Unraveling Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez’s Shocking Split
Yes, New York City’s unofficial first couple have called it quits. Marlow Stern and Kevin Fallon delve into why the news came as a surprise to many (even given ARod’s history).
Marlow: On Friday afternoon, Page Six—bless their hearts—broke the news that Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez, basically the Meghan and Harry of New York City, have called off their two-year engagement and opted for a conscious uncoupling. (The couple insisted on Saturday that they were together but “working through some things.”)
Kevin: The Meghan and Harry of New York City!? I’m just kidding. I love them. Well, loved them. RIP.
Marlow: I said what I said! And dropping this bombshell on a Friday—mere hours after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proclaimed that he was not resigning and chose to blame “cancel culture” for his heinous actions, which include covering up COVID nursing home deaths and allegedly sexually harassing and/or intimidating a large number of women—not only makes this a calculated move to bury the item from their camp, but also a particularly chaotic day in New York news. So, what do you make of it all?
Kevin: I have so many thoughts. First of all, that Page Six item begins by calling them J-Rod. Has that been a thing this whole time and I just didn’t know? I hate it. Nothing will beat Bennifer, so stop trying.
Marlow: I hate it too, and think they just cooked that one up? First I’ve heard of it.
Kevin: Though, if Lopez and Ben Affleck had Gigli to memorialize their breakup, what do we call this? I vote Aioli.
Kevin: In any case, you are absolutely right that this is a classic play to bury the news, in that it is Friday evening and I was on the way home to drink wine and watch Drag Race when you messaged me that this happened. I am J. Lo’s biggest fan and I hadn’t heard! I talk all the time about how dumb it is that we put any sort of weight or stock in celebrity relationships... and yet I put so much weight and stock in celebrity relationships. I can’t say whether these two were meant to be. Shockingly, I do not know either personally. But as a journalist who covers entertainment and celebrity culture, they MADE SENSE in a way that forced me to capitalize that phrase. And I think they knew it? Their whole relationship seemed to be a wink. Like, “Yeah, we’re Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez, obviously we’re together.” Does that make any sense?
Marlow: I think they made sense on the surface, and I’d be lying if I said they didn’t look cute together—even while staging this absolutely wild photo shoot at the Capitol not long after the Jan. 6 riot.
Kevin: LET’S GET LOUDDDDD! Jennifer Lopez basically said, “Here’s a link to my SoundCloud” while performing “This Land Is Your Land” at the inauguration, and I will never stop stanning it.
Marlow: She was wonderful. But I also think J. Lo, a cultural icon at the height of her powers, deserved far better than A-Rod, a retired ballplayer who’s never found a partner he didn’t want to cheat on, or a sport he didn’t want to cheat at.
Kevin: A friend just texted me how I’m doing (apparently I give off a vibe that a J. Lo breakup is incredibly traumatizing) and I tried to explain that one of the reasons that I care is, outside of wanting her to be happy, I just want the J. Lo brand to be Teflon. She’s such a magnetic entertainer and the years of criticism—her vocals are thin, her movies are slight—have overshadowed the fact that few live performers have her skill, and her acting is so often underrated. Another failed relationship just perpetuates the J. Lo tabloid gossip, and I don’t want that for her when she’s been proving herself so much. Anyway, here we are, just two dudes talking about J. Lo’s love life.
Marlow: I’m a huge J. Lo fan as well, and can personally attest to her being a singular entertainer having seen her Vegas show (incredible), where she dances like there is no tomorrow. As for the A-Rod of it all, from what I understand, there have been rumors of infidelity surrounding this breakup, with Alex Rodriguez reportedly getting flirty with Southern Charm reality star Madison LeCroy, FaceTiming each other and perhaps more (A-Rod has denied this). Whether this is true or not, it would certainly be in character for A-Rod, who has a long history of being unfaithful. Who can forget his messy split from his then-wife Cynthia, which involved a number of strippers coming out of the woodwork to say that they’d slept with the Yankees star while he was still married, and resulted in this terribly on-brand New York Post cover:
Kevin: Ordinarily, J. Lo and a Bravo show would make a Venn diagram that is extremely my shit, but this is not how I wanted it to happen!!! While I do spend every waking moment watching Bravo, Southern Charm is actually the one show I do not partake in. But there is actually a surprising amount of information out there on the record about this scandal, considering how famous the parties involved are. LeCroy has said that they have DM’d and spoken on the phone, but clarified they never met in person.
