Jennifer Lynn Lopez (born July 24, 1969), also known as J. Lo, is an American actress, author, fashion designer, dancer, producer, and singer. She became interested in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry following a minor role in the 1986 film My Little Girl, to the dismay of her Puerto Rican parents, who believed that it was an unrealistic career route for a Hispanic. Lopez gained her first regular high-profile job as a Fly Girl dancer on In Living Color in 1991, where she remained a regular until she decided to pursue an acting career in 1993. She received her first leading role in the Selena biopic of the same name in 1997. Lopez became the first Latina actress to earn over $1 million for a role the following year, with the film Out of Sight. She ventured into the music industry in 1999 with her debut studio album, On the 6.
With the simultaneous release of her second studio album J.Lo and her film The Wedding Planner in 2001, Lopez became the first person to have a number one album and film in the same week. Her 2002 remix album, J to tha LO! The Remixes, became the first in history to debut at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200, while her fifth studio album, Como Ama una Mujer (2007), received the highest first-week sales for a Spanish album in the United States. With past record sales of over 60 million and a cumulative film gross of over $2 billion, Lopez is regarded as the most influential Hispanic performer in the United States, as well as its highest paid Latin entertainer. Along with Pitbull and Claudia Leitte, she recorded "We Are One (Ole Ola)", which served as the official song of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Beyond entertainment, Lopez enjoyed a highly successful business career, consisting of various clothing lines, accessories, fragrances, a production company, television shows and a charitable foundation among other business interests. Lopez's personal relationships have attracted worldwide media attention; she has been married three times. Following the breakdown of her first marriage, Lopez dated rapper and entertainment mogul Sean Combs. Following the breakdown of her second marriage to husband Cris Judd, she dated actor Ben Affleck. Their relationship was the subject of much media interest; their planned wedding was cancelled four days before the ceremony. Lopez then wed longtime friend Marc Anthony; they separated after seven years of marriage. Lopez gave birth to their twins, Emme and Maximilian, in 2008.
Jennifer Lynn Lopez was born on July 24, 1969, in the Castle Hill neighborhood of The Bronx, New York, to Puerto Rican parents Guadalupe Rodriguez and David Lopez. She has an older sister, Leslie, and a younger sister, Lynda, a journalist. David worked the night shift at the Guardian Insurance Company, before becoming a computer technician at the firm, while Guadalupe was a homemaker. When Lopez was born, the family was living in a small apartment. A few years later, her parents had saved up enough money to be able to purchase a two-story house, which was considered a big deal for the relatively poor family. At the age of five, Lopez began taking singing and dancing lessons. She toured New York with her school when she was seven years old. Her parents stressed the importance of work ethic and being able to speak English. They encouraged their three daughters to put on performances at home; singing and dancing in front of each other and their friends so that they would stay "out of trouble". Lopez spent her entire academic career in Catholic schools, finishing at Preston High School. In school, Lopez did gymnastics, ran track on a national level and was a member of the school's softball team. She excelled athletically rather than academically, competing in national track championships. In 1984, at the age of fifteen, she began dating David Cruz, her first boyfriend.
While attending her final year of high school, Lopez learned about a film casting that was seeking several teenage girls for small roles. She auditioned and was cast in My Little Girl (1986), a low-budget film co-written and directed by Connie Kaiserman. Lopez acted as Myra, a young woman at a center for troubled girls. After she finished filming her role in the film, Lopez realized that she wanted to become a "famous movie star". To please her parents, though, she enrolled in Baruch College, only to drop out after one semester. She told her parents about her dream of becoming a movie star, but they insisted that it was a "really stupid" idea and that "no Latinos did that". The differences in opinions led Lopez to move out of their family home and into an apartment in Manhattan. During this period, Lopez performed in regional productions of the musicals Jesus Christ Superstar and Oklahoma!. From there, she was hired for the chorus in a Golden Musicals of Broadway, which toured Europe for five months. She was unhappy with the role, as she was the only member of the chorus to not have a solo. She later got a job on the show Synchronicity in Japan, where she acted as a dancer, singer and a choreographer