Jennifer Lopez is a star multiple times over. The In Living Color alum earned notices for her acting and became one of Hollywood’s biggest draws in movies like Selena, Out of Sight, The Wedding Planner, Maid in Manhattan, and Hustlers. Then Lopez proved herself a formidable musician, embarking on a career as a pop singer and hitmaker behind hits like “If You Had My Love,” “Jenny from the Block,” and “I’m Real.”
During her quick ascension to mega-stardom — and continued renown, fortune, and influence after she got famous — Lopez has always lived her life out loud, and in the public eye. Since the 1990s, she’s enthralled a public that wants to know every last tantalizing detail of her personal life. She’s engaged in a number of high-profile relationships, from hometown loves to multiple marriages to famous boyfriends to former fiancés to rumored romances. Here’s a full accounting of the loves of Jennifer Lopez, from her first major roles up to the present.
Jennifer Lopez dated David Cruz from high school into her first taste of fame
Before she emerged as both an over-the-title movie star and a pop music sensation, Jennifer Lopez broke out on television. She was a member of the Fly Girls, In Living Color‘s in-house dance troupe, and then starred in a few network TV series, including South Central and Hotel Malibu. When attending her first Hollywood events and movie premieres, Lopez sometimes brought a date along, a man named David Cruz. According to TMZ, they first got together in their New York high school days in the mid-1980s — he was 16 and she was 15. The two stayed a couple for around 10 years, through school, the years immediately after, and into Lopez’s breakthrough years in Hollywood. According to People, Cruz and Lopez split up right when the latter started landing starring roles in major movies.
Cruz moved on to a woman named Isa, with whom he was in a relationship for 18 years until his death in March 2020 from heart disease. Cruz was 51.
Ojani Noa was Jennifer Lopez's first husband
As Jennifer Lopez’s star was on the rise, she connected with a waiter named Ojani Noa. According to The Mirror, they met at the high-end Miami restaurant (owned by pop superstar Gloria Estefan) where he was working. Lopez and Noa married in February 1997 (right around the time Lopez would ascend to the A-list with Selena), but it wouldn’t last. In January 1998, the romance was over and the pair entered divorce proceedings.
The relationship was short-lived, but Noa apparently had a lot to say about his ex-wife. According to the AP (via East Bay Times), he allegedly planned to publish a tell-all book, but Lopez asked for and received a court order in 2007 preventing the project (which would have purportedly revealed explicit details about Lopez’s sexual proclivities and some alleged extramarital affairs) from going forth. The book would have violated another settlement with Noa in which he agreed to never publicly disclose private details about their marriage, and in September 2007, a judge ruled that Noa pay Lopez $545,000, according to 19 News. Things got messy again when, as The Hollywood Reporter noted, Lopez “was sued for allegedly interfering with a film that would have told the story of her doomed marriage to Ojani Noa.” In 2012, the suit was dismissed.
Jennifer Lopez and Puff Daddy were an 'it' couple
Sean Combs — known variously as Puff Daddy, Puffy, P. Diddy, Diddy, and Sean Jean — was one of the most popular rappers around in the ’90s, responsible for many smash hits of 1997, like “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” and “Been Around the World.” In the video for the latter, he danced a sensual tango with Jennifer Lopez. Two years later, Lopez had emerged as a pop singer with a level of success on par with Combs’, and when they reconnected and started a romance, they became music’s biggest power couple.
J.Lo and Puffy’s most famous public appearance is the one that had them running for their lives. In December 1999, per New York, the couple attended an album release party at a New York club and were on their way out when Combs accidentally pushed an attendee, who shoved back. The fight got worse and before long shots were fired. Three people were injured, and Combs and Lopez fled the scene in a vehicle with a gun in its trunk. Both were arrested and ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing. Nevertheless, according to ABC News, Combs confirmed through his publicist on February 14, 2001 — Valentine’s Day — that he and Lopez had split up months earlier.
