Jennifer Lopez describes her reunion with Ben Affleck nearly two decades after the two first broke up as a “beautiful love story” about second chances.

In a new interview with People, the multi-hyphenate spoke candidly about feeling “so lucky and happy and proud to be with him.” She also shared what’s different about their relationship this time around. Affleck and Lopez first began dating in 2002, later calling off their engagement in 2004.

“It’s a beautiful love story that we got a second chance,” J.Lo told the outlet.

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When the two reconnected last spring, she admitted that they “had a little bit of fear,” due to the media circus that originally helped to suffocate their relationship. “Before we kind of put [our relationship] out there and we were naïve and it got a little trampled,” she said. “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.”

She explained that they’re both on the same page about their relationship today. “I just feel very happy and lucky to be in a relationship that’s happy and loving, and I want to do everything I can to protect that and keep it safe. It deserves that, it really does. … We hold it sacred,” J.Lo continued. “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. … When you find somebody and you really, really love them and you get a second chance at that? That is a really rare, precious, beautiful thing and we don’t take it for granted.”

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Jennifer Lopez Opens Up About Getting A “Second Chance” With Ben Affleck
Photo: Getty

When it comes to introducing a new partner to her kids, J.Lo explained her approach. “I honestly believe that love rules all. Love always conquers everything—relationships, kids, work, work relationships. It’s all about how loving, open and accepting you can be. Not having an ego about things and just embracing all the good, always looking at the positive,” she said. “When you’re in a good, healthy relationship, everybody benefits from that. Everybody.”

She also gushed over Affleck’s emotional development over the years. “I’m so proud of the him, I’m so proud of the man he’s become that I’ve watched from afar. Being honest with each other, being loving, that’s just the basis of everything,” she said of The Last Duel actor. “I feel like he’s at a place in his life where—just like how I feel about myself—it’s been a journey of learning yourself and figuring yourself out, getting to a place where you feel really good on your own and who you are so you can be in a happy, healthy relationship. … To see the person, the human being, the man that he is today, the father that he is today, the partner that he is—he is so everything I always knew he was and wanted to be.”

As for their future together, she said, “I just want my future to be full of love and happiness, with my children and my partner. I think everybody just wants to be happy, with somebody to go on the journey with and grow old with, and I feel good about that right now.”

Last year, Affleck opened up to WSJ. Magazine about his second shot with Lopez, saying of their love story, “I can say that it’s definitely beautiful to me. … It is a good story. It’s a great story. And, you know, maybe one day I’ll tell it. I’ll write it all out. And then I’ll light it on fire.”

This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.

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