Behind the exhaustively styled hair, the pink glossed lips and soaring black Christian Louboutin thigh-high boots, Jennifer Lopez is really just a mama's girl.
The superstar who fronts her own film, music and beauty empire promptly picks up when Guadalupe calls midway during a morning conversation.
"Hi, Mommy. I've been in interviews all day," Lopez says. "I was going to call you in a little bit. I'll call you in a little bit. I love you."
She smiles, shaking her head at her protective mother, who's checking in on Lopez and her grandchildren, Max and Emme, 4. "She's like, 'You haven't called me yet today.' It's 10 o'clock. Give me a chance!" Lopez says.
But Lopez is a mom herself, and she gets it. She's in the midst of interviews but says her "babies," as she refers to her son and daughter, have to fly back home today to attend school Wednesday while she remains in Manhattan to promote her latest film, Parker.
"I'm a workaholic. I love it and I don't see it as a negative thing. I don't see working and being productive as anything negative. You have to be fulfilled to be a great mom, to be a happy mom. I'd never let the work take over so much that I couldn't be there for my kids or be the mom they need me to be. I'm constantly worried about that. It's always right there," she says, tapping her head.
The past two years have been tumultuous for Lopez, 43, who netted a colossal $52 million last year and was named the most powerful entertainer by Forbes magazine.
In July 2011, she split from her third husband, Marc Anthony, the father of her twins. Later that fall, she began dating dancer Casper Smart. Last July, Lopez confirmed her exit from American Idol, where she had served as one of the celebrity judges, and promptly embarked on a world tour with her family and Smart in tow. And now she's back in front of the camera, playing a destitute divorce with a stagnant real estate career in the heist thriller Parker, co-starring Jason Statham as a master criminal. It opens Friday.
"When I did the movie, I had just decided to get divorced myself. I felt in that low place. It was the worst time in my life as well. This character was at the worst point in her life. I had that to use. Thank God I had that to use.
"It was therapeutic. I know exactly what that feels like. Getting out of bed every day and getting to work is such a job. I'm not the type to do Ambien or wine or pills. When you go to work, you can't be the person who puts that on everybody. You have to be professional."
Director is a fan, too
And that she always was, says director Taylor Hackford, who had known Lopez for years but had never worked with her. So he called her one day and told her that he and his wife, Helen Mirren, were fans of her on Idol, but that wasn't the version of Lopez he wanted in his film.
"I say that I'm doing a film starring Jason Statham and that I don't want the glamorous Jennifer Lopez. I want someone real and someone I know you are," Hackford says. "This character never gives up, and that's you. Jennifer is absolutely the real deal. She's an unbelievable worker. People have the sense that because she's famous that she's removed from the real world -- and she's not."
In fact, Lopez is surprisingly revealing about her own relationship troubles, many of them well-documented in the tabloids. "She's a real open person," Statham says. "She's fun. She finds a way to enjoy herself. She's full of beans, full of life. She's a cool chick. Salt of the earth, as we say in England.
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