Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez's relationship all started with a simple yet life-changing tap on the shoulder. In their joint cover story for the December 2017 issue of Vanity Fair, J.Lo and A-Rod (aka J-Rod) shared the story of how they struck up a romance more than a decade after their first meeting.
"It was just one of those things where you feel compelled to do something you wouldn't normally do," Lopez said of her approaching Rodriguez while they were lunching at the same restaurant in Beverly Hills last winter. "I almost yelled out 'Alex,' but I am the shyest person when it comes to things like that," she said. "I could literally just have walked away, but I walk over and tap him on the shoulder and say 'Hey.'" Lopez said that she was dressed "like a boy," in character as NYPD Detective Harlee Santos for her show Shades of Blue, but Rodriguez took one look at her and said, "You look so beautiful."
Hours after their chance meeting, Rodriguez called Lopez and invited her to dinner. When they met up a few days later at the Hotel Bel Air, she asked if he remembered the time they had met on the field at a New York Mets game 12 years before. Though she told him, "You don't have to say you remember if you don't," he replied, "Shea Stadium, during a subway series."
"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." She continued, "I don't know if he thought it was a date. I thought it was a date. Then I knew he was nervous because he asked me if I wanted a drink. I said, 'No, I don't drink,' and he asked if I minded if he had one. He was nervous, and it was really cute."
Rodriguez confirmed that he was, indeed, nervous—but mostly because he wasn't sure about her relationship status. "I didn't know if it was a date," he said. "Maybe we were seeing each other at night because of her work schedule. I went in uneasy, not knowing her situation." Luckily, he said, "She told me around the third or fourth inning that she was single. I had to get up and go re-adjust my thoughts. I went to the bathroom and got enough courage to send her a text." The text, they reveal, said, "You look sexy AF."
Just as things were heating up, however, the restaurant literally started heating up. "It took a turn. The fire alarm went off, and we had to evacuate," Lopez said. "No, really. The fire alarm went off!" Despite the interruption, the first date went well, and the duo have been going strong ever since: They made their red carpet debut at the Met Gala in May, co-hosted a telethon to benefit Puerto Rico earlier this month, and are now reportedly house-hunting together.
J-Rod opened up about their relationship to VF even further. "We are very much twins," A-Rod, 42, said. "We're both Leos; we're both from New York; we're both Latino and about 20 other things." J.Lo, 48, echoed, "I understand him in a way that I don't think anyone else could, and he understands me in a way that no one else could ever." She explained: "In his 20s, he came into big success with the biggest baseball contract [at the time]. I had a No. 1 movie and a No. 1 album and made history. We both had ups and downs and challenges in our 30s, and by our 40s we'd both been through so much. And more importantly than anything, we had both done a lot of work on ourselves."