Jennifer Lynn Lopez or Jennifer Lopez (also popularly nicknamed J. Lo) was born on July 24, 1969 in the South Bronx, New York where she grew up and spent most of her childhood. Her parents are both Puerto Rican and her mother, Guadalupe Rodriguez, worked as a kindergarten teacher and his father, David Lopez is a computer specialist. Lopez has two other siblings Lynda and Leslie Lopez. She spent most of her academic life entering Catholic schools, finishing high school at the Preston High School, an all-girls school located in the Bronx. Lopez loved to sing and dance and from the age of nineteen, she financed all expenses when she took up singing and dancing lessons for herself. She was able to attend one semester at Baruch College when she decided to divide her time between working at a legal office and attending dance lessons. She was also doing dance performances for several Manhattan night clubs. Lopez wanted to pursue her dreams of becoming a professional dancer and she auditioned herself for several dance roles for months until she was selected to be a dancer for various rap music videos. She also appeared in 1990 in one of the episodes for Yo! MTV Raps and as a back-up dancer for the New Kids on the Block and was seen dancing for them during their performance of the song “Games” during the American Music Awards back in 1991. Lopez got her first high profile regular stint for the television comedy program “In Living Color” in 1990 where she was part of the infamous all-female dance group The Fly Girls. She also became one of Janet Jackson’s backup dancers and appeared on her music video “That’s the Way Love Goes” in 1993.
Lopez then ventured into acting and did several appearances for short-lived television shows like South Central, Second Chances, Hotel Malibu and the made-for-television film Nurses on the Line: The Crash of Flight 7. Her first big screen performance came in 1995 when she appeared in the drama My Family and appeared on the action flick Money Train where she starred opposite Wesley Snipes. Lopez starred and played several movie roles in Francis Ford Coppola’s comedy Jack starring Robin Williams in 1996 and in 1997 appeared in the thriller Blood and Wine with Jack Nicholson. It was in the movie Selena where she first made her major breakthrough acting performance as she portrayed the true-to-life story of the late Mexican American singer who was gunned down in 1995 by a deranged fan during the height of her singing career. The movie was released in 1997 and it was for this movie that Lopez earned a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy in 1998. She was the first Latin actress to get paid $1 million or more for a film role. Lopez is credited for her acting roles with some of her critically-acclaimed films under her belt such as Out of Sight, The Cell, An Unfinished Life and Shall We Dance? with actor Richard Gere .
Lopez even produced two independent films that were well-received in film festivals namely El Cantante which was featured at the Toronto International Film Festival and Bordertown at the Brussels Film Festival. Other of Lopez’s film successes include The Wedding Planner, Maid in Manhattan, Monster-in-Law and the suspense thriller Enough where she played a battered wife out to get her revenge on her sadistic husband. Lopez starred with then actor-boyfriend Ben Affleck in the movie Gigli but the entire movie would become a critical and commercial disappointment. In April 2004 Lopez appeared in the sixth season finale of Will & Grace playing as herself. It was regarded as the show’s highest rating episode since Elton John made a guest appearance in 2002. She then again reappeared on Will & Grace on its seventh season opening episode.
Lopez had struck a deal with MTV to air her executively-produced reality show DanceLife. The concept of the show was to follow the lives of six aspiring dancers as they struggle to make it to the top of the competitive world of professional dance. She made cameo appearances during the entire course of the show’s 8-episode run which was first aired on January 15, 2007. Lopez made an appearance recently on American Idol last April 10, 2007 as a mentor.
But her love for music and singing has been her long-time passion and she was making it big in the charts when she came out with her very first album On the 6 which was released on June 1, 1999 and was able to make it on the Billboard 200. The song “If You Had My Love” was her number one lead single as well the top ten hit dance single “Waiting for Tonight”. The final single, “Let’s Get Loud”, earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Dance Recording in the 2001 Grammy Awards. “Waiting for Tonight” was then also nominated for the same category during the previous year. On January 2001, she came up with her second album simply entitled J. Lo and immediately debuted at the number one slot on the Billboard 200. It was also at the same time that her film The Wedding Planner was the number one movie at the box office shortly after. Lopez became the very first actress-singer to have a movie and an album to reach number one on the same week. The lead single “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” was her first number one single in the U.K. and number five on the US Billboard Hot 100. She followed up with other hit singles like Play, I’m Real and Ain’t It Funny. In 2002, Lopez devoted her time in remixing an entire album entitled J to tha L-O!: The Remixes on February of the said year. Famous rap artists like P. Diddy, Fat Joe and Nas were also featured on the remix album. Her album is credited as the third biggest-selling remix album of all time worldwide. Also from that same year Lopez released her third studio album This is Me… Then that spawned several hit songs like “Jenny From The Block”, “All I Have” with LL Cool J where it spent multiple weeks at number one and the controversial song “I’m Glad” wherein a lawsuit for copyright infringement was slapped against the singer for recreating scenes from the 1983 movie Flashdance. In 2007, J. Lo made her fifth English studio album entitled Brave where a snippet of the song “Mile in these Shoes” was premiered by ABC as a promo for the fourth season of Desperate Housewives.
Lopez is one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood and the highest-paid Latin actress in Hollywood history. She was included in the 2007 Guiness Book of World Records as the most powerful actress. Lopez has sold over 48 million albums worldwide and she made the Forbes magazine’s list of The 20 Richest Women in Entertainment where she ranked ninth. Her wealth is estimated to be at $110 million. Lopez is married to Latin singer Marc Anthony and they tied the knot on June 5, 2004. The singer-actress has recently given birth to fraternal twins namely Maximilian “Max” David Muniz and Emme Maribel Muniz last February 22, 2008.