I judge people on how they smell, not how they look.
She sings, dances, acts and her entourage is more impressive than her famous behind. Thrice married J-Lo reveals how she went from plain backing dancer to diamond-encrusted diva.
Jennifer Lynn Lopez was born to Puerto Rican parents Guadalupe (a kindergarten teacher) and David, a computer specialist. Lopez and her two sisters, Leslie and Lynda, grew up in a small apartment where their mother encouraged them to entertain each other with theatrical performances in the front room.
With a taste for the limelight, Lopez began singing and dancing lessons from the age of five and ignored academic studies at school, instead preferring to pursue sports and the arts. At age of 16, Lopez won her first film role in ‘My Little Girl’ (1987) and while it failed to kick start her career immediately, it gave her a taste of the fame game.
After graduating from high school, Lopez enrolled at Baruch College in Manhattan and also worked in a legal office to fund her dance and singing progression. Her college life only lasted one term before she dropped out to concentrate on her career dream and she began auditioning for dance roles. Lopez was eventually selected as a dancer for various music videos and scored her biggest break as a backing dancer in Janet Jackson's ‘That's The Way Love Goes’ video in 1993.
Her first screen role was in the made-for-TV-movie ‘Nurses On The Line: The Crash of Flight 7’, followed by a first-time film role in the drama ‘My Family’ in 1995 and ‘Money Train’ in the same year. Starring with Robin Williams in Francis Ford Coppola's comedy drama ‘Jack’ (1996) propelled Lopez further up the A-list ladder.
1997 was to be a big year for Lopez both personally and professionally. Firstly came a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress for her turn in the film ‘Selena’ and she also met Ojani Noa, a waiter at a Miami restaurant. At the wrap party for 'Selena', Noa grabbed the microphone and offered a Lopez a diamond ring in the middle of the dance floor. Lopez accepted and the pair married the same year but were divorced by January 1998. The relationship between the two remained amicable after their split, but Lopez eventually sued Noa in a bid to prevent him from publishing a book containing personal details of their marriage.
Career-wise, things were looking up still. After the somewhat questionable ‘Anaconda’ (1997) with Jon Voight, which did well at the box office despite being panned by critics, it was to be Steven Soderburgh's ‘Out of Sight’ in 1998 that was to truly highlight Lopez's potential. Starring alongside George Clooney, the film’s success saw both stars suddenly being taken seriously (with Clooney also trying to establish himself as a film actor after a long stint in the TV series, ‘ER’).
Lopez's profile was now sky high. 'Out Of Sight' had worked its magic and, thanks to a big entrance at the Oscars ceremony that year, she scored a modelling contract with L'Oreal.
Lopez’s flair for entertainment extended beyond acting though and a call from Sony records was too tempting to ignore. Her debut album, ‘On The 6’ (a reference to the subway line she used to take when she was growing up), was released in June 1999 and made the top 10 in the US charts. Lopez’s winning streak was evident, with the album earning a Grammy nomination for Best Dance Recording and two nominations at the Latin Grammy Awards also.
It was during the making of the album that Lopez was to meet Sean Combs (then known as Puff Daddy), who was helping produce the album. Their two-and-half-year relationship was splashed across the media regularly and the press feasted on one particular story which saw Lopez and Combs involved in a gunfire brawl at a New York club in December 1999.
The pair were stopped by police after the incident and a stolen gun was found in the front seat of their car for which Lopez was initially charged for gun possession, but charges were dropped later after her appeal that she was in the back seat of the car during transit. Needless to say, the hype and stress surrounding the drama would fizzle the romance and Lopez split from Combs a year later.
Keeping her acting credits running, Lopez starred in ‘The Cell’ (2000) and became the first Latina actress to headline a major Hollywood movie since Rita Hayworth (real name Margarita Carmen Cansino).
2001 was to prove an eventful year in all aspect’s of Lopez’s life. First came a hit film, ‘The Wedding Planner’, then a release of her second album, ‘J-Lo’, and lastly her second wedding. Lopez met backing dancer Chris Judd while filming the video to her single ‘Love Don’t Cost a Thing’ and the two married late in 2001. In true showbiz fashion, the marriage lasted only a few months and by 2003 the two were divorced.
It seemed lady luck was still on Lopez’s side come 2002. With yet another number one album under her belt (the remixed ‘J-LO’ tracks, which was the first remix album to go straight to the top of the charts) it was to be her romance with actor Ben Affleck that was to create a worldwide stir. The couple met on the set of the film ‘Gigli’ (2003) and love soon blossomed. The relationship spawned publicity off the scale, with the pair being re-named ‘Bennifer’ and Affleck even appearing in her music video for the single ‘Jenny from the Block’, which was taken from her third studio album, ‘This is me…then’.
The couple also appeared in another film together, ‘Jersey Girl’ (2004), but it seemed their high-profile personal life would put paid to any box office success and both films were panned. In 2003, you could not escape stories about the Bennifer’s supposed impending marriage. But by the time 'Jersey Girl' was released in 2004, things had changed. Lopez ended the engagement to Affleck in January, claiming that after all the furore she needed to concentrate on herself and her career.
Lopez hit the headlines once again in 2004 when she secretly married salsa star Marc Anthony. They had briefly dated in the late 1990s, before his first marriage and her second, and unlike the mar of both their previous marriages, the two remain together and announced in November 2007 that they were expecting their first child together (later confirmed to be twins).
After a year away from the music scene, Lopez released her fourth studio album, ‘Rebirth’ in 2005. Although debuting and peaking at number two in the US, the album quickly fell off the charts. She followed up her discography with her first full Spanish album, ‘Como AmaUnaMujer’, in 2007. Husband Marc Anthony produced the album and it reached the number one spot, putting Lopez back on track with her previous musical successes.
On screen, Lopez starred in the hit comedy ‘Monster-In-Law’, and more recently in ‘El Cantante’, a biopic of Hector Lavoe, the salsa pioneer who helped to break the genre in America. Lopez’s husband starred as Lavoe, with Lopez as his wife Nilda Rosado. Her latest roles have been in 'Parker' (2013), 'Home' (2015) and 'Lila & Eve' (2015)
Beyond her busy acting and singing schedule, Lopez has also formed her own production company, Nuyorican (the name reflecting her upbringing - half New York, half Puerto Rico), her own clothing line and a range of perfumes which have topped many sales records. Lopez has become one of the biggest multi-media stars in the world - her only sign of slowing down will be that she’s now a mum for the first time to twins, a boy and girl born in February 2008.
In 2010, it was announced that Jennifer Lopez would be joining the judging panel on season ten of ‘American Idol’.
Lopez confirmed that same year that she would be parting from Sony Music Entertainment and Epic Records. The singer's manager said: "Jennifer had a wonderful relationship with the Sony Music Group, and they have shared many successes together, but the time was right to make a change that best serves the direction of her career as an actress and recording artist, she is grateful and appreciative to everyone at Sony for all that they accomplished together."
Shortly afterwards, it was revealed that Lopez had signed a deal with Island Def Jam.
In 2011, J-Lo released the single ‘On the Floor’, an up-tempo dance-pop song featuring rapper Pitbull. The song topped the charts in the UK and debuted in the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100. The single is taken from the album ‘Love?’ which was released in May 2011. Her latest album, 'A.K.A' was released in 2014.
Lopez was named as the most beautiful woman in the world by People magazine in 2011. The singer said she was honoured to receive the title and admitted that looking good all the time is not always easy.