American singer Jennifer Lopez has said that her split and divorce from salsa star Marc Anthony made her realise that she had to "love [herself] a little bit more".

The celebrity couple married in 2004 but subsequently separated in 2011, with Anthony finally filing for divorce in April 2012.

Lopez, who performed at last Thursday’s opening ceremony at the World Cup, told the Los Angeles Times: “These last four years, I felt like I really had to look at myself.

“One of the things I realised was I had to love myself a little bit more. That was a huge lesson for me.

“My kids [she and Anthony had twins in 2008] taught me that. They teach you a sort of unconditional kind of love and what it should feel like. It's very selfless and pure.”

The 44-year-old added that the split was part of the inspiration for new record AKA, her first album in three years.

“The breakup [of my marriage] just made me go make some real realisations about myself,” she said.