Tragic Details About Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez has spent decades in the spotlight as one of the most famous multi-hyphenates in the world. Not only has she showed off her acting skills in movies such as Selena, Maid In Manhattan, and Hustlers, she’s also appeared on the small screen as a judge on American Idol and World of Dance, and as an actor in the NBC police drama Shades of Blue, where she also worked behind the camera. She’s also one of the biggest names in the music world with several hits under her belt, including classics such as “On The Floor,” “Jenny From The Block,” and “Let’s Get Loud.”
But while it may seem on the surface that the star has the perfect life, she’s certainly had a few hiccups on the way. Lopez is one of those rare A-List megastars who has no problem speaking openly about her private life, in the good and the bad times, and, unfortunately, she’s had a few tragic moments on the road to happiness. Here’s a few of those moments that have tested the mom of two’s incredible strength.
Splitting from Marc Anthony was hard for Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez has gotten very candid about her heartbreaking split from singer Marc Anthony. The former couple wed in 2004 and welcomed their fraternal twins, Max and Emme, in 2008 but confirmed they were going their separate ways in July 2011. Anthony was the one to file for divorce in April 2012.
In her 2013 documentary, Dance Again, J.Lo got extremely candid about how much she struggled after they went their separate ways, even breaking down in tears while speaking about her former husband. “Work is a blessing and a curse. I remember being on the set and being in my dressing room and not feeling like I could get up in the morning,” she recalled (via Cheat Sheet). “It was very hard to get up in the morning. Very hard. When you’re depressed and sad all the time, it’s very difficult.” Lopez confessed that it felt as though her “whole life had fallen apart” when they split, adding, “What I had known for seven or eight years with my children and everything, it was just boom. An explosion.” Though the divorce was her third, the star never imagined her romance with the “I Need to Know” singer not working out — and it was made all the harder because they share children. “My dream was for us to always be together,” she tearfully admitted. “You never want to break up a family.”
Jennifer Lopez had to break down barriers as a Lantinx woman
Jennifer Lopez is one of the most famous Latinx stars in the world, but she admitted there was a time she didn’t know if she’d ever be cast in a role that wasn’t a stereotype. Speaking to Zane Lowe on At Home With Apple Music, she said she used to wonder what her acting career would look like because she didn’t want to be typecast as “the Latin woman in the Latin role where you think I should play — the cook or the nanny or something like that.” She said she wanted to represent “everybody and make everybody see that it didn’t matter if you were Latin or black or Asian or whatever… you’re a human being.”
In 2019, J-Lo told Variety she was pigeonholed early in her career. “Maybe 30 years ago, it was very ‘Oh, you’re the Latin girl. You’ll do Spanish roles; you’ll play maids; you’ll only be limited to this little box,'” she recalled to the outlet. (Lopez, of course, famously played a maid with big dreams in 2004’s Maid In Manhattan). But she credited her strong team and her work ethic for breaking down those barriers, allowing her to take on more varied characters. Her role in 1997’s Selena — about late singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez — led to her breakthrough, as she said the movie “made the impact that it needed to make” in helping her to be seen as more than a stereotype while also inspiring people, particularly in the Latinx community.
Jennifer Lopez was homeless
It’s hard to believe now, but before Jennifer Lopez was the proud owner of multiple homes across the country (including a $40 million estate in Miami, Florida, which she owns with fiancé Alex Rodriguez, according to TMZ, and a $24 million penthouse in New York City, per Hello!) she was actually homeless. Lopez found herself out of her family home following a disagreement with her mother, Guadalupe Rodríguez, about her pursuing a dance career instead of furthering her education. Showing how serious she was about becoming a dancer despite her mom’s opposition, J.Lo started spending her nights at the dance studio she practiced at.
“My mom and I butted heads. 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,'” she recalled in a 2013 W interview. Fortunately, it wasn’t long until her dance career really took off, and that became the jumping off point for the incredible career she’s carved out for herself. Lopez got a dancing gig in Europe a few months after the fallout with her mom and then landed her dream job as a Fly Girl on the TV show In Living Color, which caused her to make the big move to Los Angeles. The rest, as they say, is history.
Money wasn't always easy to come by for Jennifer Lopez
Though she’s become one of the richest stars in the world — she’s worth a huge $400 million according to Celebrity Net Worth — there was a time when Jennifer Lopez was so poor she could only afford to eat one slice of pizza a day. Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, she recalled her bare minimum diet before landing her role on In Living Color, admitting she survived on pizza for “a couple of years.”
