Commentary: Jennifer Lopez deserves better than Alex Rodriguez


By AGENCY

Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez announced their breakup on April 15. Photo: Reuters

Acting. Singing. Dancing. Jennifer Lopez can do it all.

And she can do better when it comes to men.

The Bronx-born entertainment powerhouse is unattached again after she and Alex Rodriguez announced Thursday (April 15) that they’ve ended their engagement — apparently for real this time.

The coupling of J-Lo and A-Rod was tabloid catnip. They were two powerful, beautiful, crazy-rich A-listers with cool nicknames that blended perfectly together — in whichever order you placed them. A-Lo would have worked, but the preferred portmanteau had to be J-Rod.

That’s because Lopez deserved to come first.

In 2004, that would have sounded crazy. When Washington Heights native Rodriguez came home to play for the Yankees in a trade, it was A-Rod’s world. He was thought of as the best player in baseball, a transcendent, telegenic talent headed to the Hall of Fame, with a chance to rewrite the record books and become beloved with the most storied franchise in North American sports.

But it never happened. Derek Jeter, who had been buddies with Rodriguez, wouldn’t budge off shortstop, forcing A-Rod to play third. Yankees fans sided with their beloved captain over the interloper. And when the Yankees became the first team in baseball history to blow a 3-0 playoff series lead — to the hated Red Sox no less — A-Rod became of the face of failure, with his picture accompanying a Daily News headline reading “THE CHOKE’S ON US.”

As his career continued, Rodriguez’s marriage broke up. Before a series in Boston in 2007, reports surfaced that he had cheated on wife Cynthia with a blonde. Some rowdy Red Sox fans showed up with masks of blond women leading to another humiliating front page: “THE CURSE OF THE BIMBINOS”

The one time Rodriguez truly was a Bronx Bomber when it mattered was when he led the Yankees to the 2009 World Championship by belting six homers in the postseason. But the title came in a year when A-Rod admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs, swearing he had done so only from 2001-03, while with the Texas Rangers. Yankees fans fondly recall the heroics of CC Sabathia and Hideki Matsui from 2009. A-Rod doesn’t get that kind of love.

The disgrace continued when he was suspended for the 2014 season over his “use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including Testosterone and human Growth Hormone, over the course of multiple years” and “attempting to cover-up his violations of the Program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the Office of the Commissioner’s investigation".

Despite his 2009 heroics, there are two lasting images of him as a Yankee. One is swatting the ball out of the glove of Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo in the 2004 ALCS, for which he was rightly called out. The other is his famous walkoff against the Mets, when he hit a seemingly game-ending pop-up that was dropped by the Mets’ Luis Castillo. There was A-Rod, accepting high-fives and basking in the moment of hitting a can of corn that Bad News Bear Timmy Lupus could have caught easily.

Does J.Lo really need all that? No, and she shouldn’t settle. For all her career success, she has yet to find her soulmate. She was married to Ojani Noa from 1997-98, Cris Judd from 2001-2003 and Marc Anthony from 2004-2013, with whom she had twins Emme and Max. In between, she had relationships with Sean “P. Diddy” Combs — who disgraced her with a gun, leading to her arrest — and Ben Affleck — who disgraced her with a bomb, Gigli.

Lopez doesn’t need more relationship problems, especially not from Rodriguez. A-Rod star’s fell a long time ago. He left the field in 2016, a shell of himself, and went to the broadcast booth, where he describes others doing when he no longer can. His attempt to recapture relevance and buy the Mets with Lopez last year ended when the team was sold instead to billionaire Steve Cohen.

A-Rod again couldn’t measure up to Jeter, who owns the Miami Marlins, and settled for the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves as a consolation prize.

And while A-Rod is finished at 45, Lopez is still on top at 51. Many actresses bemoan the lack of work past age 40. But Lopez responded with 2019′s Hustlers, which got her multiple award nominations and glowing reviews, as she showed acting chops that will serve her well later in life.

She followed it up with a sizzling set at the Super Bowl halftime show in 2020, sparkling alongside Shakira. J.Lo’s still got it — everything but the right guy.

“Bennifer,” her relationship with Affleck, didn’t endure, and neither did J-Rod. But there’s still a chance for her to find a mixed moniker AND lasting love. –Joe Erwin/New York Daily News/Tribune News Service

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