- Jennifer Lynn Lopez
July 24, 1969 (age 51)
- Singer, Record producer, Television Producer, Entrepreneur, Actor, Songwriter, Music video director,
- Marc Anthony
- David Lopez, Guadalupe Rodríguez
Jennifer Lynn Lopez (born July 24, 1969) is an American actress, author, fashion designer, dancer, producer, singer, and songwriter. She became interested in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry following a minor role in the 1986 film My Little Girl, to the dismay of her Puerto Rican parents, who believed that it was an unrealistic career route for a Hispanic. Lopez gained her first regular high-profile job as a Fly Girl dancer on In Living Color in 1991, where she remained a regular until she decided to pursue an acting career in 1993. She received her first leading role in the Selena biopic of the same name in 1997. Lopez became the first Latina actress to earn over $1 million for a role the following year, with the film Out of Sight. She ventured into the music industry in 1999 with her debut studio album, On the 6.
With the simultaneous release of her second studio album J.Lo and her film The Wedding Planner in 2001, Lopez became the first person to have a number one album and film in the same week. Her 2002 remix album, J to tha L–O! The Remixes, became the first in history to debut at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200, while her fifth studio album, Como Ama una Mujer (2007), received the highest first-week sales for a Spanish album in the United States. With past record sales of 55 million and a cumulative film gross of over $2 billion, Lopez is regarded as the most influential Hispanic performer in the United States, as well as its highest paid Latin entertainer. As of 2014, she has an estimated net worth of $400 million. Along with Pitbull and Claudia Leitte, she recorded "We Are One (Ole Ola)", which served as the official song of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Beyond entertainment, Lopez enjoyed a highly successful business career, consisting of various clothing lines, accessories, fragrances, a production company, television shows and a charitable foundation among other business interests. Lopez's personal relationships have attracted worldwide media attention; she has been married three times. Following the breakdown of her first marriage, Lopez dated rapper and entertainment mogul Sean Combs. Following the breakdown of her second marriage to husband Cris Judd, she dated actor Ben Affleck. Their relationship was the subject of much media interest; their planned wedding was cancelled four days before the ceremony. Lopez then wed longtime friend Marc Anthony; they separated after seven years of marriage. Lopez gave birth to their twins, Emme and Maximilian, in 2008.
Jennifer Lynn Lopez was born on July 24, 1969, in the Castle Hill neighborhood of The Bronx, New York. The middle child of Puerto Rican parents Guadalupe Rodriguez and David Lopez, she has an elder sister, Leslie, and a younger sister, Lynda. David worked the night shift at the Guardian Insurance Company, before becoming a computer technician at the firm, while Guadalupe was a homemaker. When Lopez was born, the family was living in a small apartment. A few years later, her parents had saved up enough money to be able to purchase a two-story house, which was considered a big deal for the relatively poor family. At the age of five, Lopez began taking singing and dancing lessons. She toured New York with her school when she was seven years old. Her parents stressed the importance of work ethic and being able to speak English. They encouraged their three daughters to put on performances at home; singing and dancing in front of each other and their friends so that they would stay "out of trouble". Lopez spent her entire academic career in Catholic schools, finishing at Preston High School. In school, Lopez did gymnastics, ran track on a national level and was a member of the school's softball team. She excelled athletically rather than academically, competing in national track championships. In 1984, at the age of fifteen, she began dating David Cruz, her first boyfriend.
While attending her final year of high school, Lopez learned about a film casting that was seeking several teenage girls for small roles. She auditioned and was cast in My Little Girl (1986), a low-budget film co-written and directed by Connie Kaiserman. Lopez acted as Myra, a young woman at a center for troubled girls. After she finished filming her role in the film, Lopez realized that she wanted to become a "famous movie star". To please her parents, though, she enrolled in Baruch College, only to drop out after one semester. She told her parents her dream of becoming a movie star, but they insisted that it was a "really stupid" idea and that "no Latinos did that". The differences in opinions led Lopez to move out of their family home and into an apartment in Manhattan. During this period, Lopez performed in regional productions of the musicals: Jesus Christ, Superstar! and Oklahoma. From there, she was hired for the chorus in a Golden Musicals of Broadway, which toured Europe for five months. She was unhappy with the role, as she was the only member of the chorus to not have a solo. She later got a job on the show Synchronicity in Japan, where she acted as a dancer, singer and a choreographer
Lopez was selected as a backup dancer for the New Kids on the Block in 1991 and performed with them during their performance of "Games" at the 8th Annual American Music Awards. Shortly after, Lopez gained her first regular high-profile job as a Fly Girl dancer on the television program In Living Color. She applied for the job after one of the cast members was unavailable to continue with the show. Out of 2,000 applicants, Lopez made it to the finals. She was the runner-up, but eventually received the role when the winner was unable to accept the job. She moved with Cruz to Los Angeles to film the series and remained a regular cast member until 1993 when she decided to pursue a full-time acting career. Prior to leaving the show, Lopez briefly worked as a backup dancer for American recording artist Janet Jackson. Lopez was set to tour with Jackson on her Janet World Tour in late 1993, but backed out as she wanted to do her "own thing."
