Actress and pop singer. Born July 24, 1970, in the Bronx, New York. Lopez began her career as a dancer, appearing in stage musicals and various music videos. In 1990, she won a national competition and earned a spot dancing on the popular Fox comedy television series, “In Living Color,” as one of the “Fly Girls.”
A series of small acting jobs followed, including parts in two more series and a TV movie, Nurses on the Line: The Crash of Flight 7, in 1993. Lopez’s first feature film was the critically acclaimed Mi Familia, or My Family, in 1995. She also appeared in Money Train (1995), opposite Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson, and in Jack (1996), directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Robin Williams.
Lopez’s first big break came in 1997, when she was chosen to play the title role in Selena, a biopic of the Tejano pop singer Selena Quintillana Perez, who was killed by a crazed fan in 1995. She earned widespread praise for her performance, including a Golden Globe nomination, and became the highest-paid Latina actress in history with her paycheck of $1 million.
That same year, Lopez starred in the forgettable Anaconda and in Blood and Wine, opposite Jack Nicholson. Her role as federal marshal Karen Sisco in Steven Soderbergh’s Out of Sight, a film based on the Elmore Leonard novel and co-starring George Clooney, further enhanced her image as a bankable movie star.
Lopez’s musical career also began to take off, as she released her debut Latin pop album, On the 6 in June 1999. The album, fueled by the success of her hit single, “If You Had My Love,” went platinum within two weeks, making Lopez—along with Ricky Martin—one of the most influential examples of the growing Latin cultural influence in pop music.
Early in 2000, Lopez was nominated for Best Dance Performance for her second hit single “Waiting for Tonight,” but lost the award to veteran diva Cher. In the summer of 2000, she starred in the science fiction-thriller The Cell, in which she plays a child psychologist helping to track a terrifying serial killer. The same year, she starred in Enough, a portrayal of spousal abuse.
The popularity of the multi-talented Lopez reached new heights in early 2001, when her album, J. Lo debuted at No. 1 on the pop charts, while her film, the romantic comedy The Wedding Planner, shot to the top spot at the box office in its first week of release. In December 2002, she performed another one-two punch with the release of the record This Is Me … Then and a starring role in the comedy Maid in Manhattan, which was a box office hit, if not a critical one. In 2003, she co-starred with Ben Affleck in the box office bomb, Gigli.
Upcoming projects include Jersey Girl (also with Affleck) and An Unfinished Life, in which she plays a single mom taken in by her father-in-law played by Robert Redford. She is also set to star opposite Richard Gere in Shall We Dance?, a remake of the top-grossing Japanese flick.
Lopez was briefly married, in 1997, to Ojani Noa, a model and actor. She then had a lengthy and widely publicized relationship with rapper Sean “Puffy” Combs. In December 1999, Combs and Lopez were allegedly involved in a shooting incident outside a New York City nightclub, in which three people were injured. Combs was later charged with gun possession and bribery, as prosecutors claimed he offered his driver, Wardel Fenderson, $50,000 to say that the loaded gun police found at the scene of the crime was Fenderson’s. He was acquitted of all charges, but Combs confirmed in mid-February that he and Lopez had separated.
Shortly after her breakup from Combs was made public, Lopez began dating Cris Judd, a dancer who appeared in the video for her hit single “Love Don’t Cost a Thing.” After much media speculation, the couple announced their engagement in August 2001. They were married in late September. Nine months later, the couple separated.
In the fall of 2002, the star began dating actor Ben Affleck; they announced their engagement in November. Following rumors of the relationship’s demise, the couple broke up in early 2004. Lopez subsequently married singer Marc Anthony in June 2004 at a private ceremony at her Los Angeles mansion.