Jennifer Lopez is a living legend, and today the iconic Latina turns forty. As the richest person of Latin American descent in Hollywood (according to Forbes) she is a lot of things to a lot of people: actress, singer, mogul and mother. There is simply nothing that La Lopez can't do. We admire the fearless way she has handled herself, so we decided to take a look back at some of the most important moments of her career and personal life.
Feliz Cumpleaños, Jennifer, and thanks for all the years of entertainment!
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In Living Color
The hit sketch comedy show In Living Color launched Jennifer's career. As a "Fly Girl," Lopez enjoyed weekly exposure on one of TV's top-rated shows and got a chance to show off her considerable dance skills. But it wasn't an easy road for J.Lo. She was rejected twice by the show before finally being cast in 1990 and gaining her first regular job as a performer. Soon after she landed the television gig, she was hired by Janet Jackson as a backup dancer and made an appearance in her 1993 video for "That's the Way Love Goes." And the rest, as they say, is history.
From Selena to Maid in Manhattan
Jennifer landed her first serious movie role in Gregory Nava's 1995 drama Mi Familia/My Family, playing the role of Young Maria in the 1920's. She has said that acting alongside distinguished actors such as Jimmy Smits and Edward James Olmos made a deep impression on her. After that she landed roles in the hit film Money Train, and in Francis Ford Coppola's 1996 comedy Jack starring Robin Williams. But her big break came when she was selected to play Tejana singing sensation Selena in the 1997 biopic. She snagged a Golden Globe Award for "Best Actress-Motion Picture Musical or Comedy" for this role and never looked back. In 2002, she appeared alongside Ralph Fiennes in Maid in Manhattan, a verifiable box office hit that opened at number one and was the highest grossing film J.Lo ever appeared in, earning just under $100 million.
On the 6
Jennifer has made some serious music history since her her first album On the 6 burned up the charts. That album sold 3.7 million copies and instantly made Jennifer Lopez a household name. Her second album, simply titled JLo, was released on January 23, 2001 and featured the hit songs "Love Don't Cost a Thing," "Play," "I'm Real" and "Ain't It Funny." JLo debuted at number one, and when her film The Wedding Planner hit number one at the box office, Lopez became the first actress and singer to have both a film and an album at number one in the same week. She released J to tha L-O!: The Remixes in 2002 and when that album hit number one on the Billboard Charts it became the first album of remixes ever to do so.
Her Many Marriages
Jennifer Lopez was a certifiable maneater before Marc Anthony managed to get her to settle down for good. A true romantic in every sense of the word, Lopez went through relationships like most women go through shoes. Her first marriage was to waiter Ojani Noa back in February of 1997 and they divorced in January of 1998. Then she entered into a high-profile relationship with mogul Sean P.Diddy Combs, which lasted for two-and-a-half years. Her second marriage was to Cris Judd, a backup dancer she met on the set of the video for her hit single "My Love Don't Cost A Thing." Things ended once Jennifer began a VERY public relationship with Ben Affleck in June 2002, even though she and Judd weren't officially divorced until January of 2003. The "Bennifer" phase of J.Lo's life ended when reps for the star told the media that things were over between the publicity plagued pair on January 20, 2004. ¡Ay, que drama!
Ghetto Fabulous: 1999-2001
Jennifer went through an interesting phase when she dated Sean "Puffy/P.Diddy/Puff Daddy" Combs from 1999-2001. During this time, La Lopez was arrested in connection with a nightclub shooting when police found a stolen gun on a member of their entourage. The charges against Lopez were eventually dropped in December of 1999. She infamously rocked this outfit—courtesy of Diddy's clothing label Sean John—to the the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards, complete with rhinestone bandanna. Unfortunately, shortly afterward she and P. Diddy were finished. Perhaps because she saw a photo of herself in this outfit and could not believe he encouraged her to wear something so tacky? At least that's how it happened in our heads...
February 23, 2000 is a day that will live on in infamy. Lopez took the fashion world by storm when she wore this Versace stunner to the Grammy's that evening. The dress was designed to test the bounds of decency, with a dangerously low-cut front and sheer chiffon fabric. J.Lo accessorized with a pair of crystal studded panties, and a jeweled pin right above her navel, emphasizing the barely there nature of the frock. Everyone in Hollywood heard the collective gasp of the paparazzi and fans the second Lopez hit the red carpet. In many ways, this is the dress that launched Jennifer's star into the stratosphere.
Mogul in the Making
In 2002, J.Lo launched her first fragrance, "Glow by JLo" which met with wild success. Encouraged by the success of her first business venture, Jennifer launched her clothing line JLo by Jennifer Lopez in 2003. After the line sold like hot cakes she introduced a more she upscale line called Sweetface in 2005, infamously closing out New York's Fashion Week with an over the top show in 2006. Lopez made the 2007 Forbes magazine's list of The 20 Richest Women In Entertainment, ranking ninth. Her wealth is estimated to be $110 million.
Settled Down for Good?
After a string of high-profile relationships, marriage and engagements and break-ups, La Lopez finally settled down with her longtime friend Marc Anthony, marrying the Salsa singer on June 5, 2004. But of course there was still drama, since the wedding occurred just four days after his divorce from former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres was finalized. Amazingly enough, the ceremony was super low-key and under the radar. A close group of 40 friends and family were in attendance. Shortly after their marriage, the pair started a film production company together called Nuyorican Productions. For their first project, they tackled the tragic tale of one of Salsa's most famous figures, Hector Lavoe. The film debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 12, 2006. The movie was met with mixed reviews, but Lopez's performance was critically acclaimed.
On February 22, 2008 Jennifer Lopez gave birth to fraternal twins, a girl and a boy, named Emme Maribel Muñiz and Maximilian David Muñiz (Marc's given last name). Marc and Jennifer confirmed that they were expecting on the last night of their "En Concierto" tour on November 7, 2007, before a crowd of adoring fans who went wild when told the good news. With the announcement, they ended months of media speculation surrounding Lopez's mysterious weight gain and absence from the spotlight. She formally introduced the twins to the public in the March 11, 2008 issue of People magazine, which paid $6 million for the exclusive shots. Of motherhood, Jennifer has said, "You just mature so quickly in such a deep way, and you think life is short and you have to just go for things. You can't be afraid to try or do your best. Just do it and that's the example I want to set for my children as well. It's like you can do anything. The only thing that ever holds us back is fear. It's a useless emotion."