Jennifer Lopez's divorce from Marc Anthony made her realise her girlfriends are some of the most important people in her life.

The 46-year-old star was married to the musician for seven years before they confirmed their separation in 2011, with the union the third of Jennifer's to end in divorce. While she's in a good place now and is dating backing dancer Casper Smart, the end of her relationship with Marc taught her a great deal about life.

"I think I realised (my friends) were as important – if not more important – when I divorced Marc," she told Britain's Marie Claire magazine. "I just realised that I had been through that a couple of times and there they still were. Like they say, men come and go, but my girlfriends are always there for me."

Jennifer has also thought a great deal about her work/life balance since her marriage breakdown. As a singer and actress she has always been busy and in the early 2000s her hectic schedule was detrimental to her health, but it's only recently that she's started to realise she has to be more honest about needing downtime.

"I learned a lot from that time in my life where I did overstretch myself," she explained. "I can handle it better because I go, 'No, I'm not going to work on that day,' or, 'No, I am going to take those three days off,' or, 'No, you cannot schedule that there.' And you realise the sky is not going to fall, even though everybody makes you feel like it's going to."

These days the star is all about "healthy boundaries" and putting her children, seven-year-old Max and Emme, first. She still has things she wants to achieve in her career though, which Jennifer warns is highly important. The star is only too aware that many people wanted her to have a short career so they could move on to the next big thing, but as she has always had things to say and plans to achieve, she's managed to stick around. This is also one of the reasons why she has signed up for a Las Vegas residency at Planet Hollywood, which kicks off on 20 January 16.

"I've been preparing my whole life for this moment," she enthused. "I've done a lot of awards shows and performances and private shows my whole career. But never have I been able to create the defining show for myself and for my music. So I'm super-excited about it."