The M Interview: JLo rules small screen with new TV show
Superstar multihyphenate Jennifer Lopez insists she's not a robot like others say despite leading busy life as a singer, actress, American Idol judge and single mum
Being called a "fembot" isn't new to Jennifer Lopez.
The US singer, actress, reality TV singing show judge and superstar multihyphenate is talking about how the cast of her new TV police drama, Shades Of Blue, characterise her for having an extremely busy life.
"I was offered my Las Vegas residency and also they decided to bring American Idol back for another season. So all of it kind of happened at the same time.
"And the cast saw that I would be filming and then running off on the weekends and coming back.
"They started saying that I must be a robot, but I am not, I am human," she tells M at the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills with a laugh.
Lopez, as usual, is late for our interview, but when she appears, she is camera-ready as always, beautifully made up and wearing a blue Dolce & Gabbana dress.
In Shades Of Blue, which she stars in and executive produces, the 46-year-old plays Harlee Santos, a charismatic NYPD detective and single mother in Brooklyn.
Santos's tightly-knit group of police officers often break the law to protect their turf. When Santos is caught in the act, she is forced to turn on her colleagues and become an FBI informant to protect her daughter.
The show, which has been well-received among US audiences, marks Lopez's first proper acting gig on the small screen and earned an early Season Two renewal ahead of its Season One finale.
Also starring Ray Liotta and Drea de Matteo, Shades Of Blue premieres on Universal Channel (StarHub Ch 512) on April 12 at 9pm.
Lopez says: "I think about this year and launching Shades and launching my Vegas show and being on the last season of one of the biggest television shows that ever existed in America (American Idol) and I go 'how did this happen to me?'
"But I think it's just a focus on the work and wanting to be better as an artist but also as a person.
"And I think when you do that, you don't limit yourself. And I think when we limit ourselves in our own minds a lot, and I have battled that as well - like maybe I shouldn't do this or I can't do this any more and would I be able to do this in two years - and immediately I just go 'thank you for sharing, but no thank you'."
She grew up in The Bronx "around a lot of cops" and even dated a cop at one time, so she knew "a little bit" about the world of Shades Of Blue.
"Then when I got into the movies, I played a bunch of different cops over the years, so you research things and they stay with you."
She says: "In doing this character, it wasn't so much about the cop part as it was about people and the choices they make. Being a mum was probably the most defining thing for Harlee and it was really the crux of what she was struggling with in the first season. It was so difficult for me to play this character because she lies a lot."
And just when you think things could not get busier on the professional front, Lopez is also a single mum of eight-year-old twins, Max and Emme, her children with US singer and ex-husband Marc Anthony. The couple married in 2004 and split up in 2011.
She doesn't find raising them alone challenging "because they are my priority and so long as we are happy and healthy at home, then all of this other stuff, I can kind of do it and I can concentrate on it".
She adds: "It's not that it doesn't get tiring. Anybody who is a single mum who works a lot knows that. So that is always a juggling act.
"You wish that you could be there for them more, be present more... (that's) probably the hardest part."
But she realises she is luckier than the average working mother as she has help with the children and can take them to work with her and get to see them a lot.
On how she keeps them grounded despite their privileged lives, Lopez says: "I think kids do what you do, not what you say.
"They see me work a lot, so I hope that they pick that up, because I want them to be able to work for what they want and not think that everything is going to be handed to them.
"That's really different from my upbringing. We didn't have much; they have everything they could want.
"They are at that age where they are starting to notice differences, like this person lives in a smaller house and why is our house bigger. You start explaining those things to them little by little.
"But at the end of the day, it's about being happy. It's not about how much money you make. Mummy is happy doing what she does, which is why she works so hard and it just happens to create a great life for us.
"Those are the things I hope they learn, not from me telling them, but again, just by example."
Lopez does indulge in me-time and says: "I take my baths and I get my massages, just little things. It's not like I get to have weeks and weeks of just doing nothing... I have been lucky enough to work all the time and take time when I can," she says.
The thrice-married Lopez, who is dating US dancer-choreographer Casper Smart, 29, insists that romance is not her priority right now.
"When you get to a certain age, you realise that everything you need and want is within you. I think that's what's changed for me.
"So as far as relationships go, if somebody can add to my life and my happiness and my children's happiness, then okay, bring it on.
"But I feel like I love my life and I have built a life that I am proud of. Anything else is icing on the cake.
"And getting married again, I don't know, but nothing in my life is out of the question. Anything is possible, everything is possible."