Jennifer Lopez has finally broken her silence and has given Vanity Fair the exclusive first interview after her split with Marc Anthony, her husband of seven years and father of her 3-year-old twins Max and Emme. Lopez and Anthony split last month, issuing a terse statement about the marriage ending. However, Lopez has no regrets about the relationship, telling the publication, "That was my biggest dream and I really worked hard at it. We both did."

Lopez, who also had two prior failed marriages and a high-profile relationship with actor Ben Affleck, which imploded right before their trip down the aisle, did admit that the disintegration of her marriage to Anthony hurts. But despite the outcome, her view of love remains hopeful. "Sometimes it doesn't work -- and that's sad. But I remain an eternal optimist about love. I believe in love," the 'American Idol' judge said. "It's still my biggest dream. I am positive—determined to move forward with my life, bring up my babies, and do the best job I can as a mother, entertainer, and person. I now look forward to new challenges. I feel strong."

The interview goes deep about Lopez's other relationships, too. She speaks about some of famous exes (Diddy and Affleck) and her reputation as a diva. Despite numerous broken romances that have unfolded in the public eye, the triple threat, who was christened PEOPLE's Most Beautiful Woman of 2011, said, "I'm a hopeless romantic and passionate person when it comes to love."

But it's not just romantic love with a significant other or a man that she's interested in. To borrow a phrase from Whitney Houston, learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all, something J. Lo is learning.

She said, "It's not that I didn't love myself before. Sometimes we don't realize that we are compromising ourselves. To understand that a person is not good for you, or that that person is not treating you in the right way, or that he is not doing the right thing for himself -- if I stay, then I am not doing the right thing for me. I love myself enough to walk away from that now."

That's a courageous self-assessment for Lopez to make, and it appears that she has thought long and hard about her situation and is doing what is best for herself and her kids. Those last few statements, however, do make us wonder how much the relationship between herself and Anthony had broken down. She intimates that she was not being treated right, which might stir up rumors about infidelity, given the open-ended way Lopez addresses things.

But Lopez refuses to trash her ex. He is, after all, the father of her children. She said, "I will always respect Marc as a singer and performer. We actually work great together, and he was always very supportive. Together we could make magic -- and we did. He will always be in our lives. He will always hold a special place in my heart as the father of my children."

Jennifer Lopez is such a class act for how she has opened up about the end of her marriage. Whomever she dates next will be one lucky man.

The new issue of Vanity Fair streets tomorrow, Aug. 3.

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