The superstar spoke out for the latest cover of Vogue.
We’ve known her as J.Lo, Jenny from the Block, and simply Jennifer Lopez, but now she’s legally Jennifer Lynn Affleck — and she doesn’t care if anyone has a problem with that.
Lopez and her partner Ben Affleck finally tied the knot back in August after an on-again-off-again courtship that dates back to 2003, and as part of her matrimonial bliss, Lopez officially took her husband’s name. Some observers questioned what kind of cultural message the choice sent, but the criticism doesn’t faze the global superstar, she told Vogue in a new interview for the fashion bible’s December cover.
But before we get to Lopez’s response, let’s explain where the critique came from. Her Vogue profile specifically references a New York Times opinion column by novelist Jennifer Weiner, titled “Why It Matters That J. Lo Is Now J. Aff.” The piece examines the popularity of women taking their husbands’ names, which remains very high (only about 20 percent of women have held onto their maiden name in recent years, the column explains) but also interrogates the significance of such a widely recognized person leaving her old name behind.
“Ms. Affleck may be surrendering to the power of love with this, her fourth marriage. But given the cringe-y history behind the practice, a woman taking her husband’s last name feels to me like a submission — a gesture that doesn’t say ‘I belong with him’ so much as ‘I belong to him,'” Weiner wrote. “And at this fraught moment for feminism in America, a woman like the former Jennifer Lopez deciding to change her name feels especially dispiriting.”
Asked about this take by Vogue, Lopez seemed to not be aware of the column at all, but she also defended her decision to change her name: “People are still going to call me Jennifer Lopez. But my legal name will be Mrs. Affleck because we’re joined together. We’re husband and wife. I’m proud of that. I don’t think that’s a problem.”
Of course, keeping one’s maiden name or taking a husband’s name isn’t the only choice. In recent years, some couples — both celebrity and otherwise — have decided to flip the script. Men taking their wives’ name has become a bigger part of the marital menu, and there’s always the option of a hyphenated last name that combines both identities. But Lopez told Vogue she didn’t have any interest in the idea of Affleck becoming “Mr. Lopez.”
“It’s not traditional. It doesn’t have any romance to it. It feels like it’s a power move, you know what I mean?” Lopez explained. “I’m very much in control of my own life and destiny and feel empowered as a woman and as a person. I can understand that people have their feelings about it, and that’s okay, too. But if you want to know how I feel about it, I just feel like it’s romantic. It still carries tradition and romance to me, and maybe I’m just that kind of girl.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Lopez discussed blending families, which includes her children with ex-husband Marc Anthony and Affleck’s with ex-wife Jennifer Garner, and she made it clear that her ideas about creating a harmonious union go beyond just herself and her new husband.
“What I hope to cultivate with our family is that his kids have a new ally in me and my kids have a new ally in him, someone who really loves and cares about them but can have a different perspective and help me see things that I can’t see with my kids because I’m so emotionally tied up,” she said.