She shared a little more about that difficult period in a 2014 interview with The Sydney Morning Herald after she was asked what she would do if she only had $100 in the bank. “I’ve been there,” she admitted, “when I only had $100, or $20, and had to eat a pizza every day for dinner, which cost $1.50 back at that time when I was a dancer, struggling as an artist.” But while those times were certainly tough, it sounds like the “On The Floor” singer wouldn’t change them, as they’re part of what made her the global superstar she is today. “Those are the years that shape you, right?” J.Lo admitted. “When you are struggling, you’re trying to make it, you learn resilience, you learn discipline, you learn to not give up, to have faith.” Lopez added she actually found things only got “tougher” the more successful she became “because there’s more pressure, more scrutiny,” and “more expectation.”
Jennifer Lopez 'felt really bad' throughout 2020
Like many people across the globe, Jennifer Lopez had a difficult 2020. When the coronavirus pandemic forced millions of people to stay at home and away from those outside their household, Lopez locked down with her family, including fiancé Alex Rodriguez. She spoke out about how tough she found the unprecedented time in history and the effect it had on her usually very busy life.
“During this pandemic, I think there was a moment where the whole world was depressed, afraid, very afraid of what was going to happen,” she said on the Spanish language radio station El Zol 107.9 in November 2020 (translated by Today), admitting it took a toll on her mental health. “I had a lot of moments that I felt really bad, and also my kids — everyone, the whole house, my family, my girlfriends.” The star shared that she did a lot of praying during the difficult time and recalled a particularly tough moment her daughter, Emme came to her while feeling particularly down. “Emme came to my bed and she was crying, ‘Why is this happening? I miss my friends. Why is all this happening in our lives?'” she recalled, noting that there was just so much going on at the time, including the Black Lives Matter protests that took place all over the world.
Trolls have bullied Jennifer Lopez throughout her career
Even Jennifer Lopez isn’t immune to bullying. The superstar has been subject to a barrage of vicious comments over the years and hasn’t made a secret about how the negativity affected her before she learned how to ignore it. “In the early part of my career… it made me feel really bad about myself,” she confessed in 2018 (via Marie Claire) while recalling some of the hateful comments she received. “My first song went to no. 1, my first album went to no. 1, and my first movie went to no. 1, and I was like ‘yeah, I’m killin’ it.’ And then everyone was like ‘she can’t sing, she can’t dance, she can’t act — she’s just a pretty face’ or ‘her butt is big,’ or whatever they were saying about me,” she said, admitting she even started to believe the nasty comments herself. “It really hurt me for a long time,” she shared.
Lopez’s former fiancé Ben Affleck also spoke out about the hate he saw her receive during their relationship, as they dated between 2002 and 2003. On a 2021 episode of The Hollywood Reporter‘s Awards Chatter podcast, he said “people were so f**king mean about [Lopez]” and accused the tabloids in particular of writing “sexist” and “racist” things about his Gigli co-star. “Ugly, vicious s**t was written about her in ways that if you wrote it now you would literally be fired for saying those things,” he said.
Jennifer Lopez was abused in past relationships
Jennifer Lopez has been the victim of abuse in more than one past relationship. “I’ve never gotten a black eye or busted lip, but I have been in relationships where I felt abused one way or another – mentally, emotionally, verbally. I know what it feels like for your soul to be diminished by the way your loved one is treating you,” she wrote in her 2013 memoir True Love (via Cosmopolitan Philippines). Lopez suggested she didn’t know her worth at the time, admitting, “Every day that you don’t walk out that door, every day you accept things in your partner and in yourself, is a day that you’re saying, ‘It’s OK.'”
The star has since worked hard to keep her mind as healthy as her body and uses therapy to help herself get stronger. Lopez has been going to therapy since at least her early 30s and shared that it helped her to learn how to love herself properly. “I was doing all these things in like my personal relationships that didn’t seem like I was loving myself, but I didn’t even understand the concept of it. It took time and it’s a journey and it’s still a journey for me,” she said on Coach Conversations in 2021. Therapy has become an important part of her life, and she told Allure a month later that she and fiancé Alex Rodriguez attended therapy together, calling it “really helpful.”
The death of an aunt devastated Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez has made no secret of her close relationship with her family members and was left devastated after her aunt Rose died in 2019. She shared a heartbreaking and touching tribute to her aunt — who she affectionately referred to as Titi Rose — on Instagram in August of that year, where she told fans how much she loved and admired her.
