship set to music. On her new album, Lopez wrote a song for Affleck. No flowering words, just an everyday feeling — glad. And it turns out he inspired the title of her album, too. She was worried and he told her to have faith in herself.
>> And I actually had a really, you know, long conversation with Ben about it. He was, like, you know, this is your music. And it’s great. An it’s who you are at this time. Said, yo know, 20 years from now, when, you know, you show this to your kids or whatever, you know what I mean? You can say this was me. This is who I was. This is what I shood for. As I thought about that, that stuck in my head. I didn’t tell him right then, but later on, I said I think I’m going to name the album, “this is me then.” It will represent to me the time in my life when I started to figure things out and get it right. Really started — who I was and what I needed. The real sense of self you don’t get until you get older.
Announcer: A fairy tale proposal. The night Jennifer will never forget.
>> And I start sobbing.
Announcer: All the romantic details when “primetime” returns.
Announcer: In the “primetime” spotlight, two megastars, Jennifer Lopez, whose new movie “maid in america” opens mid-december, tells all about the night Ben Affleck proposed.
>> He opens the door and it is just a blanket — quilt of rose pedals, all over the whole, entire house.
Diane: Someone said that love is like coming home to a place you never really left. And in every love story there’s at least one time you know you’ll never forget. Well, now, Jennifer Lopez takes us back to the night Ben Affleck proposed to her, what she calls the most romantic and beautiful night of her life.
>> He, you know, took me back to his house, his house he grew up in. And it was really funny because, I was like, you know, I really want his family to like me and everything. I had met them. We’re all getting to know each other. I was like, I don’t know if they like me. He was like, you’re crazy. He’s like, you’re insane. So, we go back and we’re just supposed to basically just spend the weekend with his family. And then, when we got there and we go to walk in the house and we drive there, he was a little nervous, but I didn’t know why. And he kept calling and saying things like, you know, how much I love you. And you know how much I want to — all this stuff and I was — yeah. It was a little too much during the day. And I was like, what is going on? Finally, we get to the house and we walk in. That was another thing. He said how the house was going to be a mess and that they would probably have pizza for us. I said stop it. I grew up just like you did. It’s fine. So, we walk up to the house and I see like little candles up the stairs. Eni thought, look how cute, his mom must have heard that I like candles or something from the tabloids. So, she put them up the stairs. Isn’t that sweet? And he opens the door and it is just a blanket– a quilt of rose pedals all over the whole, entire house. And just everything was so — so many candles and vases with bouquets. And my song, “glad” was playing. And I walk in and I’m just like overwhelmed. Like I wasn’t expecting it. And I was like, oh my god. How did he do this? Because we were in Philadelphia, working. And I was like, who did this? And he was like, my mom helped me do it. And I start sobbing. “Oh, my god.” And it was the most — it was the best day of my life.
Diane: Did he know what you’d say?
>> I’m sure. Yeah. Well, it was funny because, you know, he had written this letter which he said was really too long. He didn’t realize how long until he started reading it and I was crying a lot. And he’s reading it and telling me all the stuff he wanted to tell me. At the end, he said, “Will you marry me” and I was like — he had the ring out. But I didn’t want to look at the ring because I could tell it was pink. I was like — it can’t be pink on top of it. It was too much for me to handle. Baby, look, I can’t. I can’t. You know, and he’s like, look at it. And I looked at the ring and — oh, my god. It is the most magnificent thing. And he’s like, you haven’t answer med. Oh, yeah. Yes, yes. I had cried a lot over sadness, over the years. You know what I mean? And things that had gone wrong in relationships that didn’t work out. And for the first time in my life, I cried an incredible purging of tears of happiness. And it was the most cleansing feeling and the most wonderful feeling I ever had. It was the best day of my life.
Diane: How are you going to do the two careers now?
>> We have the next, almost year planned out already, of who he’s doing, what I’m doing. Where we’re goi to go with each other. Who’s going to not work at this time and stuff like that. And you really have to plan your life that way if you want to have a relationship in this business, where you are working — both of you are working so much. And it’s going to be compromise. There’s going to be sacrifice. But what you gain in return is so much more fruftful and beautiful than a day on the set can be.
Diane: And when I asked about a prenuptial agreement, she told me they never even talked about it. In a sense, Jennifer Lopez has come full circle. Brand new dreams for a girl who dreamed her way out of the Bronx all those years ago. What about to the girl dancing in that video that we’ve all seen?
>> I was so hopeful and full of life and full of dreams and aspirations. I would probably say to her, hang on, it’s going to get beer. It’s going to be okay.
Diane: How important is it to you to have children?
>> Very. Very. I think at some point, that will be my true grounding, you know what I mean? Being the kind of gypsy I’ve been my whole life, which has been great and fun. But I think at the end of the day, to have a big house and be by yourself in it is not really the move. It’s more about filling that house up with a lot of love and a lot of family. Sounds corny but it’s just so true.
Diane: Is that what you dream about the moment before you go to sleep?