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J.Lo on how the pandemic changed her priorities: 'I was on such a hamster wheel'

"I think one of the things that you realize is that we really needed to change a bunch of stuff about our lives," she said.
"It was a re-jigging kind of thinking, you know?" she said. "And realizing that there’s always time to sit down, take a minute, even for yourself."
"It was a re-jigging kind of thinking, you know?" she said. "And realizing that there’s always time to sit down, take a minute, even for yourself."TODAY Ilustration / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Like many of us, Jennifer Lopez and her family spent most of last year at home, "just nervous and uncertain about the future."

In an exclusive interview with TODAY, the singer and movie star opened up about her year in quarantine. The "Hustlers" star added that despite everything, she enjoyed her time at home with her fiancé, former professional baseball player Alex Rodriguez, and their blended family of her 12-year-old twins, Emme and Max, and Rodriguez's two daughters, Natasha, 16, and Ella, 12.

Lopez, 51, explained that the silver lining to the dark cloud of 2020 had been spending time with her family.

"I travel so much with my work and spend time away from my kids and this was such ... a treat to be home with them and have dinner with them every single night, put them to bed every single night and wake up with them," she said. "That part of it was so beautiful and kind of a blessing in disguise."

Lopez, who has postponed her wedding to Rodriguez as a result of the pandemic, added that she felt she'd learned a lot in the past year.

"It’s always during the hardest times you learn so much about yourself," she said. "I think one of the things that you realize is that we really needed to change a bunch of stuff about our lives."

Lopez explained that prior to the pandemic, she had been "working, working, working and not taking enough time for the really, really important things in life."

After being forced by COVID-19 to stay home, she realized how much she was missing out on.

"It was a re-jigging kind of thinking, you know?" she said. "And realizing that there’s always time to sit down, take a minute, even for yourself.

"I wouldn’t even take time for myself, to be honest. I was on such a hamster wheel."

Lopez performs during the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president on Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington D.C.OLIVIER DOULIERY / AFP via Getty Images

As Lopez begins to go back to work amid the pandemic, she said her kids are sad to see her leave — even if it's to perform for the president and the entire nation on Inauguration Day in Washington.

"I was like, 'Listen, I'll be gone but I'll be back the next day!'" she laughed.

During the inauguration last week, she performed "This Land is Your Land" and "America the Beautiful."

In her performance, Lopez sang “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” in Spanish before belting out a line from her 1999 classic: “Let’s get loud!" She ended her performance with “This land was made for you and me.”

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Besides her patriotic concert last week, Lopez has new music coming out this May. She's recorded an album for her upcoming romantic comedy, "Marry Me."

Her next gig, which starts in about a month, involves filming a movie in a "bubble."

"You gotta be adamant about the distance and the mask and the regular testing," she said. "It’s all part of it, for sure."

But as the COVID-19 vaccine slowly rolls out, Lopez is promoting a new campaign for the Well Health-Safety Rating, which is an evidence-based third-party designation to verify a building or space and is taking sufficient precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.

"We all want the communities to get back to business so we can start getting back to living the lives that we love," Lopez said. "And part of being able to do that is to help people get comfortable going into shared spaces."