With her sold-out Las Vegas show and sizzling new love with baseball legend Alex Rodriguez, Jennifer Lopez is on top of the world. But back in 2003 that was far from the case. Her latest film, Gigli, became one of the biggest box-office flops in recent memory — instantly becoming a punch line for late night comedians — and her relationship with Ben Affleck disintegrated soon after. In a new interview with Vanity Fair, the 48-year-old multifaceted star opens up about that difficult time.
After becoming the first Latin American actress to earn a seven-figure film salary (for 1997’s Selena), Lopez felt immense pressure to “do something great all the time.” Instead, the critical panning Gigli received left her devastated and doubting her own abilities.
“I was eviscerated,” she says now. “I lost my sense of self, questioned if I belonged in this business, thought maybe I did suck at everything.”
Further complicating matters, the film costarred Affleck, her fiancé, and the pair were on the verge of ending their engagement and splitting for good. “My relationship self-destructed in front of the entire world. It was a two-year thing for me until I picked myself up again.”
She’s since moved forward with her career — and her love life. Having split from husband Marc Anthony in 2012, she found romance again with A-Rod earlier this year.
“We are very much twins,” Rodriguez told Vanity Fair of his girlfriend. “We’re both Leos; we’re both from New York; we’re both Latino and about 20 other things.”
Lopez agreed. “I understand him in a way that I don’t think anyone else could, and he understands me in a way that no one else could ever. In his 20s, he came into big success with the biggest baseball contract [at the time]. I had a No. 1 movie and a No. 1 album and made history. We both had ups and downs and challenges in our 30s, and by our 40s we’d both been through so much. And more importantly than anything, we had both done a lot of work on ourselves.”
This article originally appeared on PEOPLE.