Casper Smart and Jennifer Lopez
01/14/2014 at 11:10 AM EST
After a year away from American Idol
, Jennifer Lopez
is returning to the judges' panel a changed woman.
"That was such a transformative year for me in so many ways," Lopez told reporters Monday ahead of Wednesday's premiere of Idol
's 13th season. "I had just divorced,
I went on tour with the kids, and I left Idol
. All my security blankets were gone, and I was out there doing something I had never done before."
But as she travelled the globe on her first world tour, she relied on support from her mother and boyfriend Casper Smart,
whom Lopez called "fantastic" with her twins Emme and Max,
"I was surrounded by love and family," said Lopez, 44. "I really grew. My goal was not to come out the other side and just survive it but grow as a human being as well as an artist, and I felt I did. I learned a lot."
One thing Lopez has learned is to accept that she is someone who prefers to be in a relationship.
"I'm one of those people who does not like to be alone," she said. "I have no shame saying that at this point in my life. I think we have to own who we are."
But when it comes to wedding bells in Lopez and Smart's future, the star is unclear where she thinks their relationship is headed.
"I don't know. We'll see. I don't know," she said when asked if she would like to get married for the fourth time. "You know, I've always believed in that institution. I believe in it, but it is difficult. I've had my challenges, but at the same time I believe in love, and I think that is the main thing."