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.
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 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.