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Jennifer Lopez will appear in the Super Bowl half-time show in Miami, the US, where she will perform with Colombian singer Shakira. Photo: USA Today Sports

Super Bowl show for Jennifer Lopez tops great year after success of Hustlers and turning 50

  • JLo will join Shakira for Super Bowl half-time show on Sunday after being nominated for a Golden Globe for her role as a pole dancer in Hustlers
  • Her relationship with Ben Affleck made tabloid headlines, but appearances on reality show American Idol got her career back on track

It’s been a pretty big year for Jennifer Lopez.

She turned 50, went on tour, earned rave reviews for her turn as a shrewd stripper in Hustlers, judged a new season of World of Dance and got engaged to retired baseball star Alex Rodriguez.

And on Sunday, she will take on the Super Bowl half-time show in Miami, one of the most-watched half-hours in American television, with Colombian singer Shakira.

“It’s a lot of energy, it’s very entertaining – there are heartfelt moments,” Lopez says. “It’s very Shakira and it’s very Jennifer.”

Shakira (left) and Lopez at the Super Bowl press conference at the Hilton Downtown in Miami. Photo: USA Today Sports

Lopez literally does it all – “Jenny from the Block” is an actress, singer, dancer, producer and businesswoman. And she says she is finally used to “being the boss”.

“Nobody in my family was really the boss of anything. We all had bosses,” she told entertainment industry magazine Variety in an interview last year. “But I guess in the past few years, I’ve come into my own in believing in myself and giving myself credit, knowing that ‘OK, you’re running the ship.’”

Lopez (left) with her fiance, retired baseball star Alex Rodriguez. Photo: AFP

Lopez was born in July 1969 in New York’s Bronx borough to a security guard father and stay-at-home mom (later a schoolteacher) from Puerto Rico. After taking singing and dancing lessons in her youth, she was cast in the 1986 film My Little Girl, and she caught the showbiz bug.

Her big break came a few years later, when she was hired as a Fly Girl dancer on the popular television variety show In Living Color. That led to dance work with Janet Jackson, and a few small screen roles.

But Lopez’s huge break came in 1997 when she was cast as slain Mexican-American singer Selena in the film of the same name.

She was chosen from more than 22,000 actresses for the role and became the first Latina actress to earn US$1 million in Hollywood – a salary which she says set a precedent and helped blaze a trail.

“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 told Variety. “It’s about getting people in the business … to believe this girl can do more.”

Lopez arrives for the 26th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards ceremony at the Shrine Auditori in Los Angeles, California. Photo: EPA-EFE

The year after Selena hit theatres, she starred opposite George Clooney in the thriller Out of Sight – a role that for many critics showed she had acting bona fides. And then in 1999, Lopez dropped her debut album On the 6. It included the mega-hits If You Had My Love, Let’s Get Loud and Waiting for Tonight. A pop star was born.

Her parents thought acting was a dead end for Latinas. Her agents kept insisting that she choose between singing and acting. Lopez refused and the rest is history. JLo, as she is more or less universally known, has sold tens of millions of albums worldwide, including more than 10 million in the US alone. Concerts on her last tour were nearly all sold out.

Her acting career has run the gamut, from the mega-flop Gigli with former beau Ben Affleck to her acclaimed performance as Ramona in Hustlers, a film she also produced. She earned a Golden Globe nomination for the role, which featured an athletic pole dance that left tongues wagging – and many thought she should have won an Oscar nod.

The 50-year-old star (left) with Constance Wu in a scene from Hustlers. Photo: TNS

Lopez’s personal life has kept her in the headlines, even when her acting and music careers have been relatively quiet, especially her relationship with Affleck, which sparked the term “Bennifer”.

But her three marriages so far, including to singer Marc Anthony, have ended in divorce. After she gave birth to twins Max and Emme in 2008, jobs were few and far between. Then came what Lopez calls her career’s second act – her decision in 2011 to join the reality competition show American Idol as a judge.

“You can’t hide on reality TV,” she told Variety. “And they got to see I was a real, caring person who was actually nice.”

She recorded songs with Pitbull and Cardi B. She starred in television police drama Shades of Blue. And then came Hustlers. Last year, she even walked the catwalk for Versace, in a reimagining of a classic barely-there dress she wore 20 years ago to the Grammys.

Lopez at the Los Angeles Film Critics Awards at the InterContinental Hotel in Century City, California. Photo: EPA-EFE

With Rodriguez, now a sports broadcaster after a long career in baseball, Lopez says she has found harmony between her professional and personal lives.

Her next act after the Super Bowl? She is mulling a turn at directing – still rather a rarity for women in Tinseltown. The project is drug lord drama The Godmother, in which she also is set to star.