Cris Judd became Jennifer Lopez's second husband
“Love Don’t Cost a Thing,” the first single off Jennifer Lopez’s second album J.Lo, was a huge hit in 2000. The accompanying music video, which featured a scantily clad Lopez frolicking on a beach, earned the singer two MTV Video Music Awards nominations and it also brought her to her second husband. Cris Judd performed as one of Lopez’s half-dozen tank top-clad male backup dancers in the clip, and the set of the video marked the jumping off point for their relationship, according to Hola! Less than a year later, in late September 2001, according to People, Lopez and Judd got married in a lavish, nondenominational ceremony in which the celebrant was Lopez’s personal attorney and “the couple exchanged matching diamond-encrusted bands.”
Diamonds may be forever, but the marriage was not. According to People, Judd and Lopez separated nine months later. And in July 2002, the couple filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. Judd continued to work as a dancer and choreographer, and he won his season of the reality show I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!
The world went wild for Bennifer
There are many reasons why the pairing of Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck caused the cultural stir that it did. Perhaps it was because in 2002 and 2003, Lopez was at the height of fame and success in both acting and music, and Affleck was huge, too. The Oscar-winning screenwriter and actor had just taken over as Jack Ryan in the Jack Ryan movies, and he was starring in the superhero movie Daredevil.
Or maybe their relationship was easier for the public to embrace because of “Bennifer,” the media-coined portmanteau to quickly identify the pair (which later became standard operating procedure for celebrity couples). They could have been fascinating because of their seeming mismatch; he’s a proud, unpretentious Bostonian, and she’s an unabashed diva. There’s also the matter of how their relationship began with a whiff of scandal — according to The Blast, they met when Lopez was married to Cris Judd, and on the set of the film Gigli. The “Bennifer” concept would overshadow that movie. Pronounced “GEE-lee,” the film in which Affleck played an organized crime guy tough guy who seduces Lopez’s character, a gay fixer. Released in 2003, Gigli was a massive box-office bomb and went on to win six Razzie Awards for bad cinema, including Worst Picture and Worst Screen Couple.
Nevertheless, Bennifer weathered the Gigli storm. Engaged since 2002, they planned for an early 2004 wedding until Affleck called the whole thing off.
Marc Anthony was Jennifer Lopez's third husband
By 2004, Jennifer Lopez was at the top of the Latin pop movement, a style helped along by pioneers like Marc Anthony, the bestselling artist ever in the subgenre of Spanish-language romantic salsa, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. (He also had a couple of Latin pop-era smashes with “I Need to Know” and “You Sang to Me.”) One musical superstar deserves another, it would seem. Per MTV News, the two met in 1998, backstage at Anthony’s Broadway musical The Capeman. They were just friends at first, and contributed to each other’s projects — Lopez in Anthony’s video “Contra La Corriente” and Anthony guesting on Lopez’s 1999 track “No Me Ames.” They dated briefly, but ultimately married other people: Lopez to Cris Judd, Anthony to Miss Universe Dayanara Torres. When both found themselves single by the end of 2003, they reconnected romantically. As MTV noted, “less than a week after his divorce to Torres was finalized,” Anthony married Lopez in a small, private ceremony.
Then they were inseparable, professionally and personally. They performed at the Grammys together, recorded songs together, toured together, attended Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration together, starred on American Idol together, and had some kids together — twins Emme Maribel and Maximillian David, in 2008. And three years after that, the couple announced that they would be ending their marriage.
Jennifer Lopez briefly dated dancer Casper Smart
Shortly after her marriage to Marc Anthony sputtered to its ignominious end in 2011, Lopez started up a romance with Casper Smart, one of her backup dancers. According to Smart in an interview with Univision’s Wake Up America (via Hola!), he first met Lopez a year earlier, on the set of her video “Dance Again” but they didn’t pursue a relationship until they were both available. “I was single, she was single,” Smart said. “There was a connection. Neither of us thought it would be more than a fun time and suddenly we were spending time together, we enjoyed each other’s company.”
