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16
2 YEARS

'American Idol': Departing Judge Jennifer Lopez Wants to Focus on Acting

"I am an actress, I need to do that, too," says the entertainer after leaving the Fox competition.

TELEVISION: Jennifer Lopez

When Jennifer Lopez officially announced her American Idol exit on Friday, she explained she's leaving to explore other opportunities.

Lopez, who's co-headlining a summer tour with Enrique Iglesias, mentioned her various projects and obligations, saying, "I honestly feel like the time has come for me to be doing the other things I do that I've kind of put on hold because I love Idol so much."

Alas, her media tour of explanation for why she walked away from the Fox competition and another multi-million dollar paycheck continues.

"I do miss doing films," J-Lo tells The Associated Press. "I feel like the last two years with Idol, I've really, really focused on, you know, my music. ... It was all kind of very synergistic, it worked really well together. But (film) is something that I really loved, it's how I kind of started in this business, and it doesn't leave you. I am an actress, I need to do that, too."

STORY: Randy Jackson Responds to Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler Departures

Lopez's credits include Out of Sight, Selena and Maid in Manhattan. In 2012, she starred in the pregnancy comedy What to Expect When You're Expecting and voices a role in the just-released animated film Ice Age: Continental Drift. Next year, she'll star in the Jason Statham action movie Parker.

Besides movies, she also produces the show Q'Viva! with ex-husband Marc Anthony while finding the time to be a parent to their four-year-old twins, Max and Emme.

"From a personal standpoint, I just want it to be (an) enjoyable, healthy, exciting experience for us, something that we can look back on and say, 'Oh, we did this,'" she says of taking her kids on tour. "I don't even know if they'll remember, they're only four (years old) right now, but I want it to be something that will be good for them."

Lopez's departure comes amid an Idol shakeup as the show now looks for replacements for her, Steven Tyler and possibly even Randy Jackson -- the sole remaining judge holdout from the old days -- should he walk out the door, too.

The franchise was down 25 percent in viewership in season 11, with the finale drawing 21 million viewers.