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Jennifer Lopez: Jenny From the Block Can Now Buy the Block

Quick: who’s the richest Hispanic in Hollywood? Stop rolling your eyes. We know it’s not the most difficult Hollywood trivia question, but we needed some way to start up an article about a celebrity no one’s talked about for years. Jennifer Lopez, better known to anyone who discovered her after the year 2001 as J.Lo, is an actress, singer, songwriter, dancer, fashion designer, former tabloid queen, restaurant owner, and proud owner of her own brand of perfume. She’s also the unofficial spokesperson for full-bottomed women worldwide. The only thing she hasn’t done, lately anyway, is anything gossip-worthy. (Thanks, Mark Anthony. More on him later.)

Just how did this mere mortal manage to achieve so much so early on in life? To answer this question, let’s dig way back to her Bronx roots. Hit singles like Jenny from the Block, with lyrics like “Used to have a little/now I have a lot,” suggest that Jennifer Lopez is a rags to riches story, a ghetto girl turned gold. But this story is just that, a story. Jennifer Lopez actually grew up comfortably middle class in Castle Hill, a middle-class neighborhood in New York City’s famed Bronx neighborhood. (Perhaps J.Lo realized just in time, that “Used to have a fair bit, but now have even more” was not only off-beat, but not nearly as catchy a refrain.)

Jennifer Lopzez was born to Puerto Rican parents. Like many turn-of-the-millenium celebs who tend to take their clothes off on stage and on camera, she was raised Catholic. When exactly the future J.Lo first started dreaming of becoming the future J.Lo remains unclear, but it must have been fairly young, since by age nineteen she was already putting herself through dancing and voice lessons. Even back then, the future singer/dancer/actress/perfume patron was an expert multitasker: she divided her time between part-time work in a legal office, singing and dancing classes, dance performances at various Manhattan clubs, and auditions for dance roles. After a few months of failed auditions, Jennifer Lopez started getting work dancing in rap music videos.

Most of us first spotted Jennifer Lopez in the early 1990s comedy In Living Color, a variety show which also launched the careers of notable comedians like the Wayans brothers and former Canadian Jim Carrey. All those dancing lessons were quite literally paying off: Jennifer Lopez’s role was as a dancer—or, as they were called on In Living Color, a Fly Girl.

However, ladies, if you dig through that old shoebox of New Kids on the Block paraphenelia and find that old video tape of that 1991 American Music Awards, you just might be able to spot Jennifer Lopez backup dancing during this then-successful boy band’s performance of Games.  Her shoulder-rubbing with famous pop performers didn’t stop there. She soon landed a gig as a backup dancer for a pop diva she would later upstage, Janet Jackson. We wonder if Janet Jackson now regrets giving her that steamy dance role in her video for That’s the Way Love Goes?

More trivia: who was the first Latin actress to get paid one million dollars for a film role? You guessed it: Jennifer Lopez. Interestingly, there was once a time when many believed that Jennifer Lopez was quite a talented actress. After appearing in several TV shows and movies that no one really remembers anymore, Jennifer Lopez gathered a string of critically acclaimed performances in movies like Selena, Out of Sight, The Cell and An Unfinished Life. Sadly, Jennifer Lopez decided to cut this string short, opting instead to act in cliché chick flick box office blockbusters like The Wedding Planner and Maid in Manhattan.  Hence, aside from that one Golden Globe nomination for Selena back in 1998, Jennifer Lopez’s status as a great actress remains unconfirmed.

These days, Jennifer Lopez is best known for three things: her turbulent love life with an ecletic mix of men, her catchy dance songs, and her voluptous glutus maximus. The latter is self-explanatory; we’ll let you search jennifer lopez nude for further information. As for her music, well, there’s not much to say except that she had numerous Billboard Top Ten hits, like If You Had My Love, Waiting for Tonight, Play, I’m Real and Love Don’t Cost a Thing.

Moving on to the good stuff: Jennifer Lopez has had one of the most turbulent and tabloid-worthy love lives of her generation of show business superstars. As if this woman wasn’t busy enough, she also managed to squeeze in three marriages (although, ironically, her most interesting and publicized love affairs were not with her husbands). Her first marriage was to a Cuban-born waiter in Miami, Ojaini Joa. Their marriage lasted a year. It seemed that their divorce was a friendly one—Jennifer Lopez went so far as to hire him as the manager when she opened a Pasadena restaurant called Madre’s. However, for reasons unknown, she fired him six months later. Noa retailated by suing threatening to publish a book containing details about their brief marriage. Jennifer Lopez retaliated by countersuing—something about a confidentiality agreement. Boring. Let’s move on to Noa’s successor, Sean P. Diddy Combs.

