They were America’s hottest power couple, striding atop the worlds of celebrity, business and fashion — but the epic love affair between Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez started off with an awkward text.
“You look sexy AF,” the retired Yankee player reportedly wrote to the pop diva while stepping away from the table during their first date in Beverly Hills in 2017.
“I had to get up and go readjust my thoughts,” A-Rod told Vanity Fair about what went through his mind before sending such a note.
“I went to the bathroom and got enough courage to send her a text.”
JLo told the publication that she didn’t have much time to consider A-Rod’s attempt to pitch woo — because something happened that would be a pretty apt metaphor for the rest of their relationship.
“The (restaurant’s) fire alarm went off, and we had to evacuate,” Lopez told the magazine.
From the start, the pair’s love affair would be unlike any other — and no one was made more aware of that than A-Rod himself.
“Whatever you do, you cannot mess her around,” a longtime friend of the retired MLB star told him, soon after he hooked up with Lopez.
“I said, ‘This lady is like American royalty,” the friend recalled for the Post. “Whatever happens, you cannot treat her badly. If you split up for any reason, she has to be the one to dump your ass!’ It’s a lot of pressure on someone to date Jennifer Lopez! But they both fell in love.”
Known to all as J-Rod — the duo used social media to chronicle their every move, from lavish vacations to private jet rides.
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Even their finances got intimately entwined.
The couple reportedly purchased a $US40 million waterfront home on Star Island in Florida last summer.
They also flipped a Miami home with help from Chip and Joanna Gaines and bought and sold a Manhattan penthouse.
Last summer, they tried unsuccessfully to buy the New York Mets together, losing a bidding war to billionaire Steve Cohen.
They’re also both backers of fitness brand TruFusion.
When they announced their engagement — complete with a $2.3 million ring — on the private resort of Baker’s Bay in the Bahamas in March 2019 it seemed they were on their way to joining the pantheon of married celebrities like Beyoncé and Jay-Z, and George and Amal Cooney.
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However, by early 2021, the couple still had not set a date.
It turns out they had spent “95 per cent” of the pandemic together, according to the source who knows them.
During that time, they went to couples counselling, JLo revealed in a magazine interview.
“It has been actually really good. We got to work on ourselves. We did therapy,” she told Allure. “I think it was really helpful for us in our relationship.”
Despite the therapy, A-Rod’s friend’s warning proved prophetic, as rumours of the big leaguer playing the field with another woman wreaked havoc on the relationship.
In March of this year, stories linking A-Rod to Southern Charm star Madison LeCroy started surfacing.
LeCroy revealed they had been FaceTiming, but insisted they had not met in person.
Nevertheless, JLo was furious and “embarrassed” by her man being mixed up with a random reality TV star, sources said.
In March of this year Page Six first reported that, in large part because of the LeCroy incident, A-Rod and JLo had called it quits.
The leak of their relationship troubles caught the Jenny From the Block singer, who was in the Dominican Republic making her new film Shotgun Wedding, unaware.
She was “all alone, she didn’t have her kids with her, she didn’t have any friends out there, she was devastated and there were a lot of tears,” a source said.
After the story broke, the couple hastily tried a last-ditch attempt to work things out with a weekend together in the Dominican Republic.
Their PR team also swung into overdrive and put out a statement claiming news of their split was “inaccurate.”
They were even spotted snuggling up and kissing for the cameras. The attempted reconciliation was genuine, sources said.
“I do think Alex tried to make it work, when he went down to the Dominican, it was not a charade … He was genuine,” said a source who knows the couple.
“I have no doubt that Jennifer was the one to control how it played out. She would have wanted to have the final say. The initial story caught her out and she likes to handle her own affairs.”
The couple finally confirmed on Friday that they were calling it quits for good.
We’re told that they had worked on an official split statement for days before it was given exclusively to J-Lo’s favourite outlet, The Today Show.
The statement read: “We have realised we are better as friends and look forward to remaining so. We will continue to work together and support each other on our shared businesses and projects. We wish the best for each other and one another’s children.”
A source added, “It was really important that they got a line in there about them continuing to do business together”.
One issue that signalled that the couple was coming apart was A-Rod’s recent decision to become an NBA team owner with a male friend and not his wealthy fiancee (JLo is worth about $500 million alone).
Days before they announced their break-up, A-Rod, who is worth almost $500 million himself, was said to be finalising a deal to purchase the Minnesota Timberwolves with buddy Marc Lore and not the pop diva.
“It was clear they had split when she wasn’t in the Timberwolves deal like she was in the Mets bid — maybe she didn’t want to move to Minnesota,” a source close to A-Rod revealed.
Sources said that, while the Timberwolves deal may have signalled trouble, they remain friends and plan to do other deals together. JLo, we are told, still has the ring.
“They will continue working in all of their business ventures together,” said another source. “They’ve always encouraged each other to dream big and go bigger.”
A source close to Lopez said she and Rodriguez wanted to keep the split simple for the sake of their children.
Three-times wed JLo has twins Emme and Max, 13, with her ex Marc Anthony. A-Rod is dad to daughters Natasha, 16, and Ella, 12, with ex-wife Cynthia Scurtis.
“Their kids have grown very close during their relationship, and for the kids they wanted to keep the split as simple as possible,” the source told us.
“Jennifer and Alex are two very busy people with big public lives.”
As for A-Rod, “he’s doing fine”, a friend says, while JLo is doing what J-Lo does best.
She is on the cover of InStyle magazine, where her exes Ben Affleck and Anthony pay tribute to her — with no A-Rod in sight.
This story originally appeared on NY Post and has been reproduced here with permission