Jennifer Lynn Lopez was born on July 24, 1970. Her parents came to New York from Ponce, Puerto Rico.
She is the middle of three sisters. At the age of 7, young Jennifer went on her first tour - around New York City with her dance class.At the age of 16 Jennifer got a little break with a bit part in the film ''My Little Girl'' (starring Mary Stuart Masterson). But Jennifer's first love was still dance, and when she read about a scholarship to a dance school in Manhattan, she went down and grabbed the opportunity. At this time she was taking a full time course load at Baruch, working in a law office and taking her dance classes. Eventually this would lead to a falling out with her mother, who didn't want Jennifer to pursue dance as a career. When her mother gave her the ever popular ''you live by my rules as long as you live under my roof'' speech Jennifer took that as her cue to break out on her own. Not having anywhere else to live, she took up residence in the building where she took her dance classes. A year and a half of auditioning with no success brought Jennifer to the verge of a breakdown. But salvation would come in the form of a tour that sent her dancing across Japan. Before this, she had auditioned to be a ''Fly Girl'' for the show ''In Living Color'' but she had been turned down. Upon returning from Japan, she received a call from ''In Living Color'' asking her to audition again. This time she made the cut and it was off to Hollywood. She didn't really enjoy her time on ''In Living Color'', as she longed for an acting career that would put her in the spotlight. Her first television job as an actress, on the Fox series ''South Central'' came her way because the producer of the show was married to one of the other fly girls, and he took notice of Jennifer during a special Fox aired about the Fly Girls. ''South Central'' only survived one season, but she quickly resurfaced on television screens appearing as ''Melinda Lopez'' first in the short lived ''Second Chances'' series, then ''Hotel Malibu.'' In 1995 she jumped onto the big screen in her first major role, opposite Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson in ''Money Train.'' She would go on to work opposite such talents as Robin Williams and Jack Nicholson, but it was her work with Gregory Nava, who directed her in ''My Family, Mi Familia'' that would lead her to the role that would make her a star.
After an extensive nationwide search, Jennifer was chosen to play Selena Quintanilla Perez, in the official biopic of the life of the fallen Tejano star. Taking part in the production of ''Selena'' would impact Jennifer's life in many ways. On the personal side, Jennifer's fiancéé, Ojani Noa, proposed to her at the wrap party for Selena. The couple had met in Miami while Jennifer was filming ''Blood And Wine'' with Jack Nicholson. Ojani, a Cuban immigrant, was an aspiring model working as a waiter at Gloria Estefan's restaurant, Larios On The Beach. They were married in Miami on February 22, 1997, after knowing each other less than a year. Jennifer's sudden rise to fame with the release of ''Selena'' the following month would put an excessive strain on the marriage, and the couple filed for divorce just a little over a year after they were married.
After news of the divorce made headlines, the gossip papers quickly had her romantically linked to the likes of rap impresario Sean ''Puffy'' Combs, Sony Music President Tommy Mottola and Salsa singer Marc Anthony. Jennifer herself remains tightlipped - and rightfully so - on the subject of her personal life (although she has recently admitted that she is in fact having a relationship with Puffy). Back on the professional level, her role as Karen Sisco in 1998's ''Out Of Sight'', opposite George Clooney, has brought her into the major leagues, making her the highest paying Latina actress in history. Playing Selena also brought back Jennifer's interests in being the ''all around'' entertainer, and she decided to record a demo of her singing, completely in Spanish. After a bidding war among a number of record companies, Jennifer was signed to Sony Music's Work Group label. Her first CD, a pop album with a Latin flavor (although mostly in English) was released June 1, 1999. Working with the likes of Emilio Estefan, Rodney Jerkins and Sean ''Puffy'' Combs, the music world is buzzing that Jennifer is ''the next Gloria Estefan'' set to become the mainstream Latin crossover star Selena herself surely would have been, had she been given the chance. That early prediction seems accurate, as her first single, ''If You Had My Love'' shot to 1 on the Billboard chart, and has been certified platinum (one million sales).
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