01/22/2013 03:58 pm ET

Jennifer Lopez Movie: Singer/Actress Dishes On Role In 'Parker, Talks Split

In a case of life imitating art, Jennifer Lopez -- who split from her now-estranged husband, Marc Anthony, in July 2011 -- is playing the role of divorcᅢᄅe Leslie Rodgers in the new crime thriller "Parker."

"When [director Taylor Hackford] first called me [about the role], I wasn't thinking about divorce at all," Lopez told USA Today Tuesday. "Suddenly [the divorce] happened and my whole world fell apart and then I had this therapy of this character. Everything happens for a reason. It's true. It actually is true."

During a press call, the actress also opened up about the parallels she drew between herself and her character while making the movie, which hits theaters Friday.

“We’re both human beings who’ve gone through hard and difficult times,” she told NBC Latino. “At this particular time, [Leslie is] recently divorced, a little desperate. When I was filming this role, I had similar feelings. I had recently decided to divorce and it was hard to get out of bed and go to the set every day. I knew what those feelings were, to feel your world was falling apart.”

Lopez and Anthony first announced their split in July 2011 after seven years of marriage. He filed for divorce from the former "America Idol" judge nine months later in April 2012. The estranged couple has two children together -- 4-year-old twins Max and Emme. Since the split, Lopez, 43, has been dating 25-year-old dancer and choreographer Casper Smart.

Last week, she told People magazine that she credits Smart with getting her through the difficult time in the wake of her divorce.

"I just got out of a big, heavy, devastating thing, and he's helped me heal," Lopez said. "He's been there for me."

Click through the slideshow below for more on J.Lo and nine other female celebrities who got together with much younger men after their divorces.

Celebs Who Dated Younger Men After Divorce

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