Lopez received her first professional acting gig in the direct-to-video drama film Lost in the Wild (1993), co-starring alongside Lindsay Wagner and Robert Loggia.
In February 1997, Lopez starred alongside Jack Nicholson and Stephen Dorff in the neo-noir thriller Blood and Wine. It was a commercial failure; the $26 million production budget was matched with a domestic gross of $1 million at the box office. Despite this, the film received generally positive reviews from critics. Lopez starred as the title role of the Selena biopic of the same name in March. Despite having previously worked with the film's director on My Family, Lopez was subjected to an intense auditioning process before she was cast in the film. With a production budget of $20 million, the film grossed a total of $35 million domestically. Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times stated that even in the "forgettable films" Money Train, and Jack, Lopez's "presence and ability made her seem just one role away from stardom" and with Selena she's "seized the opportunity and turned in an incandescent presentation that is especially strong during the film's numerous musical numbers". He concluded by calling the film not just a celebration of Selena's life, but also of the actress who portrayed her. After filming Selena, Lopez was "really feeling [her] Latin roots" and cut a demo in Spanish. Lopez's manager then sent the song, titled "Vivir Sin Ti" (Living without You), to Sony Music Entertainment's Work Group, who showed an interest in signing Lopez. Tommy Mottola, the head of the label suggested to her that she sing in English instead.
In April 1997, Lopez starred in the horror film Anaconda alongside Ice Cube and Jon Voight. With a production budget of $45 million, the film grossed a total of $137 million worldwide, becoming a commercial success. In June, Lopez starred opposite George Clooney in Out of Sight, Steven Soderbergh's adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel of the same name (1996). Cast as a deputy federal marshal who falls for a charming criminal, Lopez won rave reviews for her performance and became the first Latina actress to earn over $1 million for a role. With a production budget of $48 million, the film grossed a total of $78 million worldwide, becoming a moderate commercial success. Lopez provided the voice of Azteca in the computer-animated film Antz in October. With a production budget of $105 million, the film grossed a total of $172 million worldwide.
Over the course of her music career, Lopez has delved into various music genres including latin pop, dance, R&B, hip hop, rock, funk, house and salsa. According to author Ed Morales, her music explores both the "romantic innocence of Latin music" and hip hop. While heavily influenced by Latin musical styles ranging from salsa to bachata, it was the 1979 hip hop song "Rapper's Delight" by hip hop trio The Sugarhill Gang that inspired her career. As she forayed into the music industry, Lopez fused Latin music together with the hip hop sound she loved, which she branded Latin soul.
Lopez has been influenced by artists such as Tina Turner, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Madonna and Barbra Streisand. Critics have considered Lopez's soubrette vocal type to be limited, though "radio friendly". Rolling Stone observed: "Instead of strained vocal pyrotechnics, Lopez sticks to the understated R&B murmur of a round-the-way superstar who doesn't need to belt because she knows you're already paying attention [...] She makes a little va-va and a whole lot of voom go a long way." Entertainment Weekly criticized her vocal performance for lacking the trademark "husky-voiced voluptuousness" she has in her films. The Baltimore Sun regards Lopez as having a "breathy" stylistic range, but lacking personality. Today Music opined: "like Madonna and Janet, people don’t listen to J.Lo for the poignant lyrics—she’s best when riding a dance groove".
Speaking of Lopez's image, Andrew Barker of Variety observed: "Despite a carefully cultivated image as an imperious pop empress in ludicrously expensive outfits, her signature hits bear the titles "I’m Real" and "Jenny From the Block". She managed the perilous transition from actress to music star without ever seeming to pick either as a primary gig. She established herself as an oft-provocative sex symbol while her demeanor made it abundantly clear that she’s not asking you to come hither." Lynette Holloway of The New York Times described Lopez as overexposed. She wrote: "Forgive yourself if you are seeing Jennifer Lopez in your sleep. She is everywhere." Holloway noted her image to be "a dash of ghetto fabulousness" and "middle-class respectability" for mass appeal. A pop icon, Lopez is considered "pop royalty" and triple threat. Television presenter Ray Martin describes Lopez as a "showbiz phenomenon". Lopez has developed an image as a sex symbol and "one of the most desirable women on the planet". Despite this, Lopez practices Krav Maga and has been trained at the level of a professional boxer. She is well known for her curvaceous figure, which was the inspiration for Sir Mix-a-Lot's 1992 hit "Baby Got Back".