Lopez shared her admiration for her long marriage to her uncle, who Rose was laid to rest next to. She wrote that the late couple’s three children were her closest cousins growing up and told fans that they had such a close bond that she considered them to be sisters. “I have so many emotions as I write this. About how fierce, tough and unapologetically herself [Rose] was… she taught me what it was to be a hard-working woman,” the singer and actor wrote of her unwavering appreciation for her aunt. “[S]he, like the other women I was fortunate enough to be raised by taught me to be independent and unafraid of life and what it would bring!” Alongside the heart-rending caption, Lopez shared a video of Titi Rose dancing with her mom, Guadalupe Rodriguez, as well as several old and new personal family photos.
Jennifer Lopez suffered a 'nervous breakdown'
A few years after her breakthrough success with Selena — before she went on to appear in movies like Maid In Manhattan and Monster In Law — Jennifer Lopez had what she described as a “nervous breakdown” on set in 2001. Lopez was shooting for the drama movie Enough and found herself suddenly hit with an unexpected wave of emotion. “I was like, I don’t want to move. I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to do anything. I had a nervous breakdown,” she told Daily Beast in 2008. Lopez said there were no telltale signs that it was coming and shared the terrifying details of how, initially, she had no idea what was happening to her and had to sit and do nothing in her trailer to calm down. “It’s funny what tricks your mind plays on you. I just didn’t want people to think I was falling apart. But when I look back on it now it’s so odd to me that those are the words I chose to say: ‘I am not weak.'”
She recalled how her bodyguard had to put her in the car and she went straight to the doctor, who diagnosed her as being “‘sleep deprived'” and “‘overworked.'” The doctor tried to prescribe her pills, though she declined them, and Lopez was told not to go back to the set until she’d had two days of sleep. She did, and, fortunately, the superstar was okay.
Jennifer Lopez's parents' divorce was difficult for her
Jennifer Lopez’s parents didn’t have the traditional happy ending to their romance, as their union ended in divorce 33 years after they tied the knot. The split took its toll on their daughter, and she struggled to return to their family home after a difficult conversation about their split. For a 2013 interview with W, she went home for the first time since her parents called her and her siblings (J.Lo has two sisters, Lynda Lopez and Leslie Lopez) back to tell them about their divorce. “I think that’s why I was nervous about coming here today. It’s like seeing someone from the past — you’re afraid to run into them because you never know if it’s going to be ‘wow’ or very difficult. This is a combination of both,” Jennifer, who didn’t want to go inside, said.
But despite the demise of their marriage, Jennifer doesn’t have a bad relationship with her parents or bad memories of her childhood growing up in the Bronx. She actually credits her mom, Guadalupe Rodríguez, and dad, David Lopez, for her strong work ethic, noting she learned how to work hard by watching them. “My dad worked nights, and I was aware of how much he was doing for us. My mom was a Tupperware lady and also worked at the school. I always felt that I couldn’t let them down,” she told W, adding she “had a natural discipline from early on.”
Jennifer Lopez has had a lot of relationship drama
Jennifer Lopez hasn’t had the best luck in her love life. Before divorcing Marc Anthony in 2014, she was married to Ojani Noa from 1997 until 1998 and Chris Judd from 2011 until 2003. Things didn’t end too well with Noa, as he tried to write a tell-all about their romance, though Lopez managed to kept her private life under wraps, blocking it following a legal battle, according to Daily Mail.
She’s also had bad luck with her boyfriends. Lopez and ex-boyfriend P. Diddy got into some hot water in 1999 after they left a party that was derailed by gunfire. As New York recounted, police found a loaded gun in the then-couple’s car. Lopez was cleared, but police detained Diddy, who was later acquitted. She then went on to get engaged to Ben Affleck in 2002, but they split mere days before their 2004 wedding. Affleck called things off and Lopez wrote in her memoir, True Love, that the split felt like her “heart was torn out of [her] chest” (via Daily Mail).
Lopez has also suffered through cheating rumors. A People source claimed in 2016 that she called it quits with longtime boyfriend Casper Smart after he allegedly cheated. She then became engaged to Alex Rodriguez in 2019, who was also hit with allegations of infidelity. (Lopez denied the claims on The Breakfast Club.) Lopez and Rodriguez faced split reports shortly after in March 2021, but made it clear they are still together but working through some difficulties.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, or call the National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264).
If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224. You can also find more information, resources, and support at www.thehotline.org.
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