Let‘s cut to the chase, shall we? In her five decades on this planet, Jennifer Lopez has walked down the wedding aisle a total of three times. She first married Cuban waiter Ojani Noa in 1997, before divorcing a year later. Next came her two-year marriage to dancer Cris Judd from 2001-2003. Her longest and most fruitful marriage was to singer Marc Anthony, lasting seven years from 2004 to 2014. Of course, we can‘t forget her recent nuptials in 2022 to rekindled flame Ben Affleck.
Clearly marriage agrees with Jennifer Lopez. Or perhaps it‘s just that she agrees with marriage, embracing it fully when the right partner enters her orbit. As her bestie, I‘ve long admired Jennifer‘s determination in life and love. She seems to approach relationships like a savvy shopper, seeking out quality and holding out for the perfect fit. In this post, we‘ll analyze JLo‘s relationship timeline and what it reveals about her discerning yet resilient nature.
From Fly Girl to Triple Threat
Before we dive into Jennifer‘s romantic history, let‘s reminisce about her meteoric career trajectory. Born to Puerto Rican parents in the Bronx in 1969, Lopez grew up valuing a strong work ethic. "I always believed I would be successful if I worked hard enough," she‘s said. After studying dance and honing her stage skills, she got her big break in 1991 as a "Fly Girl" dancer on the comedy show In Living Color.
From there, Jennifer hustled her way to the A-list through sheer determination. After landing minor acting gigs in the mid-1990s, she catapulted to stardom in 1997 playing slain Mexican icon Selena. Soon Jennifer became a triple threat, releasing smash albums like 1999‘s On the 6, starring in hit rom-coms like The Wedding Planner, and cementing her style icon status. Fun fact: by 2000, Jennifer‘s film roles generated over $2 billion in box office revenue!
Jennifer‘s phenomenal work ethic propelled her rise. Yet deep down, she‘s spoken of feeling lonely at the height of her fame. During her first two marriages, she often put career ahead of relationships. Since 2010, she‘s prioritized finding balance and joy in both spheres. Clearly it‘s an ongoing journey!
A Passionate Courtship Cut Short: Ojani Noa
Let‘s rewind to Jennifer‘s first-ever marriage. In 1997, she wed Cuban waiter Ojani Noa in a small civil ceremony. They actually met in 1995, when Jennifer dined at the Miami restaurant where Noa worked. She admitted feeling "electricity" the moment they locked eyes. Though seeming like an odd match, their whirlwind romance made sense given Jennifer‘s soaring career. Perhaps she hoped Noa, a non-celebrity, would provide normalcy amid the chaos. As she later told People:
"I was just going through this period in my life where I was very frightened. I had always wanted to get married and have a family. With Ojani, I just thought, ‘This is safe. He‘ll never break my heart.‘"
So they took the plunge into matrimony in early 1997. However, cracks formed quickly as Jennifer rocketed into megastardom. Her schedule took a toll on the marriage. "When I did Selena was when my marriage started falling apart," she reflected. "My life was changing in ways I never could have imagined." After just 11 months, they finalized their divorce in January 1998.
In hindsight, Jennifer realized she prioritized the wrong things. As she told Vanity Fair in 2003:
“I thought I had to be married. I thought I had to have the house and the picket fence, and I really didn’t take the time to find out who I was.”
Noa tried selling details of their relationship to tabloids post-divorce. But Jennifer learned valuable lessons from this rushed, misguided marriage.
Ready, Set, Married Again: Cris Judd
Never one to wallow, Jennifer was back on the love train by 2001. While filming her hit song “Love Don’t Cost a Thing,” she met dancer Cris Judd, who appeared in the music video. Sparks evidently flew, as they became engaged in August 2001 after just months of dating. The couple wed that September in a small ceremony at a home Jennifer had just purchased.
Despite barely knowing each other, it seemed Jennifer fell for Judd’s fun-loving charm. As she later told Diane Sawyer:
“I loved Cris, still love him . . . He‘s one of the best people. We had a great time together. And I really loved him a lot.”
Unfortunately, cracks formed as Judd struggled with being thrust into Jennifer‘s nonstop celebrity world. Her packed schedule and Media glare overwhelmed their new marriage. By June 2002, they had separated. The divorce finalized in early 2003.
Twice now, Jennifer had leapt hastily into marrying virtual strangers. Her back-to-back failed unions exposed a desperation to find stability amidst the chaos of superstardom. Still in her early 30s, Jennifer knew she needed to slow down and make wiser choices.
