It’s been a long time since people have referred to Jennifer Lopez as Jenny from the Block. Over the last few decades, the actress and singer has completely turned her life around, scoring numerous box office hits and multi-platinum certified albums. She’s now an incredibly famous face in the United States and is considered the country’s most influential Latin performer. That’s a massive achievement for someone who used to share a bedroom with their two siblings.
However, while J-Lo might now have everything she could ever want in life – the big house, the famous partner, the successful career – she’s never forgotten where she’s come from. She might not be viewed as Jenny from the Block anymore, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t still feel like that person. Her childhood in the Bronx had a significant influence on her life, and she’ll never forget those years where money was a major concern. It’s the hard times from her past that have made her appreciate everything she’s got now.
Overcoming her problems
The last few decades have been incredibly kind to J-Lo. She’s released eight successful albums, several dozen movies, and racked up a net worth of approximately $400 million. Although things haven’t always been great, particularly when it comes to her love life, Lopez has moved past every bump in the road with great ease.
She’s used to overcoming hard times now, having grown up in one of New York City’s most deprived areas. The problems she faces now are nothing compared to the issues of her past.
Saving up their money
Lopez was a resident of The Bronx from the moment she was born. The middle child of Puerto Rican parents, she had to learn to live sparingly from day one. Although her parents did all they could to provide for their children, it wasn’t easy for them. Their salaries didn’t cover as much as they would have liked, and caring for kids costs a lot more than you might think. However, although Jennifer and her sisters weren’t living a life of luxury, the siblings were never left wanting.
Their parents always managed to cater to their basic needs and still had some money left to spare. Rather than use it to splash out on treats though, the couple stashed it away in the hopes they’d one day be able to buy a bigger place. Their small apartment wasn’t doing it for them anymore, not with all their kids.
Moving up in the world
Fortunately, a few years after Jennifer was born, her parents had their wish come true. They’d managed to save enough to afford a two-story house in Castle Hill, the neighborhood they already lived in. It wasn’t a huge step up, but for the family, it was an incredible achievement. Through hard work and determination, the couple had been able to improve their lives. It set a perfect example for their children of what they could achieve if they put in the effort.
The new house didn’t offer loads of space, with Jennifer still having to share a bedroom with her two sisters. However, compared to their old apartment, it was basically a mansion. Things like the living room, kitchen, and bedroom all had their own space, and there was even a yard where the children could play when it was nice outside. This was a major improvement.
Sacrificing their time
Lopez always appreciated the things her parents did to help keep their family afloat. At such a young age, it was hard for her to understand just how much it took for her mom and dad to bring home enough money for all five of them. However, from day one she’d grown up with very little, so she’d learned not to take anything for granted. That’s not to say the singer didn’t wish she’d been able to spend more time with her parents though, particularly her father.
The man initially worked nights so he’d have enough money to look after his family. Unfortunately, that meant he often had to sleep during the day, leaving him with very little time to spend with his daughters. While he was doing this, Jennifer’s mother was working as a Tupperware lady, as well as having a job at her daughter’s school.
Not the nicest neighborhood
With their parents quite busy trying to bring home the bacon, Jennifer and her sisters were often left to their own devices. They found ways to keep themselves busy, although their mom and dad were concerned about what this meant for their safety. As they grew older, they were more interested in exploring the local area and doing their own thing. However, their neighborhood wasn’t the nicest area to be in, especially for people at such a vulnerable age.
Castle Hill didn’t always have the best reputation, even amongst people in the Bronx, and a lot of it remained undeveloped for a long time. Although there have now been efforts to improve the area and rejuvenate it a little, the changes mainly didn’t come until after Lopez had moved out of the neighborhood. While she was living there, she had to bear the brunt of its bad reputation.
She can handle herself
Of course, although Castle Hill might not have been the best area to live in, J-Lo didn’t know a life outside of the neighborhood. She’d grown up surrounded by these people and the dangers some of them might have posed, so she knew how to handle herself.
Things might have been different had she moved to the area when she was a little older. However, because she’d always been a resident there, the Bronx was in her blood. She wasn’t going to let anyone try and mess her around.
Home on the range
Although their two-story property wasn’t much, Jennifer and her family treated the house like it was the nicest place in the world. It was somewhere they could call their own, so they did their best to look after it.
