It’s fair to say Jennifer Lopez has lived her entire adult life in the spotlight. From a young age, the 53-year-old knew she wanted to be famous, and it didn’t take long before she hopped on the fame train and aimed at the stars.
Lopez has done everything, from singing and performing in musicals to dancing, being a judge on American Idol, and appearing in plenty of films. She’s also been married three times and raised two lovely children along the way.
Moreover, Jennifer is a true beauty – as a role model, she isn’t afraid of showing herself without makeup. If truth be told, we think she looks terrific.
Here’s all you need to know about Jennifer Lopez and her family.
Jennifer Lopez was born on July 24, 1970, in the Bronx, New York City. In a family of Puerto Rican descent, her father worked as a computer technician while her mother was a homemaker.
From a very young age, Lopez showed great talent in the creative fields. She took dancing and singing lessons throughout her childhood, and at age 7, she started to perform.
Growing up, she was formed into a very tough little girl. Primarily because of her parents, who taught her how to “hustle” and keep pursuing her dreams.
“Growing up in the Bronx really did shape me, because I grew up with not a lot,” Lopez said in a 2020 speech.
“Everything about me; my kind of grit. I never thought about it or described it this way before but it is the heartbeat inside of me that is the Bronx and my upbringing that continues to drive me.
“From very young I never wanted to be put in a box. I wanted to be smart and athletic and sweet and tough and a Tom boy but also very glam That’s why I became an actress and performer because you get to be a lot of different things.”
As a teenager, Lopez was confident that life in the spotlight was for her.
She started performing in stage musicals, and at 16, Lopez made her film debut. She had a small role in the 1986 film My Little Girl – and four years later, her television breakthrough came after she starred as a Fly Girl for 63 episodes in In Living Color.
Lopez had taken the advice of her parents and never gave up on her dream. That said, before her European breakthrough and television shows, she and her mother, Guadalupe, had a big fight over her career choices.
At one point, Lopez was forced to sleep on a sofa of her dance studio as her parents disapproved of her choosing a career in show business. In defiance, she decided to leave the house.
“My mom and I butted heads,’” Lopez told W Magazine in 2013. “I didn’t want to go to college — I wanted to try dance full-time. So she and I had a break.”
“I started sleeping on the sofa in the dance studio. I was homeless, but I told her, ‘This is what I have to do.’ A few months later, I landed a job dancing in Europe. When I got back, I booked In Living Color. I became a Fly Girl and moved to L.A. It all happened in a year.”
After her television success, Lopez’s career shot forward at the speed of light. In 1995, she starred in the well-received My Family, and a year later in the Francis Ford Coppola film Jack, also starring Robin Williams.
Two years later, in 1997, she was picked to play pop singer Selena Quintillana-Perez in the biopic Selena. Critics and viewers loved her, and Lopez was awarded a Golden Globe nomination for her performance.
“When I first came on the scene, I wasn’t trying to be the size zero model or say I wasn’t Latin and change my name, I was Jennifer Lopez,” she explained.
“I had a big butt, I embraced that, but I didn’t just wanna be the Latin actress or the one who played those roles. I wanted to do different roles.”
Several more film credits followed in the 1990s. However, in 1999, Jennifer Lopez took a leap of faith and moved into a different field when she launched her singing career and released her debut album.
“I remember feeling comfortable up there and in my own skin, and that performing came naturally to me,” she said of the experience in an interview with InStyle.
After her performance in the mentioned biopic Selena, Lopez knew she wanted to pursue a singing career.
“It was a great thing for [Selena Quintillana-Perez] to be my mentor, in a way, and to teach me so much about, yes, how to navigate this business, but also how to navigate through life,” she said in another interview.