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Jennifer Lopez: 1970—: Actor, Singer, Dancer

Grew Up In Musical Household

There was always some kind of music on in the Lopez household. Guadalupe Lopez was a fan of many genres, including the girl groups from her own child-hood—the Supremes, the Shirelles, and the Ronettes. She spent Sundays while her daughters were growing up listening to disc jockey Casey Kasem's Top Forty countdown. She often would gather her daughters to watch Barbra Streisand musicals and sing, or act out songs from West Side Story in their living room. David Lopez was a fan of doo-wop music, but salsa, meringue, and rock were also heard in the house. Lopez's sisters are also musical—Lynda, her younger sister, is a radio disc jockey, VH1 VJ, and entertainment reporter on a New York morning television show, while her older sister Leslie sings opera. Because her parents were strict, Lopez spent much of what she called "the boyfriend years" in Rolling Stone sneaking around to meet up with first-love David Cruz, whom she remained with from the time she was 16 until she was 25. "I was always climbing out windows, jumping off roofs, and he was sneaking up," she said. "It was crazy."

Though father David Lopez sees talent in all of his girls, he acknowledged in Rolling Stone that "Jennifer is the one with the drive to put it all together. She was always very competitive. She's had that drive since she was a baby." Dance and singing lessons began for her at age five. She spent her entire academic career in Catholic school, and admits she still prays regularly. She was a driven student and natural athlete in gymnastics, softball, and tennis. She went out for the track team, though she had no experience. Her father feared that, new to the sport, she would be outclassed, but Lopez rose to the challenge and ended up competing nationally. "Basically, anything she wants to do, she'll be as successful as you can at it," sister Lynda Lopez told Rolling Stone. "That's the kind of person she is."

After she graduated high school, Lopez pursued her talent for dance. She split her time between her job at a law office, taking dance classes, and dancing in Manhattan clubs at night. Though she did not—and still does not—drink alcohol, her parents disapproved of her working nights so far from home and feared she was associating with a potentially dangerous crowd. She moved out of the house and was able to pay her rent with occasional work as a dancer.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: C(hristopher) J(ohn) Koch Biography - C.J. Koch comments: to Sir (Alfred Charles) Bernard Lovell (1913– ) BiographyJennifer Lopez: 1970—: Actor, Singer, Dancer Biography - Grew Up In Musical Household, Landed Fly-girl Gig, Known For Curvaceous Physique, Tangled With Law, Walked Down Aisle