The singer’s father used to have a vegetable patch in the yard where he grew things like corn and green beans that the family cooked for meals. Jennifer believes he’d once dreamed of owning a farm, so that was apparently where the inspiration for the vegetable patch came from.
Sitting on the swing
The yard used to be J-Lo’s favorite part of the house because of the tree that sat in the front. Her father had made a swing using some rope and wood, and it proved to go down well with his daughters.
Jennifer, in particular, loved spending time on that swing, and she spent years hanging out there alone or with friends. She revealed in an interview that she’d started sitting there when she was ten-years-old, and she’d continued to use it all the way until she was 16.
Putting on a show
Aware that the neighborhood wasn’t the safest place for her kids to spend their time, Jennifer’s mom would come up with ways to keep her daughters busy. She wanted to stop them from getting into trouble, so she’d ask them to put on shows and perform for her and their friends.
Both of J-Lo’s parents were aware that if they didn’t try to keep their children on the straight and narrow, it would be easy for them to go off the rails. Luckily, their daughters never got into any serious trouble.
Getting her head down
Not only would Lopez’s mother encourage her to perform to keep her in line, but she’d also enforce the importance of having a good work ethic. The singer’s parents wanted their kids to understand that if you worked hard, you could achieve your dreams.
Jennifer had already seen that from the way her parents dedicated themselves to bringing home a paycheck. Unfortunately, J-Lo was never academically-minded. Even when she tried, she couldn’t get the grades her parents had hoped for. She was much more suited to physical activities.
Discovering her dream
It seems all those shows Jennifer was putting on when she was younger were a sign of the future she was headed for. Since she was just five-years-old, the aspiring star was taking lessons in both singing and dancing, and she always put 110% into her efforts.
Lopez had quickly found that performing was something she loved to do, and it wasn’t long before she started considering it as a viable career. Unfortunately, her artistic interests didn’t receive as much support from her family as she’d have hoped.
Time to break free
Whatever she decided to do, Jennifer couldn’t wait around hoping something would fall in her lap. She had to follow her dreams if she wanted them to come true; otherwise, she’d find herself stuck in a rut.
The level of unemployment in Castle Hill was reasonably high, with the area now boasting a rate that’s more than New York City as a whole. There wasn’t much left for J-Lo in the neighborhood, especially if she was hoping to break into the entertainment industry. She needed to get out of there.
Falling out with mom
Unfortunately, as much as she had a dream, Lopez didn’t have much of a plan. She knew that she wanted to become a star, but how she was going to achieve that wasn’t clear. Her mother didn’t approve of the direction Jennifer was heading in, and she hadn’t done for years.
That eventually came to a head when J-Lo was in her late teens, and she realized that college wasn’t for her. She and her mom spent some time apart, with Jennifer becoming homeless as a result.
The make or break year
The aspiring star spent a few months sleeping in a dance studio, but it all turned out for the best. Eventually, she landed a dancing gig in Europe, and as soon as she returned to America, she became a Fly Girl in Los Angeles.
Things had been up in the air for a while, but Lopez had landed on her feet, and things were looking hopeful. Although her mother was still concerned things wouldn’t work out, her doubts were put to rest when Lopez scored her leading role in biopic Selena.
Adjusting to Hollywood
Since then, things have obviously picked up for J.Lo. By the mid-’00s, she already had four top ten albums out, as well as a good handful of commercially successful movies. Things kept working out in the star’s favor, and it proved that this was the life that she’d always been destined for.
However, adjusting to it had taken some time. Upon moving to L.A., she’d reportedly hated the area, finding it difficult to adapt to the way people lived there. Things are a lot different now though.
A city of stars
Lopez joins a long list of stars who have made it big after growing up in Castle Hill. Other notable people who once lived in the neighborhood include Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Kerry Washington. Both counted themselves as residents when they were younger, and they’ve now gone on to great things.
Tyson studied at Harvard and went on to have a significant involvement in Pluto’s planetary reclassification. Washington, on the other hand, has become a famous actress known for shows like the political thriller Scandal and legal dramedy Boston Legal.
Her marital home
As Lopez’s fame has continued to soar, she’s found herself with more money than she ever thought possible. Like most people in her position, she’s used that cash to buy herself some amazing homes to live in, and she’s now racked up quite a few pricey properties.
Back when she was still married to her third husband, Marc Anthony, she used to live in this Long Island mansion that covered a whopping eight acres. When they sold it following their divorce, it went on the market for $12 million.