What ultimately doomed the relationship: age issues. Lopez is 18 years older than Smart, and apparently far more mature. “I was very young and selfish,” he said in the aforementioned interview. “I thought I was ready for a relationship with a woman with kids and everything.” Another fatal blow for the romance? According to People, Smart reportedly stepped out on Lopez.
Jennifer Lopez rumored 'dalliance' with dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Professional dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy has ascended to some of the highest positions available in his field: He’s performed in Broadway productions, served as a partner for numerous famous women over the course of a decade on Dancing with the Stars, and he danced backup for Jennifer Lopez. And in 2014, there were rumblings that something might’ve been brewing between the two. After Lopez tweeted that she wasn’t seeing anyone in June of that year, a source told Us Weekly they spotted Lopez and Chmerkovskiy apparently being “very flirty with each other” at a club. Naturally, gums started flapping.
According to the New York Daily News, Chmerkovskiy and Lopez reportedly had a “dalliance,” and a source told E! News that they were “talking a lot and she thinks he is great, but she is being very careful.”
Whatever did or did not happen, it sounds like all is well. As Chmerkovskiy said in the aforementioned New York Daily News story, “With the Jennifer thing, look, we’re friends. This is it. This is where it ends, pretty much.” He also noted that trying to have a relationship in the limelight is “difficult” due to “all these interferences” that come along with it. And when People asked him about Lopez later that year, he said, “Yes, she’s great, I have fun. And while other names are out there … I am not a scumbag.”
Did Drake and Jennifer Lopez have a short-lived romance?
According to Entertainment Weekly, rumors were flying in late 2016 that Drake, just about the hottest thing in music in the 2010s, and perennially popular multi-hyphenate Jennifer Lopez, were a romantic item. Drake was seen at two Lopez concerts in Las Vegas, and a source told People that they were just friends. People‘s insider said that the relationship was all business and that they were literally “making beautiful music together,” but that did not quell the rumor mill. In January 2017, a source told Us Weekly that the two were “the real deal” and had “gotten very close fast,” especially after Drake, learning that Lopez didn’t go to her high school prom, arranged a winter-themed dance for her at a Los Angeles church, and had her crowned prom queen. Adding fuel to the fire? All of the oh-so-cozy Instagram photos the two took together.
In February 2017, Us Weekly reported that things apparently “died down a bit” for the two. And when Lopez appeared on The Daily Show that March (via HollywoodLife), she addressed where things stood: “Let me clear this up. I am not with Drake.”
Drake alluded to the rumored romance on 2017 track “Free Smoke,” where he raps, “I drunk text J-Lo / Old number, so it bounce back.” He name-checked Lopez again on “Diplomatic Immunity”: “2010 was when I lost my halo / 2017 I lost a J. Lo.”
Could Alex Rodriguez be husband number four for Jennifer Lopez?
At long last, after so many flings, flames, and romantic flameouts, Jennifer Lopez met a man that was also known by a portmanteau of their first initial and the first few letters of their last name.
According to Sports Illustrated, J.Lo first met A-Rod — or rather Alex Rodriguez, three-time American League Most Valuable Player — in 2005 in a stadium tunnel at a baseball game. They immediately felt a connection. “We shook hands, and it was this weird electricity,” Lopez said. However, both were married. They met again by chance in 2017 in Beverly Hills, by which time both were single. Days later, they went out to dinner, and he and won her over by texting her (during the date) that she looked “sexy as f***” and gifting her Grit, Angela Duckworth’s book about tenacity. In February 2019, the pair took a vacation to the Bahamas, during which time they became engaged, announced with matching Instagram posts.
In March 2021, Page Six reported the couple split up… only for the couple to release a statement to TMZ where they said the story is “inaccurate” and they “are working through some things.” Days later, the Daily Mail shared some photos of the two smooching in the Dominican Republic. Even in the wake of all of the rumors surrounding J.Lo and A-Rod’s relationship, it sounds like this pair is still trying to swing for the fences.
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