Jennifer Lopez and P. Diddy dated for two and a half years, but the public’s interest in them was pretty limited to one date in December 1999: the night that Combs’ posse and some other posse started shooting at each other in the swanky Club New York. Police chased and arrested both Jennifer Lopez and P. Diddy. For a brief period, it looked like Jennifer Lopez was about to add “criminal” to her list of accomplishments. She was charged with felony and gun possession, but the charges were later dropped. Perhaps seeing the whole incident as a kind of relationship red light, Jennifer Lopez dumped P. Diddy shortly after.

Husband number two was Cris Judd. Like his predecessor, he too had a falling out with J. Lo in Madre’s. Theirs revolved around a mysterious man presenting Jennifer Lopez with flowers from Ben Affleck in the middle of a Madre’s press shoot. According to the media, this was the most interesting thing that ever happened in their eleven-month marriage.  

But poor Cris had every reason to be suspicious, as did all those gossip gurus who hinted that Jennifer Lopez may have been unfaithful. Jennifer Lopez divorced Cris Judd in August 2002. By November 2002, she and Ben Affleck were engaged.

Aww, everyone thought. How cute. Ben and Jen. Ben and Jen was a catchy little rhyme that graced many a tabloid headline until someone, in the interest of brevity, decided to replace the and with a slash, giving rise to Ben/Jen. Then, in typical North American fashion, some other journalist came up with an even more efficient headline catch phrase: Bennifer. This fusion of names into a cringe-worthy pseudo-word launched a trend that is now well-established practice in the celebrity gossip industry, having paved the way for such modern-day terms as Brangelina (Brad Pitt + Angelina Jolie )or Burktina (fictional characters Dr. Burke + Christina in the ABC mega-hit drama, Grey’s Anatomy).

So what exactly were all these Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez headlines saying? It’s hard to believe, since no one really talks about either of them these days, but at the turn-of-the-millenium Bennifer was the Iraq of celebrity gossip magazines, that one constant arena of turmoil where editors could be sure something coverage-worthy had occurred and block daily article pages off accordingly.

Most Bennifer news seemed to centre around the money this gluttonous couple shelled out on one another. Even the most diehard Bennifer fans couldn’t help but cringe. Why does SHE need a gold-plated toilet seat? fans and formerly indifferent bystanders alike growled back in 2003, when Ben Affleck presented J. Lo with a very special gift. They self-consciously fingered their own fuzzy Wal-mart winter toilet seat covers, wondering what was so different about J. Lo’s pee. Ben Affleck also presented J. Lo with a six-carat, pink diamond, $1.2 million-dollar engagement ring. Apparenlty, Jennifer Lopez’s love did cost a little something, after all.

Jennifer Lopez insisted to the media that Ben Affleck was The One. Critics, however, pointed out that she’d said the same about Noa and Chris, too. But Ben Affleck remained The One right up until hours before their wedding ceremony, when Jennifer Lopez learned that Ben Affleck had been doing the strip club circuit the week before. Men all over the world were puzzled; why spend money to look at naked women when you can do Jennifer Lopez for free? (Okay, for $1.2 million dollars’ worth of pink diamond, but still.) The media, meanwhile, gloated: they’d TOLD us so!

When Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez finally split for real in 2004, it was one of those rare Hollywood sob stories whose silver lining wasn’t all that hard to see. Sniffling fans worldwide reasoned, at least we won’t be hearing the irritaing word Bennifer anymore. Said fans were understandably alarmed when, a year later, Ben Affleck shacked up with actress Jennifer Garner.

After Bennifer, J.Lo’s love life became boring. She’s now married to Marc Anthony. As far as this marriage goes, the tabloids were doomed from the start: Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez invited guests to an “afternoon party” that turned out to be their secret wedding back in June 2004.  Marc Anthony is a whiz at keeping the media out of his private life. And, in the true spirit of compromise that defines what marriage is all about, Jennifer Lopez has stepped out of the limelight. Case in point: she didn’t even publicly confirm this marriage until February 2005.  And no one’s heard anything about it since. To be honest, no one’s even entirely sure they’re still together.

So what exactly is J.Lo up to these days? Have you ever heard the statistic about the average person going through eight career changes in their life? It seems that J.Lo is single-handedly trying to keep that statistic alive. In addition to all her other careers, Jennifer Lopez is now adding “producer” to the list. She has her own production company, New Yorican Productions. Two of its recent films, Bordertown and El Cantante are doing festival circuits and getting good reviews. She’s also planning to launch a jewellry line and an accessory line.  She can also add “model”; in keeping up with her Love Don’t Cost a Thing theme, she’s now modelling for Louis Vuitton. Perhaps she can add “hypocrite,” as well.