Jennifer Lopez is an entertainment anomaly — in the best possible way. She's an award-winning singer, a blockbuster movie star, a dancer who can shake it with the best of them, and now, thanks to her hit series "Shades of Blue," she's a bona fide TV winner. It's hard to argue with the 47-year-old's credentials or her reported $300 million net worth. Although she's gone relatively controversy-free over her career, it hasn't been all highs for J.Lo. Keep reading to revisit the ups and downs of her professional and personal life …
Jennifer Lopez got her first real on-screen time in 1991 when she starred as a Fly Girl dancer on the NBC comedy series "In Living Color." While the dancers weren't exactly the main draw of the show, they were featured rather prominently between sketches. When she joined that troupe in 1991, Keenen Ivory Wayans introduced her, saying, "We have a new Fly Girl coming all the way from Bronx, New York — Miss Jennifer Lopez." Neither Keenen nor the world realized what that young woman would soon become. (Fun fact: She was also a backup dancer for New Kids On The Block for a short amount of time.)
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Welcome to Jennifer Lopez's breakout role. In 1997, millions of moviegoers saw J.Lo on the big screen when she starred in "Selena." It's been reported that 22,000 actresses were screened for the role of Selena Quintanilla, who was murdered by a fan in 1995, but it went to Jennifer, who was pretty unknown at the time. Her casting was somewhat controversial: Several Latino advocacy groups protested, arguing that a New Yorker with Puerto Rican heritage shouldn't play a Mexican-American from Texas. J.Lo was paid $1 million for the role. The film grossed $32 million and she was nominated for a Golden Globe for her work in the film.
Jennifer Lopez's first marriage, to waiter Ojani Noa in 1997, lasted less than a year. They seemingly remained friendly, as she hired him to run her Southern California restaurant, Madre's, when it opened in 2002. But six months later, she let him go — and he sued her. Though he dropped the lawsuit in 2005, more legal drama followed just a year later when J.Lo sued her ex to prevent him from publishing a book about their marriage, claiming it violated their confidentiality agreement. She won the case the following year — along with $545,000 in compensatory damages. But Ojani still wasn't done: He later shopped around sexy honeymoon footage of J.Lo, leading her to file another lawsuit — this time for $10 million — in 2016.
Coming off the tremendous success of "Selena," Jennifer Lopez was cast opposite George Clooney in 1998's "Out of Sight." The gig made her the first Latina actress to earn more than $1 million for a role. In 2005, Jen was grilled on "The Daily Show" about George's kissing abilities, to which she replied, "He was okay! He was alright."
Jennifer Lopez's role as "Selena" reportedly inspired her to try to become a singer herself. Her debut album, "On The 6," was released in 1999 and put her firmly on the music map as it produced five singles including "If You Had My Love" and "Waiting for Tonight." Her sophomore album, "J.Lo," debuted at the top spot on the Billboard 200 chart in 2001. That album is still her most successful to date. The following year, Jen put out "This is Me… Then," which gave us "Jenny from the Block." The woman figured out a formula and did it well. The early 2000s were owned by J.Lo on the music front. Her early work earned her Grammy and American Music Award nominations as well as Billboard Music Award and MTV Video Music Award wins.
Every now and again, the movie "The Wedding Planner" starring Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Lopez pops up on cable. It might not seem like much of a movie to many people (it was panned by critics and has 16 percent positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes) but it actually did quite well at the box office and was the No. 1 movie in January 2001. Because of this box office success, J.Lo accomplished something that had never been done before: She was the first entertainer to have a No. 1 film and a No. 1 album ("J.Lo") simultaneously.
Jennifer Lopez's two-year relationship with Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs had its own set of highs and lows. The duo began dating in 1999 and seemed smitten. It would end with Jen and Puff in a legal drama. In December 1999, Puffy was arrested on weapons charges related to a shooting at a Manhattan nightclub. Jen, who was with him at the time, was also charged, but the count was dropped within an hour. The couple split as the trial began — she never had to testify. Sean was eventually acquitted on all charges.
All you have to say is "Jennifer Lopez" and "Grammys" and a vision of her in that green dress automatically pops into your head, doesn't it? The green Versace silk chiffon dress that Jen wore to the 42nd Grammy Awards in 2000 stole the show, as it left little to the imagination. At the time, Versace was known to fashion gurus, but the brand became a household name after Jen wore it. Most media outlets rank it as one of the most memorable dresses ever worn on an award show red carpet. No one would know this at the time, but J.Lo's green dress moment would have a huge impact on a then-little company called Google: In January 2015, Google President Eric Schmidt cited the massive attention given to this dress as the company's motivation for developing the Google Images search.
Jennifer Lopez's love life has long been a topic of discussion, as it's been a rocky road. Like her first marriage, her second one — to dancer Cris Judd, whom she met filming her "Love Don't Cost a Thing" video — lasted less than a year following their 2001 wedding. Eleven years after their split, Cris told Us Weekly what it was like being married to J.Lo: "Your privacy is breached. You're no longer a normal person. [Our wedding] was a circus. I think several people got arrested trying to climb up a mountain… trying to sneak in. We actually rented the airspace."
