Born July 24, 1970, in New York, NY; daughter of David and Guadalupe Lopez; married Ojani Noa, 1997; divorced, 1998; married Cris Judd, 2001; divorced, 2003; married Marc Anthony, 2004. Addresses: Management--c/o United Talent Agency, 9560 Wilshire Blvd., 5th Floor, Beverly Hills, CA 90212; Agent--International Creative Management, 8942 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212.; Record company--Sony, 550 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10022-3211 Phone: (212) 833-8000.

Jennifer Lopez appeared as an overnight sensation when she burst onto the entertainment scene in the mid-1990s. She was a talented, well-rounded modern woman, with pizzazz and good looks, plus singing, dancing, and acting accomplishments to her credit. A veteran of music videos, television, live stage shows, and commercial modeling, Lopez appeared in only a handful of minor film roles before she suddenly rocketed to stardom in the role of the murdered Tejano singing sensation Selena Quintanilla Perez. When Selena was released in theatres, Lopez emerged instantly as one of Hollywood's most popular leading ladies. She hailed from middle class roots in New York City's Bronx borough, entered show business in her mid-teens, and appeared variously as a background dancer, actress, and model before turning her sights to Hollywood. After she traveled the globe in musical revues and drifted through video and commercial work, she settled into steady employment in television work before starting a career as a film actress. She appeared in six motion pictures between 1995 and 1998 and then took a one-year hiatus to re-address her musical career. When Lopez released her first CD in 1998, the album sold over two million copies by the year's end.

Jennifer Lopez was born on July 24, 1970, in the Bronx borough of New York City, New York. She was the second of three daughters born to David and Guadalupe Lopez, originally from Ponce, Puerto Rico. David Lopez worked as a data processing manager for an insurance company and his wife was a kindergarten teacher. Lopez and her sisters, Leslie (two years older) and Lynda (the youngest) attended Holy Family School. The Lopez household was filled with music, good food, and fun. Lopez was destined for stardom even as a youngster--she espoused Rita Moreno as her greatest heroine and took dancing lessons from the age of five. Over the years she studied ballet and jazz, flamenco, piano, and was trained in classical theater. She also studied gymnastics, ran track, and played softball. Briefly while in high school, she entertained the possibility of becoming a professional beautician. Her parents meanwhile dreamed that their daughter might go to college and law school. Lopez succumbed instead to the lure of show business, despite her parents' disappointment when she announced that she would forego college to pursue a career in the theater. Before long, Lopez was on her own and living wherever she could afford the rent. For a time she stayed in a dance studio in Manhattan and later moved into an apartment in Hell's Kitchen.

Lopez made her first film appearance in the small role of Myra in My Little Girl in 1986. She secured her first steady acting role in 1988 when she embarked on a five-month European tour of a live stage production called Golden Musicals of Broadway. She then toured Japan in a production of Synchronicity. Upon her return to the United States, she worked at dancing and modeling jobs, including appearances in music videos and commercials. Her dancing proficiency landed her a steady job in 1990 as a "fly girl" on the Fox television comedy show, In Living Color, with producer Keenan Ivory Wayans and choreographer Rosie Perez. Lopez quit In Living Color in 1991 to accept a role in a television pilot for a short-lived series called South Central. With the demise of that show, she moved into the role of Melinda Lopez on a CBS series called Second Chances starring Connie Selleca. The show lasted one season, and the writers carried Lopez's Melinda role into a spin-off series called Malibu Road. Following the Malibu Road series Lopez appeared as a nurse in a made-for-television movie called Nurses on the Line: The Crash of Flight 7. During the winter holidays in 1991-92 and 1992-93, she performed in the live-stage production of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol at McCarter Theatre in Princeton, New Jersey.

Early Breaks

By 1993 her stage and television careers were a matter of history. As an up-and-coming young dancer that year she performed in music videos, including "That's the Way Love Goes" with Janet Jackson. Lopez was also seen with Puff Daddy (Sean Combs) & The Family in "Been Around the World." By 1995 she had moved to Los Angeles with her boyfriend of nine years. She landed two feature film roles that year: as Maria in Gregory Nava's My Family/Mi Familia, followed by the part of Grace Santiago in Joseph Ruben's Money Train with Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson. Lopez received a nomination for the Independent Spirit Award for her role as Maria the Mexican immigrant in My Family/Mi Familia. The pace of Lopez's career accelerated rapidly with the acknowledgment. She appeared with Robin Williams in the 1996 release of Francis Ford Coppola's Jack,and the following year she appeared in the female romantic lead opposite Jack Nicholson in Blood & Wine. That same year moviegoers saw her as Terri Flores in the action/disaster feature Anaconda, starring Jon Voight, and in 1997 she starred with Sean Penn in U-Turn.