The house of her dreams
That’s roughly the same amount of money that J-Lo wanted to sell her Hidden Hills mansion for a few years ago. Decked out with everything you could ever want in a home, as well as a backyard pool, a home cinema and a games room, Lopez couldn’t find anything wrong with this incredible property.
Her younger self wouldn’t have ever believed she’d end up in a place like this, but for a time, this was the house she called home. However, after a while, she decided to move somewhere new.
Paying a pretty penny
Although she’s put her houses on the market for some massive prices, none have been as big as her New York City penthouse. Back in 2017, the singer decided she was ready to move on from the Manhattan property, so she slapped an asking price of $27 million on it.
Given her net worth is somewhere in the region of $400 million, it’s not that hard to believe she could afford to buy this penthouse in the first place. However, it’s still a long way from her deprived upbringing.
Looking for more space
That’s not the only Manhattan property that J-Lo has called home in recent years. For a short time, she lived in a condo with now-fiancé Alex Rodriguez. They only purchased the place for $15 million in 2018, but soon decided that it didn’t offer them the space they needed.
Given that both Lopez and Rodriguez have two kids of their own, it’s understandable that they wanted somewhere that offered room for everyone. With only three bedrooms, the condo didn’t quite live up to the couple’s high expectations.
Ready to settle down
It seems that the singer has now swapped Manhattan for the Los Angeles neighborhood of Bel Air. She and Rodriguez have reportedly purchased a home in the area for $28 million, and the property is as incredible as you’d expect.
It combines classic architecture with modern touches to give the lovebirds the perfect place to start their new lives together. We expect that J-Lo is excited by the prospect of settling down again, hopefully for the last time. There’s only so many times that the singer can get married.
She’ll never forget
It’s incredible to see how far J-Lo’s come since being Jenny from the Block. There was once a time when living in a house with a second story was something worth celebrating. Now, she’s spending nearly $30 million on a place to settle down in with her family – money’s no longer a big concern.
However, just because she’s doing well for herself that doesn’t mean she’s forgotten her roots. No matter where she goes, she knows where she came from, and that will always be important to her.
Or will she?
While there have been countless stories and rumors of Jennifer Lopez’s alleged diva behavior, one of them takes the cake – and it involves her old neighborhood. In an ad for car manufacturer Fiat, Lopez was seen driving through the streets of the Bronx while reminiscing on her past life there.
There was really only one problem – she flat-out refused to go there to film it! If some reports are to be believed, closeup shots were filmed in Los Angeles, while a body double was used for the Bronx shots. Ouch.
Paying homage for the first time
Any fan of Jennifer Lopez worth their salt would be able to tell you one of her most popular early songs, Jenny from the Block, was all about how she has not forgotten her working class roots. What even diehards might not remember, however, is that the title of her very first album alluded to her early struggles.
The album’s title, On the 6, was a reference to J-Lo’s early days commuting into Manhattan from the Bronx on the subway. We bet she doesn’t need to ride the 6 anymore.
Needing some Medicine
In early April 2019, J-Lo released a new single, Medicine, and it had the borough of her birth running all the way through it. Firstly, she collaborated on it with Morrocan-American rapper French Montana. Their third collaboration together, Montana is also a Bronx native.
The song also features a horn section that is emblematic of the sound so synonymous with the Bronx. “I love collaborating with people from the Bronx,” Lopez proudly stated, “it makes me feel at home, like a special connection”
Used to have a little, now she has a lot
These days, J-Lo has her own line of signature luxury footwear, created together with Italian designer Giuseppe Zanotti. In the not-too-distant past, however, Lopez recalled owning only one pair of sneakers or sandals, and wearing them until they had holes in them.
Speaking at the line’s launch, she recalled her Bronx upbringing and not being able to afford more than one pair of shoes. It was during her European tour for that aforementioned first album that she realized she’d made it, when she walked into her hotel room to find it was full of shoes.
Going back for the happiest day of her life?
Jennifer Lopez is currently engaged to be married to New York Yankees legend Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod, as he’s known to fans, spent the majority of his 22-year career with the Yankees, playing his home games at, you guessed, the Bronx’s Yankee Stadium.
His romance with J-Lo seems more and more like a match made in heaven, doesn’t it? You ain’t heard nothing yet. A reporter suggested to the former baseball player that he may tie the knot in Yankee Stadium itself, special as it is to both of them, and Rodriguez didn’t shoot it down!