The Tragic Truth About Jennifer Lopez's Parents

Families can be challenging to navigate at the best of times, whether you're dirt poor or filthy rich, a Joe Schmoe, or a bona fide superstar. Jennifer Lopez has certainly struggled with this over the years, but she worked hard to mend bridges and find peace with her parents. Although it was a tough ride at times, she is now super close to both her dad, David Lopez, and mother, Guadalupe Rodríguez.

Despite her struggles growing up, Jennifer credits her parents with instilling her strong work ethic and the desire to achieve great things in life, if initially only to make them proud. "I watched my parents. My dad worked nights, and I was aware of how much he was doing for us," Jennifer told W magazine in 2013. "My mom was a Tupperware lady and also worked at the school. I always felt that I couldn't let them down."

Family difficulties aside, Jennifer's parents continue to support her through the tough times and the bad, and she's had plenty of both. There was the joy of Jennifer's twins, Emme and Max, arriving in the world in 2008. On the flip side, there's been the heartbreak of dealing with painful breakups from the string of Jennifer's husbands, boyfriends, and fiancés. There has been the startling success of her glittering, record-breaking career and her terrifying exhaustion-related panic attacks. Still, Jennifer's parents, David and Rodríguez, have always been there for their daughter.

Jennifer's relationship with her mom was strained

Jennifer Lopez and Guadalupe Rodríguez had their fair share of struggles and strife. Jennifer says her mother was a narcissist who beat her and her sisters –  Leslie and Lynda Lopez – when they were children. "She did what she had to do to survive, and it made her strong, but it also made her tough. She beat the s**t out of us," Jennifer claimed in her 2022 Netflix documentary "Halftime." Rodriguez didn't deny Jennifer's accusations. "I was far from the perfect mother," she admitted. "But the one thing I can always say is that everything I did, I always do with their best interests at heart."

Best interests or not, Jennifer had enough by age 18, and so she upped and left home. "I didn't want to go to college — I wanted to try dance full-time. So she and I had a break," Jennifer told W magazine, admitting she was homeless, sleeping on the dance studio sofa until landing her first gig.

These days, Jennifer and Rodríguez are as close as any mother and daughter. "I get all my dance moves from her," Jennifer said of her mom during an "Entertainment Tonight" interview. "As the years go by, I realize more and more the sacrifices you made of yourself and your dreams to give us the opportunity and strength to live our own. I love you and accept you for who you are," Jennifer shared on Mother's Day, May 2024.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

Jennifer's dad purportedly put his work before his kids

There could be a good explanation for the many romantic setbacks Jennifer Lopez has suffered. In her "Halftime" documentary, she said she felt rejected by David Lopez when growing up. "I felt very ignored by my dad," Jennifer admitted. "Because he was always working nights. Then, all day, he would sleep, and I didn't feel like I had enough of a connection with him."

That said, Jennifer and her father eventually made up for lost time and formed a super close bond. She said he's her biggest cheerleader and supporter. "I feel like he's always been proud since I was like running track when I was 9 or 10 years old," she told the "Today" show in 2016. "He was like, 'My daughter runs track!' ... It just didn't matter to him. He was just proud of me." Jennifer said her dad assures her that despite all the showbiz razzle-dazzle, tabloid tattle, and ups and downs, he will always love her unconditionally. "You have that in your life," she recalled him telling her. David even helped Jennifer open and run her restaurant, Madre's, in Pasadena, California, until, sadly, it was forced to close in 2008.

Jennifer's mother had a meltdown over her persuing a dance career

When Jennifer Lopez left high school, she enrolled in New York's Baruch College to study business. She worked as a secretary at a Castle Hill law firm in the Bronx to subsidize her studies. However, dancing was still Lopez's first love; she was desperate to build an entertainment career and took jazz dance classes at night. Ultimately, Lopez dropped out of college after completing one semester to pursue her dream of becoming a full-time dancer, much to the displeasure of her mom, Guadalupe Rodríguez.

In his biography "Jennifer Lopez," James Robert Parish explains that her parents "wanted her to become a lawyer. They thought it was time to put aside her passion for dancing (and her classes in Manhattan) and turn to something more practical that would ensure her financial future." Ironically, according to Forbes, Lopez was worth a cool $150 million in 2020.

Meanwhile, things became so bad between Lopez and Rodríguez that the couple stopped talking to each other. However, everybody's favorite '70s crooner ultimately reunited the warring mother and daughter. Lopez's mom loves Barry Manilow, and he was performing for Mother's Day. "So I was like, 'You know what I'm going to do? I haven't spoken to my mother for, like, eight months...' I went and bought tickets," Lopez told Jay Leno in May 2011 (via Seattle PI), admitting, "And that's when we started talking again."

Jennifer's parents' divorce still brings back bad memories

Jennifer's parents divorced in 1999 after 33 years of marriage, when she was around 29. However, despite being a fully-fledged adult, the news hit Jennifer hard, and she still feels sad and upset to this day. Jennifer opened up about how the divorce affected her in her July 2013 interview with W magazine during a tour of her old neighborhood. "I was nervous coming here today," Jennifer confessed, admitting she didn't want to go into her old home as it brought back painful memories.

"The last time I was in there was when my mom and dad called us home to tell us that they were separating after 33 years of marriage. I think that's why I was nervous about coming here today. It's like seeing someone from the past — you're afraid to run into them because you never know if it's going to be 'wow' or very difficult. This is a combination of both."

Meanwhile, despite not entering the home, Jennifer did speak to the building's new owner, who was sweeping the porch. She told him she used to live in the house as a child. "What is your name?" he asked. "My name is Jennifer," she replied, pointing out where her bedroom used to be. "Jennifer, who?" the man asked. "Jennifer Lopez," she replied, laughing. "Who's Jennifer Lopez?" he asked. Maybe she should have told him she was "Jenny from the block."

Jennifer's mom was all about Ben Affleck

Jennifer Lopez knows a thing or two — or four, but who's counting — about marriage. However, until now, she hasn't known much about marital bliss, hence the three divorces under her belt. Still, it seems that Lopez finally got her happy ending after going for round two with Ben Affleck, whom she married at Las Vegas' Little White Wedding Chapel in July 2022.

Thankfully, Bennifer is not hounded by the paparazzi 24-7 nowadays as they were when first together. That significantly contributed to their breakup in 2003, just days before they were set to say "I do" in a flashy Santa Barbara wedding. "Due to the excessive media attention surrounding our wedding, we have decided to postpone the date," Affleck and Lopez announced in a statement obtained by People.

In an "Apple Music" podcast, Lopez told Zane Lowe that Affleck is "the love of my life" and that things now are "even better than the first time." Still, nobody is happier about their reunion than Lopez's mom, Guadalupe Rodríguez. Sunny Hostin announced on "The View" in July 2022 that "I've spoken to her mother, Lupe, about [Bennifer getting back together]. Lupe has always said that Ben is her true love." Then, in May 2023, Rodríguez admitted on the "Today" show that she had prayed for two decades for the pair to reunite and that she'd known in her heart that they would one day. Tragically, there are a few signs their relationship won't last.