Born on 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: Record company--Sony, 550 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10022-3211. Management--c/o United Talent Agency, 9560 Wilshire Blvd., 5th Fl., Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Agent--International Creative Management, 8942 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Website--Jennifer Lopez Official Website: http://www.jenniferlopez.com.
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. Lopez 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.
By 1993 Lopez's 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, a Mexican immigrant, 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 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 as Selena Quintanilla Perez, the murdered Tejano singer in 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. 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 respite from her whirlwind film career for one year, in order to record a debut vocal album. She spent much of 1998 in 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. 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.
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.
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. 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.
In the midst of soaring stardom Lopez came into popular demand as a media personality. 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 again listed in People among the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World.
Business Ventures and "Bennifer"
By 2001, not only was Lopez was able to carry a film as a leading lady; she also started her own clothing company, JLO, her own perfume line Glow, and opened the Pasadena, California-based Cuban restaurant Madre's. That year she starred in two films, the romantic comedy The Wedding Planner and the thriller Angel Eyes. During the same weekend in 2001, Lopez had the number one album, J.Lo, and the number one movie, The Wedding Planner, a feat previously unheard of. Only a month after her break up with Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Lopez struck up a relationship with back-up dancer Cris Judd that she met on the set for her video "Love Don't Cost a Thing." The couple married in September of 2001. Seven months later they broke up and finally divorced in January of 2003. Lopez picked herself up quickly and began dating actor Ben Affleck, whom she met while filming the 2003-released Gigli together. In November 2002, Lopez and Affleck, to whom the press referred to as "Bennifer," announced to the press that they were engaged and she released her third album, This Is Me...Then. Lopez forever immortalized her relationship with Affleck with the track "Dear Ben" and the appearance of the couple in the video for the hip-hop inflected song "Jenny From The Block."
2002 was a busy year in the press for Lopez; along with her new engagement and album, she released two films, the gripping Enough and the romantic comedy Maid in Manhattan. Lopez was media fodder 24 hours a day, and her album sales skyrocketed. "...She deftly blends streetwise hip-hop with enough old-school soul references to keep name checkers busy for hours," wrote Billboard about This Is Me...Then.
In 2003, the Affleck and Lopez movie Gigli released to poor sales and harsh reviews. The couple's relationship didn't withstand the pressure and the pair broke off their engagement in September of 2003. Months later Lopez began dating her old friend and singing partner Marc Anthony.
After her highly publicized relationship with Affleck ended, Lopez intended on keeping her love affair with Anthony as quiet as possible. "It's not fun to have your life playing out by people who don't know you, who are just guessing, and then a million other people in the world taking that as truth. It doesn't feel good. I don't expect people to sympathize. But that's why I made the change to be more private," Lopez told Blender magazine. And so, much to the surprise of invited "party" guests on June 5, 2004, Anthony and Lopez married--only four days after Anthony was legally divorced from his first wife. That winter, Lopez costarred with Richard Gere in a remake of the film Shall We Dance.
While Lopez saw over $300 million in sales in 2004 on her clothing line alone, her entrepreneurial ventures didn't get in the way of her recording a new record. In March of 2005, Lopez released the aptly titled Rebirth. "Rebirth is a straight-ahead dance album, alternating between sweet, breezy pop tunes ... and hard-driving club tracks..." wrote All Music Guide's Stephen Thomas Erlewine. Rebirth was moderately successful. In the spring of 2005, Lopez starred in the film Monster-in-Law with Jane Fonda.
by Gloria Cooksey and Shannon McCarthy
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; Maid in Manhattan, 2002; Gigli, 2003; Shall We Dance, 2004; Monster-in-Law, 2005; signed with Sony Records, 1998; debut release, On the 6, 1998; released album This Is Me... Then, Sony, 2002; released album Rebirth, Sony, 2005.
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; ALMA Special Achievement Award, 2000; ALMA for Female Entertainer of the Year, 2000; Bambi Award, Hubert Burda Media, 2000; American Music Award, Best Pop-Rock Female Artist, 2003.
- Selected discography
- On the 6 Work Group/Columbia, 1999.
- J. Lo Sony, 2000.
- This Is Me... Then Sony, 2002.
- Rebirth Sony, 2005.
- Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television, Gale Research, Inc., 1998.
- Duncan, Patricia J., Jennifer Lopez, St. Martin's Paperbacks, New York, 1999.
- Blender, April 2005, p. 78-86.
- Cosmopolitan, April 1997; March 1999.
- Entertainment Weekly, December 1, 1995; October 9, 1998.
- In Style, June 1, 1999.
- Interview, April 1997.
- People, May 12, 1997; May 10, 1999; September 13, 1999; May 14, 2001.
- Billboard.com, http://www.billboard.com (May 26, 2005).
- "Jennifer Lopez," All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (May 26, 2005).
- JLO Official Website, http://www.shopjlo.com/bio.php (May 26, 2005).