Marlow: Is it pronounced “la croy” or “la kwah?” (Sorry.) I’m also old enough (and Us Weekly’d enough, apparently) to remember A-Rod’s rumored “affair of the heart” with Madonna that People magazine claimed was “the last straw” in his marriage to Cynthia. And in an incredibly bizarre turn of events, another disgraced/steroid-using former baseball star, Jose Canseco, predicted the A-Rod and J. Lo split two months ago on Twitter. (If you recall, Canseco very publicly accused A-Rod of cheating on J. Lo with his ex-wife, Jessica, who denied this.)
Kevin: I did not recall that and I hate that I know it now! It’s interesting that this officially broke in the news when they both are so removed from normal life. Lopez is in the Caribbean shooting the rom-com that she narrowly escaped being sexually eaten by Armie Hammer to film and Rodriguez is, according to Page Six, “in Miami getting ready for baseball season,” whatever that means for someone who doesn’t play baseball anymore.
Marlow: Tanning, maybe?
Kevin: But speaking of Page Six, I want to focus on a few details that jumped out at me. First, they give space to Lopez talking about how they saw a therapist during the pandemic, and any effort given to normalizing that is worth celebrating to me. It also said that they flipped a Miami home together with Chip and Joanna Gaines. If you thought “J. Lo and Bravo” was a Kevin Fallon Venn diagram, get ready for the “J. Lo and Fixer Upper couple” one. I need a seven-part docuseries on every interaction the four of them had. But also, the article reminded me of their attempt to buy the New York Mets. I know about this because it was the last thing my family and I had in common: They watch sports and are Mets fans, I am gay... which is to say, J. Lo. What will I talk to my family about now?
Marlow: I would highly recommend Netflix’s Marriage or Mortgage. Very pleasant viewing experience and discussion fodder.
Kevin: And something that is perhaps more important: How do you think it will affect their careers? I said before that I hate that we put so much stock into celebrity relationships, but, especially now, it is part of why they are celebrities. I didn’t necessarily ask for Jennifer Lopez’s YouTube channel to include professionally shot footage of Rodriguez and their respective children having Sunday breakfast together. But I did watch it as if it were Citizen Kane. They invested in each other’s careers. More importantly, though, they are two Latinx celebrities who invested in themselves. People salivated over their relationship because it was worth salivating over. They each hold immense talent, and they’re each incredible business people. I was almost more invested in that part of it than the baseball player meets Hollywood A-lister thing. What does all of that look like now? Aside from the ghouls from the Hollywood Foreign Press asking insensitive questions during the inevitable Shotgun Wedding junket at a Caribbean hotel?
Marlow: They appeared happy, and like the sort of couple that pushes each other toward greater professional heights, and I think that made a lot of people feel invested in (and root) for them. But we, the gossip-imbibing public, have a tendency to over-romanticize these A-list couplings based on a heavily-curated series of snippets, be they red carpet interviews, Instagram posts, or paparazzi pics, because I think we want to believe that these picture-perfect storybook romances exist, when in reality, many of them are an illusion. I still see folks sharing photos of Johnny Depp and Kate Moss on Instagram, since they conjure feelings of the halcyon ‘90s, even though we have no idea if that was a pleasant or fraught situation. And as you said earlier, I just hope this doesn’t ruin any of her shine and hope that she finds happiness. These are difficult times for any couple, let alone one so trapped in the public eye.
But ultimately, I think J. Lo, the forever-icon of the two, will be fine, and A-Rod will probably date a fitness influencer or something. A-Rods come and go but J. Lo is forever.