Jenny From The Block. Fly Girl. Actress. Rapper’s Arm Candy. Pop Star. Entrepreneur. One Half Of Bennifer.
Jennifer Lopez has been all of the above. Now, she’s ready to try on a new role – recluse.
Gone, she swears, are the days of shooting music videos with her boyfriends, dishing details of her personal life with reporters and hitting the town with her entourage.
The new Mrs. Marc Anthony insists she’s happy being a homebody. So happy, in fact, that when she leaves her Miami mansion, it’s a shock to her system.
“Literally, when I get in my car, I put my head outside of the window like a dog and let the air hit my face because I don’t get out that much,” she says.
Lopez was in Manhattan earlier this week banging the drum for Shall We Dance?, a crowd-pleaser from Peter Chelsom (Funny Bones) that’s based on a hit Japanese film of the same title.
In the movie, now playing in theaters, Lopez plays a ballroom dance instructor who helps a passion-starved lawyer (Richard Gere) rekindle the romance in his marriage to his long-time wife (Susan Sarandon).
During the making of the film, Lopez and her then-boyfriend Ben Affleck were at the white-hot center of a media feeding frenzy that only seemed to intensify after the dismal failure of their first onscreen pairing in Gigli.
Gere was aware that Lopez was under stress during the making of the movie but he says she never let anyone see her sweat.
“She came to work on time,” he recalls. “She’s a hard worker. She was there and ready to go. Sometimes, I gave her hugs. She appreciated that, I think, more than anything.”
Lopez’s quick rebound from controversy shouldn’t be that surprising: After all, she’s traveled this route before. In the years since the Bronx native burst on the scene as a Fly Girl on In Living Color, she’s been hit with criticism for everything from dating Sean “P. Diddy” Combs to her two quickie marriages to reports of her diva behavior.
Nine months after splitting up with Affleck and three months after wedding Anthony, Lopez is determined to keep her private life private.
“I’ve always just had this attitude, and maybe it’s the Bronx in me or whatever, where I was just out there and very open,” she says, during a packed press conference at the Essex House Hotel. “But the approach that I’m trying to take now is to get the focus back on what I do. I’m a singer. I’m an actress. I’m a dancer. That’s what I do for a living.”
And what a living it is. With an estimated net worth of $225 million, she’s the country’s wealthiest female entertainer under age 40.
She’s already completed two more movies: the dramatic Unfinished Life with Robert Redford and the comedic Monster In-Law with Jane Fonda. And she’s getting ready to produce her first independent film, a biopic about salsa singer Hector Lavoe.
In January, Lopez is set to release her fifth CD, an English-language collection
that she promises will be funkier than her last offerings, which have sold more than 10 million copies.
And then there’s her cosmetics line, her fragrances and an array of clothing and accessory businesses.
“I feel like everything that I’ve done and accomplished was great, but it was this other person,” she says. “Now, I’m different. I’ve grown up and I feel like you’re going to see a little bit more of that in the choices I make.
“I do feel like I’m entering phase two but, at the same time, I feel like I’m right at the beginning.”