Nov. 13, 2002 -- When Jennifer Lopez went to visit her beau Ben Affleck's family in Boston, he promised her it would be a relaxed occasion, with a messy house and maybe some pizza.
On their way there, he was a little nervous, although the singer-actress, whose romance with the handsome leading man has been public since the summer, didn't suspect anything. But when the couple got to the house and Affleck opened the door, she had a surprise. "It's just a blanket, a quilt of rose petals, all over the whole entire house," she remembers. "So many candles, and vases, bouquets. And my song 'Glad' was playing ... I walk in and I was just like overwhelmed. I wasn't expecting it, and I was just like 'Oh my God.'"
Then she asked who had done it all, and Affleck told her, "My mom helped me do it." Then, says Lopez, "I just started sobbing. Crying. I was like 'Oh! My God!'"
As tears streamed down her cheek, Affleck read a letter he had written saying all the reasons he loved her and wanted to marry her. "I had cried a lot over sadness over the years. And for the first time in my life, I cried incredible purging tears of happiness," Lopez told Primetime's Diane Sawyer. "It was the most cleansing feeling and the most wonderful feeling I had ever had."
When he got to the end of the letter, Affleck asked the question, "Will you marry me?" But he had the ring out at that point, and Lopez couldn't help noticing it was pink — a pink diamond, her favorite gem. "I was just like 'Oh God, it can't be pink on top of it.' That was just too much for me to handle," she said. As she was going gaga over the ring, admiring its magnificence, he reminded her, "You haven't answered me."
Then, Lopez says, she gave him the answer he knew was coming: "I was like, 'Oh! Yeah! Yeah! Yes! Yes!'"
The two then sat down and had a quiet evening, eating the roast chicken Affleck's mother and her boyfriend, a chef, had left for them.
Read Lopez's revelation about her engagement.
City Tour Includes a Church Visit
On their visit, Affleck, 30, also gave Lopez, 32, a tour of his old haunts. "He took me everywhere, all over Boston and just showed me his whole history of his life," Lopez said.
She said Affleck's mother's home, in a working-class neighborhood of Boston, was just like the house she grew up in in the Bronx.
The couple also stopped by a church, but Lopez said people should not read anything into it: "We don't have any plans to get married at that specific church at this specific time." She did say, though, that she is hoping to get married in a church this time, unlike the ceremonies for her first two marriages.
‘Different’ From Her Previous Marriages
Lopez's first marriage, to model Ojani Noa in 1997, lasted a year. She split from her second husband, dancer Cris Judd, this June. Their divorce will be finalized in January.
"I've been married twice but I haven't had a marriage yet," Lopez told Sawyer. "This is not to take anything away from Cris or Ojani, who are wonderful people and who I loved very much — but I think it more had to do with me ... being in such a crazy life and needing a sense of security."
She also said she "cared very deeply" for Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, whom she dated between her two marriages. But she said she and Combs did not share "the same kind of ideals about life and family."
But it's the real thing with Affleck, she says. "What I knew that was different this time is that I was just more scared ... It was too powerful ... whereas before it was almost I had control of things, so I wasn't afraid to kind of be in there, in the fire.... This time it was just smothering me and — so hot, you know, that it was just like — it made me afraid."
Behind the Music
Lopez said Affleck has also been helping her with her music, giving her constructive criticism and advising her to go with her heart. She said the name of her new album, This Is Me ... Then, came out of something he said to her: that she would be able to look back at the record in years to come and tell her children that it represents who she was at a certain point in her life.
The songs "really flowed" once she got going on the album, Lopez said. "It will always represent to me the time in my life where I finally started to figure things out and get it right, you know what I mean? Really started who I was and what I needed.... And that real sense of self I think you don't get until you're older."