Jennifer Lopez Says She and Ben Affleck Weren’t Trying to Recreate ‘Jenny from the Block’ Video

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When Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck were snapped by the paparazzi celebrating Lopez’s 52nd birthday on a yacht in St. Tropez last July, people were positively abuzz. Yes, it was exciting to see the newly reunited couple so happy together, but eagle-eyed fans had a theory: They were recreating the iconic scene from Lopez’s music video for her hit song “Jenny from the Block.”

While the two were indeed lying down and relaxing in the sun as they were 19 years ago in the video — and Affleck’s hand was similarly placed just so on her derrière over her bikini — the Marry Me star dispels the rumor.

“We were just on the boat! There was no recreation!” Lopez tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. “I was lying down. … It was a trip I like to take for my birthday, but no, we were not intentionally recreating it. I didn’t know there were paparazzi out in the middle of the ocean either!”

For more on PEOPLE’s cover story with Jennifer Lopez, listen below to our daily podcast on PEOPLE Every Day.

Lopez admits she found the rampant fan theory “funny,” and says she’s appreciated the affection she and Affleck, 49, have felt from the fans and public this time around.

After the couple, who first dated from 2002 to 2004 before calling off their engagement, reconnected last spring, they “had a little bit of fear,” says the star, acknowledging the circus that surrounded them in their earlier iteration. “Before we kind of put [our relationship] out there and we were naïve and it got a little trampled.”

RELATED: Jennifer Lopez on Happiness, Marry Me and Her ‘Beautiful Love Story’ with Ben Affleck

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This time, she says, “We both were like, ‘Wow, we’re so happy and we don’t want any of that to come into play again’. We’re older now, we’re smarter, we have more experience, we’re at different places in our lives, we have kids now, and we have to be very conscious of those things. We’re so protective because it is such a beautiful time for all of us.”

Nearly two decades later, things are different. “It’s beautiful the way it feels very different than it was years ago. … There’s more of an appreciation and a celebration for it, which is nice,” says Lopez.

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RELATED: Jennifer Lopez Introduces Marry Me Scene with Owen Wilson: Our ‘Differences Is What the Movie’s About’

“It was, ‘Oh wow, we’re not used to this and it’s really beautiful.’ But also we’re at a different point in our lives and who we were then and what we’ve done in our lives since then. … I think people know [now] that we’re artists who are going to be around for a long time and that’s nice and they appreciate that and respect that. I feel that and I appreciate that too.”

Lopez adds, “I think we were both very happy that people were happy for us.”

The performer can next be seen in the romantic comedy, Marry Me, in theaters and available to stream on Peacock Feb. 11.

For the full, exclusive interview with Jennifer Lopez — and more extraordinary love stories — pick up a copy of PEOPLE‘s new Love Issue, on newsstands Friday.

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