Latina lovely Jennifer Lopez was on the verge of hiring Sean "P. Diddy" Combs' top designer for her clothing line — but nixed the move because it would have caused a rift with her ex-beau, The Post has learned. 

Heather Thomson, the design director for the rapper's Sean John sportswear collection, was set to leave his company and become one of the top designers for Lopez and Andy Hilfiger's J.Lo sportswear collection. 

A source close to the company said Thomson even met with Hilfiger yesterday with the expectation she'd join the company at the end of the summer. 

But in an 11th-hour decision, J.Lo's camp reneged on the offer. 

Although Sean John and J.Lo don't compete for consumer dollars yet, they soon will. Combs said he would like to start a womenswear collection sometime this year, targeting J.Lo's young customers. 

No matter how hard the former couple tries to avoid one another, it seems the two are inextricably linked through the media and through their professional dealings, despite her marriage to dancer Cris Judd last September. 

Lopez has closely followed Combs' path, launching her music career and then a clothing line. In fact, the two companies use the same public-relations company. 

The rapper's chart topping record, "I Need a Girl," is an ode to the bodacious one, and the two are nothing but "loving" in dueling interviews in the press. 

Lopez is quoted in this month's Elle magazine as being great friends with Combs, a sentiment the rapper echoes in People magazine, adding that the duo may someday collaborate musically. 

He was, however, surprised she married so quickly after their breakup. 

"Yeah, I was surprised," Combs told Newsweek. "I mean, I didn't know it was coming. But if getting married made her happy, then I'm happy she's married." 

Representatives from Sean John and J.Lo declined to comment on the Thomson situation.

For more news, entertainment and sports coverage, click here for NYPost.com.