She really is still Jenny from the Block.
“The last time I was in there was when my mom and dad called us home to tell us they were separating after 33 years of marriage,” Lopez told the magazine as she approached the two-story house. “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.”
Of course, the last time Lopez, now 43, had stood outside the gate to the home, she wasn’t draped in a designer mink jacket and black patent-leather stilettos like the one she donned for W’s Fall Fashion Preview issue. Not that anyone on the spring day of the shoot would have confused her for a current resident: Lopez’s assistant held up a full-length mirror so the former “American Idol” judge could keep quality control over her poses for the camera.
Lopez moved out of her Bronx home as an 18-year-old determined to be a star.
“My mom and I butted heads. I didn’t want to go to college – I wanted to try dance full-time. I was homeless,” Lopez says of nights spent sleeping on a cot in her dance studio.
“But I told her ‘This is what I have to do.'”
It didn’t take long to prove her mother wrong.
Within a year, Lopez had earned a spot as a Fly Girl on “In Living Color.” In the time since, she’s added multi-platinum album-selling singer, movie star and fashion entrepreneur to her resume.
And while her five-year-old twins Max and Emme won’t have to grow up with the same struggles she did, Lopez wants to give them the same positive example example she got from her parents.
“My dad worked nights, and I was aware of how much he was doing for us. My mom was a Tupperware lady and also worked at the school,” she tells W. “ I always felt that I couldn’t let them down.
“I love Los Angeles, but it doesn’t give me strength the way the Bronx did,” says Lopez of her current base of operations.
“All the strength that I needed for life, I got from that neighborhood.”
By Ethan Sacks