The modern world can often feel like it’s at risk of sliding back to the 1950s, but it’s worth remembering how much has changed in terms of how we view women, love and sex. Yes, slut-shaming is still a thing, and we’re still having to fight for abortion rights. But we can also embrace being single and/or child-free, visit sex clubs, and partake in feminist porn. It’s not all bad.
One area where our collective cultural mentality is still very much lagging behind, however, is our attitude towards age gaps in relationships. While it’s long been considered ‘normal’ for older men to date younger women, eyebrows tend to be raised when the genders are reversed – and that’s something that Jennifer Lopez knows a lot about.
Lopez, 47, who was recently linked to 30-year-old rapper Drake, was previously in a five-year relationship with a man 18 years her junior. When the singer appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Tuesday, she was quizzed about her supposed predilection for younger men.
“People make a big deal about the fact that you date younger men,” DeGeneres observed.
“O.K., first of all, stop,” Lopez replied, rolling her eyes. “I don’t ‘date younger men’. It’s not like you have to be younger, it’s not about that.”
Watch: Jennifer Lopez on The Ellen DeGeneres Show
The singer, who was on DeGeneres’ show to discuss her Las Vegas residency, went on to explain that she didn’t deliberately seek out relationships with men younger than her, but was attracted to people’s personalities.
“I just meet people, and then if I go out with them, I go out with them,” she said. “And if I like them, I like them, and if I don’t, I don’t.
“It’s about the person. It’s about who they are,” Lopez continued, as the audience cheered. “It has nothing to do with age.”
Lopez said that she believes she had been labelled with “this thing” of dating younger men ever since she entered into a relationship with Casper ‘Beau’ Smart. The couple started dating in 2011, when Lopez was 42 and back-up dancer Smart was 24, and eventually split last summer.
“[Smart] was the first guy I ever dated who was younger than me, but then I got labelled right away,” she said. “And then, you know, that was it.”
DeGeneres replied that she didn’t “think age should be a thing at all. It’s about the person.”
“For me, it isn’t,” agreed Lopez. “If there’s somebody older, they’re older. If they’re younger, they’re younger.
“It doesn’t matter, it’s whether I’m attracted to them or not: attracted to their spirit, their soul, whatever their energy is.”
Lopez also brushed off speculation about her relationship with Drake, insisting that the couple were simply collaborating on music together.
“He sent me a song that he wanted me to be on, and I got on the song,” she explained. “We have a song together. I don’t know what he’s going to do with it, but yeah.”
Images: Rex Features, Jennifer Lopez/Instagram