A final film release in 1997 catapulted Lopez to stardom in what became her signature role, Selena Quintanilla Perez, the murdered Tejano singer, in director Gregory Nava's production of Selena. Amid concerns from backstage critics that Lopez didn't physically resemble the real Selena, Lopez set out to recreate the aura of the legendary singer. Lopez learned all that she could about her subject and then summoned her own gifts for dancing and singing. She danced and acted her way through the scenes of Selena, recreating the spirit and actions of the slain Latina superstar. Although Lopez lip-synched her way through the vocal score, she performed from the heart with a zest and fire that effectively depicted the life and times of the real Selena. For her work in Selena, Lopez received a Golden Globe nomination in 1998 for the best performance by an actress in a motion picture.

On the heels of the success of Selena, Lopez appeared in 1998 as a romantic interest with George Clooney in Out of Sight. Also that year she dubbed in the voice of Azteca, the worker ant in an animated cartoon feature film from DreamWorks, called Antz.

Lopez felt inspired, in part by her starring role in Selena, to take a respite from her whirlwind film career for one year in order to tape a debut vocal album. She spent much of 1998 working on the production of her CD, On the 6, and thus the multi-faceted performer added singing and songwriting to her already impressive acting and dancing credits. The CD, released by Sony Records, evoked a variety of musical styles, including pop and rhythm and blues. According to Lopez, every song she does bears a Latino undertone. Lopez was apprehensive at first when the producers approached her to write a song for the album; she expressed concerns against expanding her professional ventures too rapidly. But Lopez relented and co-wrote that album's "Should Have Never." Lopez developed the CD title, On the 6, by recalling the number of the subway train that she rode into Manhattan as a young girl. Lopez's platinum hit single, "If You Had My Love," is heard on the album--the song spent five weeks at number one on the music charts. The album itself sold over two million copies before the end of the first year of its release on Sony's Work Group/Columbia label. Lopez's frequent companion, Sean Combs, also contributed an original composition to one of the album's tracks. Also heard on the album is a duet between Marc Anthony and Lopez entitled, "No me ames (You Don't Love Me)," and for which Lopez appeared in the music video in August of 1998.

Love Life

Talent aside, Lopez established herself as a bona fide sex symbol very early in her career. It was a flattering concept, but she nonetheless had a difficult time escaping persistent remarks in the press regarding her "trademark" feature, a voluptuous backside. She was listed among the "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" in 1997 and again in 1999 by People. Her conscientious commitment to rigorous physical fitness training is common knowledge around New York and Los Angeles, both of which cities she considers to be home. Additionally, she aspires to a dream of settling in Miami, Florida to raise a family.

Lopez was married very briefly to Ojani Noa, whom she met at Gloria Estefan's restaurant, Larios on the Beach. Noa worked at the restaurant at the time when Lopez was filming her feature movie Blood and Wine on location in Florida. Their brief but romantic courtship lasted approximately one year, into the filming of Lopez's next film, Selena. When the filming was over Noa proposed to Lopez in front of the entire cast and crew of Selena. They married on February 22, 1997, but separated less than one year later and divorced in 1998. In retrospect Lopez regarded the marriage philosophically and acknowledged that her career contributed significantly to the breakup. Regardless, she intends to raise a family and will not sacrifice her career in the process. After the separation between Lopez and Noa, rumors persisted concerning Lopez's romantic inclinations. Media reports linked her with an endless string of eligible suitors, including her perennial collaborator, Combs. After much speculation about the nature of their relationship, Lopez and Combs confirmed their romantic involvement by appearing hand-in-hand at the MTV Music Video Awards in September 1999. The two made headlines when they left Club New York on December 27, 1999, after a member of the Combs entourage allegedly shot at three bystanders. Lopez was not charged in the incident, but was questioned at length by police. She accompanied Combs--who was ultimately acquitted--to the trial as a show of her support, but the two ended their relationship not long after. Lopez rapidly became involved with another figure in the music world, dancer Cris Judd. They were married in September of 2001, but separated only eight months later. Then, after a romance that provided endless fodder for the tabloids, Lopez came within days of marrying actor Ben Affleck in 2003. However, the wedding was called off at the last minute. In 2004 Lopez married for the third time, again to a show-business figure: singer Marc Anthony.