Legacy and cultural influence
Lopez is regarded as the most influential Hispanic performer in the United States, having broken racial barriers in the entertainment industry. The Record newspaper observed that she was responsible for the introduction of Latin presence in the film industry. In Icons of American Popular Culture: From P.T. Barnum to Jennifer Lopez (2009), author Robert C. Cotrell describes Lopez as the Hispanic version of Oprah Winfrey, calling her a "multidimensional artist who had turned into a financial powerhouse". In 2012, Forbes opined that Lopez "may be the most powerful entertainer on the planet". Lopez is the highest-paid actress of Latin descent, as well as the wealthiest actress in Hollywood as of 2013. Miriam Jiménez Román stated in The Afro-Latin Reader: History and Culture in the United States (2009) that "[she] was able to traverse the difficult racial boundaries". As a result of launching a career in music, Lopez's influence over the Latin public grew; she played a part in the "Latin explosion" that was occurring in entertainment at the time. Around this time, the emphasis on Lopez's curvaceous figure grew; scholar Sean Redmond wrote in Stardom and Celebrity (2007) that this was a sign of her role and social power in the cultural changes occurring in the United States. The Daily Herald described Lopez as "crossover royalty". In February 2007, People en Español named her the most influential Hispanic.
Lopez's personal life has attracted significant media attention since the late 1990s, which has at times overshadowed or gained as much coverage as her career. In February 1997, Lopez married Cuban actor Ojani Noa, in what would be her first out of three marriages. Less than a year later, the couple were divorced by January 1998. Since the brief marriage, however, Lopez has endured much legal troubles with Noa. She sued to prevent Noa from publishing a book containing personal details about their marriage in April 2006, contending it violated their confidentiality agreement. In August 2007, a court-appointed arbitrator issued a permanent injunction forbidding Noa from "criticizing, denigrating, casting in a negative light or otherwise disparaging" Lopez. She was awarded $545,000 in compensatory damages and Noa was ordered to hand over all copies of materials related to the book to Lopez or her attorney. Currently, a lawsuit regarding a private honeymoon video in Noa's possession which has Lopez in "revealing attire and compromising position" is still running.
While working on her first album On the 6, Lopez began dating record producer and rapper Sean Combs. On December 27, 1999, the couple were arrested along with two others in connection to a shooting outside the Times Square Club in New York. They were charged with criminal possession of a weapon as well as stolen property. Lopez was soon exonerated, having had nothing to do with the crime. However, Combs was charged and given an indictment by a Manhattan grand jury. After leaving Combs, Lopez developed a relationship with her former back-up dancer Cris Judd they were married on September 29, 2001. However, it was short-lived, with Lopez filing for divorce in June 2002, at the same time she began publicly dating actor Ben Affleck. That November, Affleck and Lopez became engaged. The media began to refer to them as "Bennifer" and they became a prominent supercouple in the media and popular culture. Bennifer became a popular term, which was eventually entered into urban dictionaries and neologism dictionaries as notable, and the name blend started the trend of other celebrity couples being referred to by the combination of each other's first names. The couple postponed their nuptials indefinitely a day prior to the planned ceremony on September 14, 2003, citing the media's interference with the event as the reason.
Following her break-up with Affleck in January 2004, Lopez began dating long-time friend Marc Anthony. The couple wed on June 5 at her Beverly Hills mansion, one week after Anthony's divorce from Dayanara Torres was finalized. Two men attempted to ransom a private wedding video which was stolen from the couple for one million dollars; however they were arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court on charges of conspiracy, attempted grand larceny and possession of stolen property. On November 7, 2007, during the final night of their co-headlining tour, Lopez and Anthony officially confirmed that they were expecting their first child together. The announcement ended months of speculation over the pregnancy, which was deemed by the media to be the worst kept secret of the year. It was revealed on February 6, 2008 that the couple were expecting twins. Her father announced the news, revealing that it runs in the family: "My sister also had twins, so it's a hereditary thing".
Lopez gave birth to a son, Maximilian David, and a daughter, Emme Maribel, in Long Island, New York on February 22. The twins were introduced in the March 11, 2008 issue of People, for which the magazine paid a reported $6 million—the photographs of the twins became the most expensive celebrity picture ever taken at the time. Three years later in July 2011, the couple announced their split, with Anthony filing for divorce in April 2012. The divorce was finalized in June 2014. From October 2011 to June 2014, Lopez dated her former back-up dancer Casper Smart. On December 31, 2014 she legally changed her name back to Jennifer Lopez, dropping Anthony's real Muniz last name. Lopez has stated, "I am a non-traditional family. Me being a single mom, their dad doesn't live at home with them. They have three stepbrothers (sic)^ from two other mothers... that’s not traditional".