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Jennifer Lopez is a triple threat

"Everything in life prepares you" for the next stage, says Jennifer Lopez, who has a new movie, a fragrance, and a CD in the works. What's fueling it all? A deeper-than-ever appreciation for what matters.
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On being a ‘muse’ …
“When we first got together, Marc wouldn't stop taking pictures of me. Marc and I were going through all the pictures the other day and he was like, ‘I'm going to put them in a book and call it Muse because you're the only person I ever take pictures of.’”

On parenthood …
“It totally changes your perspective on everything. There's nothing as huge as giving birth to another human being and having to be responsible for another life. There's you before kids, and there's you after kids — and they're not the same you. You don't come first anymore. There's somebody else you care more about than yourself.”

On her favorite styles …“I still slip into different styles very easily. I can be a little bit hip-hop in sweatpants and sneakers and a baseball hat. Or I can put on a head wrap and get kind of bohemian with glasses and a caftan. I can dress conservative '60s glamour, or I can go supermodern chic… I love all different kinds of things. I'm open. I think that's what makes it exciting to people. They don't know what I'm going to do next. Honestly, I don't know half the time.”

On marriage …“I'm still figuring it out as I go along. How do two totally different people come together and make one life and say they'll do it forever and ever? I mean, I've tried it. This is my third time. I don't even think I tried in my other marriages, which was immature and not knowing better. It's been a lot of hard experiences and a lot of ups and downs and a lot of mistakes. I believe that in life you learn through experience. I'm old enough to know now that relationships take work. That it's not an easy thing.”

On her upcoming album …

Michelangelo Di Battista

“The album is only halfway done. We'll see what it shapes up to be. I've had hit records and I've sold millions of albums. But it gets to the point where you're like, Why am I doing this? It should only express something that means something to me. Something I can leave behind that my kids can listen and go, ‘Oh, that's what my mom was about.’”

On her upcoming movie, ‘The Back-Up Plan’ …“I love watching romantic comedies, including the worst ones. It probably says a lot about me and who I am, but I love a fairy-tale ending. I knew that after taking off a couple of years to have the babies I'd come back and do one.”

On her work-ethic …“I've always been a bit workaholicky. It's hard for me to sit still.”

On her fears …
“I like the quiet, but I don't like the dark. We have everything on dimmers, so I kind of trick myself into the darkness. Marc always turns off the lights after he comes to bed. I'm usually sleeping — or he waits till I fall asleep and then turns them off.”

On her non-diva demands …“I don't want everything to be white. There was this rumor that I needed white flowers and white linens wherever I went: ‘Everything has to be white or she won't go in the room!’ That's not true.”

On her musical idol …“Barbra Streisand is my absolute idol. I love what she does. She's a singer, an actress, she went into directing — she does it all. I sang Streisand's ‘My Man’ to Marc at his 40th birthday party. It was a perfect song to sing to him. I even made him a recording so could play it in the car.”

Read more of Jennifer's exclusive interview in the September issue of InStyle on newsstands August 21.