After Jennifer Lopez split with Cris Judd, this happened… In 2002, Jennifer was a box office draw and a huge tabloid darling, thanks to her high-profile romance with Ben Affleck. The real-life couple (they were engaged, remember?!) took to the screen together to star the romantic comedy "Gigli." Big, big mistake. The film is generally regarded as one of the worst movies of all time. It was also one of the biggest box-office bombs, grossing just $7.2 million on a budget said to be close to $76 million. Jen and Ben (or Bennifer, as the tabloids christened them) went on to star in "Jersey Girl" together in 2004, which also tanked. (He was in J.Lo's "Jenny from the Block" music video too.) Not long after, it was curtains for the pair. Bennifer lasted 18 months, but they'll live in our memories forever.
Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony — husband No. 3 — got married in June 2004 in a secret ceremony at her Beverly Hills home. Unfortunately, marital bliss wasn't in the cards and they split in 2011. It took another three years before they were officially divorced. Before the paperwork was final, Jen told People magazine, "You know, I've always believed in that institution. I believe in it, but it is difficult. I've had my challenges, but at the same time I believe in love, and I think that is the main thing." The two share two children together, twins Max and Emme, 9.
On Feb. 22, 2008, Jennifer Lopez welcomed twins Max and Emme with then-husband Marc Anthony. Her world changed for the better. Over the years, Jen has gushed about her little ones. On their 9th birthday in 2017, she posted a collage of images of the kids to her Instagram page. "I cant believe its 9 years ago today that God entrusted me with the biggest blessings of my life… he finally sent me my beautiful twins, my babies, my love and life in two lil human beings. I immediately felt bonded, protective, overwhelmed with emotion and like the luckiest woman on this earth. And I've felt that way everyday since."
After splitting with Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez began dating dancer Casper Smart. The relationship made headlines in part because he's 18 years her junior. The duo had an on-and-off romance for nearly five years during which time they weathered allegations that Casper had cheated. Though they coyly avoiding talking about each other early on, that eventually changed. "She's sweet, funny, nice, easygoing and gracious," he told People magazine. "You can't ask for anything more. She's beautiful." The couple called it quits in August 2016, but many still wonder if these two are destined to be together.
Jennifer Lopez took her star power to reality TV in 2011 when she signed on to be a judge on "American Idol." What is often forgotten, though, is that she was eight years removed from her last Top 10 hit as a solo artist when she joined. The show served as a bit of a launchpad for a career comeback. Jen served on the panel for two seasons before leaving in 2012. However, much to the delight of the show's producers, Jen returned in 2014 to help judge seasons 13, 14 and 15.
Jennifer Lopez earned a new title in 2014: icon. Jen was given the Icon Award at the Billboard Music Awards, an honor that, at the time, had never been bestowed upon a woman. While accepting the award, J.Lo was speechless. "Oh my God! What the heck?" she gasped. "Music has always been my first love."
Jennifer Lopez became a small-screen star when she joined the cast of NBC's "Shades of Blue" in 2016. She show was an instant hit. Jen plays Harlee Santos, a corrupt NYPD detective who framed her daughter's abusive father for murder. She's also an executive producer on the show. "I have to say they really give me the space to do the acting that I need, but you're really involved in every decision that goes on," she told Parade. "It's actually a lot of fun, to be honest, to create something from the ground up like that and to be involved at such an early stage."
On Jan. 20, 2016, Jennifer Lopez took her act to Vegas, baby, Vegas! The singer joined the likes of Britney Spears, Celine Dion and others when she launched a Las Vegas residency show. Called "All I Have," her show quickly became one of the most in-demand tickets in town, and celebrities flocked to see her at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. It quickly became the highest grossing show in Planet Hollywood history. A year after it opened, ticket revenues totaled a whopping $36 million!
Jennifer Lopez has gone most of her career without much scandal or controversy. On a couple of occasions, though, she rubbed people the wrong way. In 2016, she caused some discord on social media when she tweeted a picture of herself with Lin-Manuel Miranda. She used the hashtag "All Lives Matter." A clear reference to "Black Lives Matter," the tweet was taken down a few minutes after it was posted. That was the second time she ruffled the feathers of a swath of the public. In 2001, she was forced to defend herself after using the N-word during the "I'm Real" remix, which was performed with Ja Rule. "For anyone to think or suggest that I'm racist is really absurd and hateful to me," she told the "Today" show in 2001. "The use of the word in the song… it was actually written by Ja Rule [and] it was not meant to be hurtful to anybody."
In March 2017, it was reported that Jennifer Lopez had been secretly dating baseball stud Alex Rodriguez for months. The two were soon spotted together in Florida, Los Angeles and the Bahamas. On March 31, A-Rod confirmed the romance on "The View, " saying, "It's obvious. We've been having a great time. We're having a great time. She's an amazing, amazing girl. One of the smartest human beings I've ever met and also an incredible mother."