Third Time‘s a Charm: Marc Anthony
When Jennifer began dating singer Marc Anthony in early 2004, fans wondered if she was making the same mistake again. After all, she and Anthony moved in together just months after her split from Ben Affleck. But this time proved different. Anthony was an established Latin music star who could truly understand both Jennifer’s heritage and demanding career. He became an anchor helping steer her through tumultuous heartbreak and nonstop publicity.
Although old friends, their romantic connection kindled slowly during months working together. They married privately in June 2004 at Lopez’s sprawling Beverly Hills estate. In 2008, they welcomed twins Max and Emme, beautifully expanding their family.
For over a decade, their marriage weathered ups and downs typical of any long-term partnership. As the father of her children and most enduring relationship, Anthony holds a special place in Jennifer’s journey. When announcing their separation in 2011, she affirmed that bond, stating:
“We have come to an amicable conclusion on all matters. It is a painful process for any couple to go through."
Their divorce finalized in 2014, but they remain friendly co-parents. Of all her marriages, the maturity and intention behind her choice of Anthony is most evident. He helped ground Jennifer through her tumultuous 30s and the birth of her beloved twins.
Jennifer‘s Relationship History at a Glance
|Ojani Noa||1997 – 1998 (married)|
|Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs||1999 – 2001 (dated)|
|Cris Judd||2001 – 2003 (married)|
|Ben Affleck||2002 – 2004 (engaged)|
|Marc Anthony||2004 – 2014 (married)|
|Casper Smart||2011 – 2016 (dated)|
|Alex Rodriguez||2017 – 2021 (engaged)|
|Ben Affleck||2021 – present (engaged then married)|
Bennifer Round Two: grown-up love
Of course, we can‘t reminisce about Jennifer‘s relationship timeline without discussing the great love of her life: Ben Affleck. Let‘s look at both their high-profile romance in the early 2000s and its astonishing revival nearly 20 years later.
Jen and Ben first met on set of the panned movie Gigli in 2002. Fireworks erupted as they filmed while Jennifer was still married to Judd. They became engaged in November 2002 after Ben proposed with a $1.2 million pink diamond ring. However, in 2003 tabloid pressure derailed the relationship. With Jen
devastated, they postponed their September 2003 wedding then officially split by January 2004.
Nearly two decades later, Bennifer found their way back to each other. After Jennifer ended her engagement to Alex Rodriguez in 2021, she and Ben reconnected. They refound their friendship, rebuilding a relationship between two very changed people. By 2022, their mature devotion inspired Ben‘s gorgeous proposal with a green diamond ring.
The couple wed in July in an impromptu Las Vegas ceremony captured on video by Jennifer‘s fan newsletter On the JLo. Their happiness radiated, with Jennifer gushing:
“Love is beautiful. Love is kind. And it turns out love is patient. Twenty years patient.”
No doubt intense media attention will continue, but this time Jen and Ben seem better equipped to tune out the noise. More grounded and purposeful, they cherish this second chance at love.
Signs of Growth in How Jennifer Chooses Partners
Stepping back, I‘m struck by how much Jennifer has evolved in her approach to relationships. Back in 1997, she impulsively married virtual strangers, hoping marriage itself would provide happiness. After two divorces in three years, Jennifer realized she needed self-knowledge and maturity.
Her longest union with Marc Anthony proves she‘d learned to choose a true partner to weather life‘s storms. No longer viewing marriage as a cure-all, she searched for genuine friendship and trust. Jennifer‘s rekindled joy with Ben Affleck likewise shows someone embracing real intimacy over fantasy.
Like a wise consumer, her past ‘mistake purchases‘ helped crystallize her idea of an ideal relationship. She understands what‘s worth investing in for the long-haul. There‘s power in Jennifer‘s willingness to take risks despite heartbreaks. At 52, she remains open-hearted to love‘s possibilities.
Jennifer herself has said, “I’m not one to sit and mourn and wonder why something ended—I think everything has a reason and a time.” Her empowered perspective serves as inspiration. With her track record, I suspect a few more exciting relationship chapters lie ahead!
So in summary, the answer is that Jennifer Lopez has been married thrice before. But the true reward is the wisdom she‘s gained from each experience about herself, partnership, and the guiding power of love freely chosen. That insight will serve her well as she continues life‘s wild ride.