Jennifer Lopez breaks down in tears Saturday during her special performance to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn.
“You want to talk about love?” the singer, 42, who is divorcing Marc Anthony, asks before she begins a slow, guitar-friendly rendition of “If You Had My Love,” her 1999 breakthrough single. “I can talk about love all day. Ooh, I’ve got stories. It seems like from the very first record, It was always about love. Ever since then, every single one is the same thing.”
Moving forward to new material, she says, “I’m going to sing you the very last song I wrote about love. A lot has happened since then. Let's take a little trip down memory lane."
Then, models representing her relationships with Diddy, Ben Affleck, Cris Judd and Marc Anthony are joined by J.Lo stand-ins as she sings a moving ballad.
She looks out into the crowd, and flashes her left hand in the air, revealing that she is still wearing a diamond band on her wedding ring finger.
“It’s all about love, right?” she says, brushing away tears.
It wasn't all sadness, though.
During her performance of "Let's Get Loud," the American Idol judge lost a hair extension, which was promptly whisked off stage by attending security.
But the high emotions of the night may have been too much for Jennifer, who stayed at the resort with her mom Guadalupe and three-year-old twins, Emme and Max, for the week. She was a no-show to the afterparty held in her honor at Ballo Italian Restaurant. Still, Lea Michele, Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo, Kelly Bensimon, Maria Menounos, Jaime Pressly and boyfriend, Terrence Howard, Bobby Flay and Vincent Piazza attend.
They applaud her decision to weave her personal life into her craft.
“She is such an inspiration,” Lea says. “She’s so incredible. She did one of her songs, and she had her dancers come out dressed like all the relationships she’s been in. It was great how she put her guard down, and was upfront with her fans. She seemed totally honest, and I loved that.”
Would she be willing to do that?
“Sure!” the actress says, poker face in place.
Kelly is also impressed. “I was really, really moved,” she says. “I thought that was incredibly human.”
Terrence tells me, “I was absolutely blown away. Her candor, her sense of being completely exposed to life. She’s a professional – she’s a star. She’s beautiful.”
Nick Lachey, with wife Vanessa Minnillo, is also impressed.
“It came from a deeper place,” he says.
Of course, it took a lot of guts.
“All singers have guts,” he says.
Would his ex-wife Jessica Simpson put her lost loves on display?
“You’ve gotta ask her that,” he says.
One person who spoke with J.Lo backstage after the show was Maria.
“What you’ll see on Extra on Monday night is why she got even more emotional,” she says. “She told me what really triggered her to cry harder. Her mood was incredible. She is definitely inspirational. And it’s not an act. I asked her where she gets her strength from, and she said her mom. I think she’s a really special lady.”
When I bump into Kelly in the elevator en route to check out Sunday morning, she continues to marvel at J.Lo’s bravery in putting her personal life on the concert stage.
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