Sorry to have ever doubted you, J.Lo and A-Rod.
If everything is meant to be, or all roads lead to where you need to go, or everything happens for a reason, or whatever, perhaps Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez were simply inevitable, like Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle.
Which means you can't linger too long on any pain, suffering or screw-ups that preceded this moment in time, and just remember that the obvious doesn't always present itself right away.
Lopez and Rodriguez met 12 years ago, at Yankee Stadium before a game, but both were married—Mets fan Marc Anthony was right there in the picture with them after all. Only now does it mean a thing that Jen and the Yankees' All-Star third baseman are looking into the same lens and another camera caught Anthony's eye.
Anthony J. Causi/ Splash News
Until they meet again, indeed.
Fast-forward to this February—a life-changing arc of career and personal experiences later for each of them—when Lopez and Rodriguez were back in each other's orbit. It probably wasn't for the very first time since 2005, their social circles not exactly polar opposites and Lopez's high-flying life taking her frequently between New York, where A-Rod's work was, and Miami, where his actual home base has been for years.
But for whatever reason—and for all the reasons that matter—this time was different.
First of all, as is always the case, timing is everything.
Both were single, Lopez having ended her off-and-on relationship with 29-year-old Casper Smartseemingly for good last August, and she had recently asserted in no uncertain terms on The Daily Show that she and Drake were not together. Rodriguez and billionaire girlfriend Anne Wojciki had broken up a few months before New Year's after dating since March 2016.
History would suggest that each star was looking for a new flame.
Then there's chemistry, which timing has to make room for on the everything shelf.
We could do some equations for you, but you can probably ace the test on what's appealing about these two without much studying.
INFphoto.com; Jason Merritt/Getty Images
And than, finally, there's circumstance.
While history would suggest both were on the prowl, history could just as easily suggest that rumors of a Lopez-Rodriguez romance were so much hot air. Or even if they were enjoying each other's company, how long could that possibly last?
Though they both have storied, jam-packed relationship histories, Lopez is a serial monogamist and Rodriguez is...well...a former professional baseball player and one of the most famous athletes in the world. He's had long relationships, including a five-year marriage that produced two children, but according to his ex-wife (whom he remained close friends with and they continue to successfully co-parent), he wasn't all that when it came to monogamy.
And then the world found out that he wasn't that great at honesty, when he was suspended for what amounted to the entire 2014 season for using banned substances and didn't own up until over a year later in an open apology letter.
Jason Merritt/Getty Images
However, Rodriguez retired last year and perhaps—like former teammate Derek Jeter, who waited till after retirement to marry longtime girlfriend Hannah Jeter and get the family-man portion of his life underway—he wasn't meant to settle down for good until after the distraction and pressures of being expected to play baseball like a god were behind him.
Obviously his marriage was worth it, he's got two daughters he adores. Same for J.Lo, who's the mother of twins with Anthony—with whom she also remains close, divorce seemingly suiting them far better than marriage.
"Look, I don't love being alone," Lopez admitted in the April 2014 issue of InStyle. "I don't. I can't beat myself up for that. What I have to do is figure out why I don't like it...But where I am now, what I've been through, there are no rules. There are just lots of ways it can turn out instead of just one."
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
In fact, blink-of-an-eye dalliance with Drake aside, this is the longest Lopez has been single in the 21st century. Perhaps it took taking Casper Smart back one too many times, only to be disappointed by him again, to make her finally realize that she's J.Lo, dammit, and—while it's inconvenient that there aren't a whole lot of men out there who are both good enough and can handle her level of fame—she doesn't need just anyone by her side.
Enter Alex Rodriguez, who certainly isn't just anyone. But is he a good enough guy for Lopez now?
Well, if his end of the ready-to-commit bargain holds up, then...yes.
He has ridden the wave of global renown himself, earning hundreds of millions of dollars as Major League Baseball's highest-paid player for most of his career, plus millions more from Nike, Topps, Rawlings, Vita Coco and other endorsements. 2016 ended with him No. 16 on Forbes' list of the highest-paid athletes of all time, with $600 million in career earnings.
So while J.Lo's love don't cost a thing, she doesn't have to pay for a darn thing in this relationship, either—unless she wants to, and with a rumored net worth of $360 million, Rodriguez can look forward to a very nice 42nd birthday present in July. (Meanwhile, we're in no way suggesting Lopez is looking for a man to pay for things—but it certainly helps with peace of mind and the future prospects of a relationship to know that a guy can at least hold up his end of the partnership.)
Moreover, as a star athlete, he knows what it's like to have a crazy schedule, he gets the importance of staying in tip-top shape as a job requirement (he and J.Lo have already hit the gym together), and, from one ego to another, he at least should understand the need Lopez will have to put herself first when need be.
Steven Klein/ Details Magazine
It's also for the best that, though Rodriguez's playing days are behind him, he's not roaming around with too much time on his hands. He won high praise for his work with Fox Sports as an on-air analyst during the World Series last fall, and with the 2017 MLB season starting this week, he's already back on the job.
Plus the Yankees are still getting their money's worth for the last $21 million on his contract, employing A-Rod as a part-time adviser.
And no different than if he were getting ribbed in the locker room, when he reported for work on Monday his Fox colleagues had mocked up a tabloid cover reporting that 75-year-old Pete Rose was dating J.Lo.
"The greatest thing about the show is it's exactly what they would do in the green room before and after our shows," Rodriguez told Newsday about the prank. "Really, nothing changes. We'll say anything on the air and it's very natural, especially coming from Pete.
"That's what makes it great television. So, no, I was not surprised... I never get mad at Pete. I love him."
In a stroke of serendipity, Rodriguez's Fox gig will basically have him triangulating between New York, Miami and Los Angeles, where Fox Sports is headquartered—meaning more time with Lopez, who's based in L.A. and shoots Shades of Blue in New York.
Then of course there are the obvious reasons why Lopez and Rodriguez together make sense: They're both parents, both value family, both came from humble beginnings and worked their butts off to get where they are, and both have good relationships with their ex-spouses—an important point to agree on.
And with all this in common, no wonder they've been on the same page for the past...month.
But several weeks later, with no sign of a fizzle in sight, a source said that the couple's initial assessment of the situation was a little off and, in fact, A-Rod would actually "wife her up in a heartbeat."
Then last weekend an insider observed, "They went from 0 to 100 real quick."
Elder Ordonez / Splash News
And why not? They have the means, the motive, the opportunity...
OK, that sounds as if they're about to commit a crime, but in the long run, there's certainly no harm in seeing where this goes and not wasting any time while doing so.
Another sign that this is quite a different for scenario for Rodriguez is the fact that he's doing press for the upcoming baseball season and fielding questions about Lopez. For all of his visibility over the years, rarely did he ever comment on his private life.
This time, however, he went on The View of all places—where there's nowhere to run and nowhere to hide—and positively gushed about J.Lo. "It's obvious, we've been having a great time," he said.
"She's an amazing, amazing girl," Rodriguez continued. "One of the smartest human beings I've ever met and also an incredible mother." And in addition to the Bronx native being a Yankees fan, "she just likes simple things. I mean, she's a very, very simple person. Loves family, is a great sister, is a great daughter."
A-Rod wearing his heart on his sleeve: priceless. And he went on, sounding as if he'd known her all his life.
But maybe life really was just leading up to this moment all along.