Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez, who went public with their romance in May at the 2017 Met Gala, have spoken at length for the first time of how they began their relationship.
The singer-actress, 48, and the former Yankees slugger, 42, initially had met a dozen years ago at Shea Stadium, where Lopez’s husband at the time, singer Marc Anthony, was throwing out the first pitch at a Yankees-Mets game. Lopez and Rodriguez were photographed shaking hands.
Then last winter, Lopez says in a joint interview in the new issue of Vanity Fair she was lunching in Beverly Hills and saw Rodriguez. “I almost yelled out, ‘Alex,’ but I am the shyest person when it comes to things like that,” she told the magazine. When she saw him outside shortly afterward, “I could literally just have walked away. But I walk over and tap him on the shoulder and say, ‘Hey.’ ”
She had just come from shooting a promotional spot for her NBC drama “Shades of Blue,” in which real-life single mother of two Lopez plays a single-mother Brooklyn police detective. “So I’m dressed like my character, like a boy — Timberlands, jeans, curly short hair. He looks at me. I say, ‘It’s Jennifer.’ He says, ‘You look so beautiful.’ ”
He did remember their first meeting, she said, telling her, “Shea Stadium, during a Subway Series.”
Hours after reconnecting, Rodriguez phoned her for a dinner date. They met a few nights later at the posh Hotel Bel-Air.
“He was sitting there in his white shirt, very confident and manly, but then he was just so talkative!” Lopez said. “I think he thought I was going to be this loud person, but I’m not. I just listen. So he’s talking, talking about his plans, about how he had just retired from baseball, about how he saw himself getting married again, all these things you wouldn’t normally talk about on a first date. I don’t know if he thought it was a date. I thought it was a date . . . He was nervous, and it was really cute.”
“I didn’t know if it was a date,” Rodriguez agreed. “Maybe we were seeing each other at night because of her work schedule. I went in uneasy, not knowing her situation.” He knew, he said, that, “It would be incredibly productive for me to sit with one of the smartest, greatest women in the world . . . I thought it would be a win-win no matter what.”