Behind the Glow

Jennifer Lopez opens up about motherhood, Scientology, and a "nervous breakdown" that she's never publicly discussed.

Newly minted triathlete Jennifer Lopez has two new feature films in the works, a Disney ’tween series, a greatest hits album, and a globe-trotting fall schedule.

In a Beast exclusive, Kevin Sessums offers a snapshot of Lopez in a more contemplative mood this summer, four months after the birth of twins Max David and Emme Guadalupe.

When Kevin Sessums interviewed Lopez, who’s approaching 40, at the Long Island estate she shares with husband Marc Anthony, she looked as exhausted as any new mom: She’d caught a bug from her daughter and was feeling ill. But, ever the trouper, she agreed to go through with the interview anyway, opening up about Scientology (“the technologies that they have are very helpful”), breast-feeding (she didn’t), and a “nervous breakdown,” as she calls it, that she’s never publicly discussed. The interview was originally done for a major fashion magazine, which removed Sessums from the story after Lopez regretted some of her comments and asked that the story not be published. Below are excerpts—or click here for the full story from Kevin Sessums.

Click the image to launch the interactive.

J Lo on the Mommy Blues

“At the tenth day after giving birth all that chemical stuff did peak—that hormone thing—and I did cry a lot that day because I was having so much trouble moving. I couldn’t get up fast enough to feed the babies…Marc was helping out a lot and I was crying and crying and going, ‘Oh, Papi...they’re going to know everybody more than me…They’re going to love everybody more than me!’

On Her Breakdown

“I don't get nervous. I don't get depressed. Blah, blah, blah…There was a time when I was very overworked and I was doing music and movies and so many things. I was suffering from a lack of sleep. And I did have a kind of nervous breakdown. I froze up on a set. Well, not on a set, but in my trailer. I was like, ‘I don’t want to move. I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to do anything.’ It was on that movie Enough [in 2002]. Yeah. I did. I had a nervous breakdown.

“There were no signs leading up to it. You really don’t know what’s happening at first. I was going, ‘What’s going on?’ It was about five in the afternoon in my trailer and I just sat there. I remember telling my assistant at the time, Arlene, to go get the director, Michael Apted, and I asked if I could go home because I was feeling so sick and weird. I kept saying, ‘I’m not weak. I’m not weak.’ It’s funny what tricks your mind plays on you. I just didn’t want people to think I was falling apart. But when I look back on it now it’s so odd to me that those are the words I chose to say: ‘I AM NOT WEAK.’

“Michael let me off and when he left I just sat there and started crying and felt frozen. I didn’t want to move. My bodyguard, who had been with me for many years, picked me up and put me in the car and they took me to a doctor...Right away they want to give you pills. But I have never liked the idea of pills and kept saying no to that and just kept asking what was wrong with me. ‘I’ll tell you what’s wrong,’ the doctor said. ‘You’re sleep deprived. You’re overworked. Go home and go to bed.’ He told me to go back to work on Monday after a weekend of sleeping because if I waited longer that I would only get more panicked about working. So that’s what I did. I’ve still never been to a shrink. I’m not a shrinky person.”

On Scientology

Lopez’s father has been a Scientologist for more than 20 years, and she is frequently seen with converts including Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, and Leah Remini.

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“I do know a lot about Scientology. And I know about the practices. I know all about what the technology is and all that kind of stuff. It’s very helpful. So in a sense, yeah, you do call on it.”

“Do you consider yourself a Scientologist?”

“No…I wouldn't have a problem saying [I was] because I know what it is. I have no problems with it and it really actually bothers me that people have such a negative feeling towards it.”

“That it is too exotic? Too cultish?”

“Just negative feelings.”

“Would you consider schooling Emme and Max in a Scientology school?” “Yeah. I wouldn’t mind. Not at all. Because I know that the technologies that they have are very helpful…It’s all about communication. That’s the thing I really don’t like about talking about this. I do know so many great people who do do it, who choose it as a lifestyle and really follow it and it is their religion…I just wish that people wouldn’t judge it without knowing what it is.”

On Breast-Feeding

“Some people are radical about it. But to each his own.”

“If you had had only one child, would you have chosen to breast-feed?”

“’s not that...I’d rather not discuss it. It’s a whole other thing.”

On Selling Photos of the Twins for an Estimated $6 Million

“I think one of the reasons that the price went so high is that we didn’t want to do it for so long…We weren’t into it. I was like, ‘No, I don’t really want to. No. No way.’ But then it got to the point that you go, ‘Well, now you’re being stupid with these offers’…I thought I can set them up. I can put this away just for them.

“We gave a little bit and I saved the rest for them.”

“Don’t their parents make enough money? I mean, according to Forbes you’re the ninth-richest female working in show b usiness.”

“Hmmm…I wouldn’t believe everything I read.”

On Being Called a Diva

“I think I’ve always been a favorite to pick on. Once you have a lot of success, you become a target in many ways…I just think that the whole diva thing is a misrepresentation of who I am. I think some of that is because of where I came from. I came from the Bronx and a certain background. I worked really hard. I kept my focus on the right things. And still, even with that, they find stuff to pick on.”