A mere five months ago, Jennifer Lopez inserted a line from her own song into the National Anthem and pouted on the steps of Washington’s Capitol Building in a glittering all-white ensemble, her arms draped over her then-fiance, Alex Rodriguez. It was the dawn of the Biden era. The world was rife with possibility. How young we were.
But the photo, it turns out, was taken somewhere during the last gasps of J-Rod, a two-year engagement between pop singer and baseball star that came to a stuttering halt in April after a series of denied split-up rumors. And now, we find ourselves deep in the trenches of a non-divorce divorce battle for tabloid supremacy, each victory won at the cost of a grainy paparazzi shot taken from inside a van, probably. Here is an appropriately chaotic timeline.
March 12, 2021: Page Six declares J-Rod “no more,” referencing a rumored FaceTime call A-Rod made in January with Madison LeCroy, the star of a show called “Southern Charm.” This woman claimed to have talked to Rodriguez on the phone, while Rodriguez’ alleged source declared, “He doesn’t know this woman.” Absolutely no follow-up questions.
March 13, 2021: Both parties announce via TMZ that they are merely “working through some things.”
April 5, 2021: Ben Affleck, J.Lo’s partner in early aughts mega-romance infamy, provides a particularly glowing quote about J.Lo’s work ethic for her InStyle cover story, in which Rodriguez is noticeably not mentioned. (If you thought they were just going for co-workers, nice try: her ex husband and sentient Drakkar Noir bottle Marc Anthony is quoted too.) This, it turns out, is how celebrities subtweet.
April 15, 2021: Having found the proper vehicle to announce their breakup, J.Rod release a joint statement to Today (decidedly more reputable) asserting that they came to the conclusion they are “better as friends.” And now the game is afoot.
April 30, 2021: It is revealed that J.Lo and Ben Affleck have reunited on a romantic chalet getaway. Page Six first catches wind of their daytime romps via J.Lo’s white SUV, which is seen dropping Affleck off at various Hollywood Dunkin Donuts locations. Okay, fine, it just dropped him off at J.Lo’s mansion. He’s also seen exiting her other, non-mansion home, shockingly not juggling iced coffees.
May 10, 2021: J Lo and Affleck are photographed returning from a “romantic getaway” wearing what looks like authentic Bostonian garb. While we have neither the time nor the stamina to dissect Affleck’s previous relationship, let’s just say the SUV spotting took place about four months after the infamous lifesize-cardboard-cutout-dumpster incident and one week after his brave attempt at using Raya.
May 23, 2021: The subsequent weeks entail a flurry of new relationship bait from Bennifer. Affleck, no stranger to the TMZ news cycle and the importance of investigative journalism, starts slyly slipping on a watch he wore in the early days of their relationship while visiting J.Lo in Miami. He accompanies J.Lo and her signature Starbucks cup to the gym.
May 23, 2021: A-Rod, meanwhile, is playing the slow game, strategically releasing Extreme Divorced Energy at frequent intervals. He declares on his Instagram story that “new levels are unlocking” for him “mentally, physically, and spiritually.” Perhaps he’ll start reading Goop.
May 25, 2021: A-Rod continues the “focusing on myself” approach, meeting with some executives from the NBA team he just bought in order to subtly remind everyone that he owns an NBA team. He is, for all intents and purposes, a man newly liberated—free to focus on work, and also to socialize with the governor of Florida (just the right amount of toxic).
May 28, 2021: J.Lo, though, knows you can’t keep dipping into the same pot for tabloid supremacy, even if that pot does contain one of the most famous relationships of this century. She sits down for a meal with her ex-husband Marc Anthony, mere days after poor Affleck ended his visit. Checkmate.
June 1, 2021: J.Lo keeps the buzz going back in L.A., where she nuzzles Affleck on the way to a dinner date. Solid work.
June 3, 2021: Affleck leaves J.Lo’s house emitting what can only be described as “we just smashed” vibes. His mussed hair speaks for itself.
June 5, 2021: J.Lo does some very serious school-touring in L.A., prompting TMZ to assume she’s planning to move herself and her children there to be with Affleck.
June 13, 2021, morning: A-Rod finally adds a little spice. In the middle of his hunt for a place to rest his weary, single head, he is caught leaving Katie Holmes’ building. Holmes has just finished her stint of dating a Normal Person, i.e. the chef at New York’s Ballato.
June 13, midday: A-Rod decides to hang out with his ex,, posting some workout photos with his ex-wife Cynthia Scurtis after apparently exercising for 54 days straight. The visit to Holmes’ building, according to the robust PR teams of both parties, is alleged to be a coincidence. In what’s become something of a pattern, a rep from A-Rod’s team said, “He’s never met her.” Does this man know anyone?
June 13, 2021 (evening): J.Lo delivers her coup de grace: a prolonged makeout sesh with the Man with the Back Tattoo, the first official confirmation that the two are, uh, entangling again. While a few questions remain (Who will keep the Parasite house? Is it sacrilege if J.Lo puts Dunkin Donuts coffee in her glittering Starbucks cup?), this is starting to look like it’s in the bag.