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Two Lions in Winter: Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez to Officially Become J-Rod

Or maybe A.Lo

Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez as wedding cake toppers Getty Images/Ringer illustration

Editor’s Note: Late in 1993, the societal arbiters at The New York Times decided to discontinue the practice of announcing mere engagements in the paper of record’s pages, using the freed-up inches to feature more actual weddings instead. This saved “space, paper and endless lobbying from the betrothed,” a former editor later explained; anyone who has ever been in the same room as an engaged person might find this highly relatable.

But while there is a time and a place, in both publishing and in wedding planning, to honor precedents so as to maintain boundaries—how else to explain the raw-silk-draped email-industrial complex that is Big Bridesmaid?—it is also both important and appropriate to be flexible when it comes to covering the truly exceptional love stories in our midst. We must not be matrimonial originalists; ours ought to be interpreted as a living document, like the time we allowed that Will Ferrell photobomb, or the one with the goat.

When that decision not to engage with engagement was made back in 1993, in other words, we are sure that our predecessors could not have foreseen that some Fly Girl and some teenaged MLB hopeful were on a long cosmic drift toward the same altar, a slow-motion, decades-long collision course that has the makings of another Big Bang. How can you not cover that, you know? With respect to our Vows mentors: We will, even though there has been no I do.

Two Lions in Winter

BAKER’S BAY, THE BAHAMAS—The Leo arrives in late summer and is ruled by the sun; the Leo is born to bask. Jennifer Lynn Lopez was born in July 1969 and long sought the spotlight, leaving her parents and two sisters as soon as she turned 18 so that she could advance her dreams of singing and dancing on a big stage. Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez came in July 1975 and was both obsessed with, and really good at, a sport that involved standing beneath summer’s hot glare, at the center of attention of a stadium, a city, a national broadcast.

And so it makes sense that both the artist and the athlete, who are colloquially known by the familiar diminutives J.Lo and A-Rod, are always illuminated, always shining. The difference, lately, is that their sheen has been coming not from the cold sweats of past high-profile missteps and stumbles but from the warm glow of personal reflection, and of candlelight filtered through the 15-carat emerald-cut diamond that Rodriguez shared on his Instagram account late last week on a vacation in the Bahamas.

“She said yes,” the former major league shortstop wrote as a caption to an image of a disembodied hand ostensibly belonging to Lopez. (She shared the same image on her own feed, with a string of red heart emoji.) It was a ring meant to turn its broad face toward the light, a gemological seven-bladed-razor arms race of a bauble, with a size and shape usually more at home in the part of a museum where a former murderous tsarina’s treasures are featured. Mike Francesa, the local New York sports radio host sometimes described in papal terms, blessed the ring on Twitter. It was a ring befitting not just one Leo, but two.

Jennifer Lopez, 49, was born in the Bronx to Guadalupe Rodriguez and David Lopez, both originally from Puerto Rico. An entertainer and entrepreneur, the bride-to-be’s acting credits include Selena and Monster-in-Law. She has released multiple platinum records. Her mother was a former homemaker and is a recent slot-machine millionaire; her father was a computer technician and for decades has been a devout Scientologist. Alexander Rodriguez, 43, is a baseball broadcaster, former 14-time MLB All-Star, former unindicted co-conspirator, and self-styled lifelong-learner. He was born in Washington Heights, New York, to Lourdes Navarro and the late Victor Rodriguez, both of the Dominican Republic.

The bride-to-be’s previous three marriages, to a former waiter, a backup dancer, and Marc Anthony, ended in divorce. (While it is not normal Times policy to disclose more, this is also not a normal union, so: A tabloid-catnip engagement to Ben Affleck once chronicled semi-autobiographically in the “Jenny From the Block” music video was also called off, while the biggest legacy of a multiyear relationship with Puff Daddy was a plunging neckline.)

The groom-to-be’s previous marriage also ended in divorce, and a succession of famous women spotted at Yankees games, from Madonna to Kate Hudson to Cameron Diaz, never did get upgraded to season tickets. Another high-profile relationship—a love triangle, really, between Rodriguez and performance-enhancing substances and lying—ended in flames, with Rodriguez suspended from baseball, a proud Leo getting burned.

Years later, in 2017, both celebrities were having lunch in see-and-be-seen Beverly Hills when they began circling one another. Rodriguez just happened to walk by Lopez’s table. Lopez then walked by his, tapping him to say hello. She later told Ellen DeGeneres she was eating a Cobb salad that day, a fitting delicacy: As Los Angeles food lore goes, the dish was cobbled together by a chef at a Hollywood hotspot from leftover ingredients, and the result was near-mythical, greater than the sum of its parts.

That wasn’t the first time they had met. In 2005, Lopez and her then-husband Marc Anthony said hello to him and posed for pictures at a Yankees-Mets game. (“You and the guy she told you not to worry about,” someone wrote on Twitter this weekend.) But within days of that lunchtime encounter, they were on a date, and within a year they were on the cover of Vanity Fair. (They have even done large-scale international fundraising together with Anthony, a bold post-breakup tactic, although not necessarily one recommended by the Times editorial board.)

It is not yet clear whether the couple prefers J-Rod or A.Lo. The affianced have also not yet decided on a wedding location; Los Angeles, Miami, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic are thought to be front-runners. All of them are sunny locations, with perfect lighting for photos.