Lopez's career was nearly as up-and-down as her love life in those years. She starred in several successful romantic comedies, including The Wedding Planner (opposite Matthew McConaughey) and Maid in Manhattan (opposite Ralph Fiennes), but also in the bomb Gigli (with Affleck), which was considered by many to be the worst film of 2003. Her music career, however, was more consistently positive. Her album J.Lo reached number one on the Billboard charts at the same time as The Wedding Planner was number one at the box office, making her the first actress ever to stand atop both charts at once. J.Lo eventually went multi-platinum, and Lopez's third album, J to tha L-O!: The Remixes, released in 2002, also reached the platinum mark.

In the midst of soaring stardom Lopez came into popular demand as a media personality. As early as 1994 she was tapped to host Coming Up Roses, and in 1995 she hosted the NCLR Bravo Awards. Also that year she was a presenter for the VIDA Awards, and she was a presenter, along with Combs, at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1999. She has been honored repeatedly by the entertainment industry, having received both the ALMA Lasting Image Award and the ALMA for best actress for Selena in 1998. Also for her portrayal of Selena, Lopez received the Lone Star Film & Television Award for best actress. In 2000 ALMA honored Lopez with a special achievement award, and that year she received the prestigious international Bambi Award from Hubert Burda Media of Europe. Additionally, her recording of the hit single "If You Had My Love" went platinum, and in 2001 she was listed in People among the 50 most beautiful people in the world. She received several more prestigious awards in 2002 and 2003, including the Kids' Choice Award for favorite female movie star, the ShoWest Award for female star of the year, and an American Music Award for best pop-rock female artist. Biographer Patricia J. Duncan said of Lopez, "Her unique blend of beauty, talent, drive, and confidence have made her the hottest commodity in the film industry, and that will soon be true in the music industry as well."

by Gloria Cooksey

Jennifer Lopez's Career

Performed in musical shows on international tour; film actress, 1986--; television work, dancing and acting, 1990-1993; films include My Family/Mi Familia,1995; The Money Train, 1995; Jack,1996; Blood and Wine,1997; Anaconda,1997; U-Turn,1997; Selena,1997; Out of Sight,1998; Antz(voice of Azteca), 1998; The Cell, 2000; The Wedding Planner, 2001; Angel Eyes, 2001; Enough, 2002; Maid in Manhattan, 2002; Gigli, 2003; Jersey Girl, 2004; Shall We Dance, 2004; An Unfinished Life, 2005; Monster-in-Law, 2005; signed with Sony Records, 1998; debut release,On the 6, 1998.

Jennifer Lopez's Awards

American Latino Media Arts Award (ALMA) for Best Actress, 1998; ALMA Lasting Image Award, 1998; Lone Star Film & Television Award for Best Actress, 1998; Lasting Image Award, Imagen Foundation, 1998; Image Award, National Association for the Advancement for Colored People (NAACP), 1998; ALMA for Best Actress in a Crossover Role, 1999; Bambi Award, Hubert Burda Media, 2000; ALMA Special Achievement Award for Female Entertainer of the Year, 2000 and 2001; platinum record for the single "If You Had My Love"; Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Best Actress in a Science Fiction Film, 2001; MTV Movie Award for Best Dressed, 2001; Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Female Movie Star, Nickelodeon, 2002; ShoWest Award for Female Star of the Year, 2002; American Music Award for Best Pop-Rock Female Artist, 2003; children's humanitarian award, Noche de Ninos, 2004.

Famous Works

Recent Updates

February 11, 2005: Lopez launched her new high-end clothing line, called Sweetface, at Fashion Week in New York City. Source: E! Online,, February 13, 2005.

September 2005: Lopez launched the perfume Live Jennifer Lopez. Source: People, September 26, 2005, p. 69.

Further Reading



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