Inside Jennifer Lopez's Whirlwind Year From Her Perfect Proposal to Super Bowl Stardom

Halftime performer Jennifer Lopez may not be playing in the actual Super Bowl in Miami this weekend, but after the year she's had, the talented multi-hyphenate sure is feeling like a winner.

By Sarah Grossbart 01 Feb, 2020 11:00 AMTags

One year ago, Jennifer Lopez sat down with Harper's Bazaar and made a vow: "At this point in my life, I'm trying to give myself more credit."

It's something she's struggled with in the past thanks to the various detractors one tends to encounter when they reach a certain level of achievement. "It's hard when people are always telling you that you're not good at things or saying, 'Why is she successful?'" 

A notion that seems fairly insane when you consider all the talented singer-actress-dancer-designer-producer-business owner (a multi-hyphenate long before it was trendy) has accomplished, but as Taylor Swift once said, haters gonna hate, hate, hate. 

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So when Lopez was invited to host Saturday Night Live for the third time this past December, she decided to take her own advice and brag a little on the amazingness that is J. Lo. 

"This year, I gotta be honest, I've been so blessed," gushed the New York City native. "First off, I got what every girl from the Bronx dreams of: Proposed to be a Yankee." And while saying yes to Alex Rodriguez was nice and all, don't be fooled by the new 10-carat rock that she got—she did so much more this past year than land herself a new fiancé.

"I had the biggest movie opening I've ever had that included a lap dance from Cardi B," continued the Hustlers star and producer. "I went on a sold-out tour and I slayed the Met Gala. And that's not a brag—a doctor diagnosed it on the spot as a fourth-degree slay. I'm about to perform in the Super Bowl halftime show. I walked the runway in Milan for the first time wearing a dress I wore 20 years ago. You know, some people said I look better now than then. And I'm not bragging, that's just, you know, gossip. And what else? Oh yeah, oh yeah, I had a big birthday: I turned 50!" 

Matt Baron/Shutterstock

Basically, what she was getting to was that she's on her sixth decade and has never been better. "Seriously," she summed up, "what I really want to say to everyone watching out there is the best is yet to come." 

And for Lopez, that includes tomorrow night's halftime performance in Miami alongside "fellow Latina" Shakira, something she's likened to, "winning the Oscar." 

Learning she'd been tapped to headline the 54th Super Bowl, marking the NFL's 100th anniversary in her adopted city of Miami was a rush for Lopez, who grew up with her parents tuning in to watch the New York Jets battle it out each week.  

George Pimentel/Getty Images for TIFF; Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

"When we got that call from [NFL commissioner] Roger Goodell and the league and Jay-Z, we were thrilled and she was in tears," Rodriguez revealed on Today in November. "She's been rehearsing for, like, six weeks." 

Because she's J. Lo and she refuses to put anything but her very best on the floor. "It's the biggest show that there is. It has the biggest audience," she explained in a December CBS Sunday Morning interview. "You get to have like this big production. You don't get to do that on tour. Everything's like, budget-conscious and 'You can do this and you can do that.' It's a different experience and I think it's just like a fantasy for all musical artists to be able to play the Super Bowl and have like that 12 minutes of an amazing show. I don't know. There's just something exhilarating about it."  

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In deference to the moment, the two-time Grammy nominee, who has a bevy of Hot 100 singles to choose from, "has been preparing for several months now," an insider reveals to E! News, "and has been working very hard. She has been on a very strict regimen and has been very disciplined with working out every day and eating extremely clean. She also has taken a lot of time with voice coaches and her team practicing her routine. She wants it to be her best performance yet."

AM / SplashNews.com

We have no doubt it will be at least a fourth-degree slay.

And while we're unclear if the Kansas City Chiefs or the San Francisco 49ers will be left at the end, hoisting the Vince Lombardi trophy into the air, we're ready to declare Lopez as the big winner of not just the gridiron matchup but the whole shebang. 

"There were times in my life when my career was going great, and my personal life was going OK," she mused in an August Variety cover interview. "And there were times my personal life was stable, but my career was not great. This is the first time where I have a really beautiful alignment between the two." 

I mean, the stats don't lie, just check out every victory she celebrated this year:   

Dusted off her Versace

Oh, this old thing? Just something she had lying around from her appearance at the 2000 Grammys. "It was such an empowering thing," the actress recently told Vanity Fair of putting on a revamped version of the infamous jungle dress to close out Donatella Versace's Milan Fashion Week show in September 2019. "Twenty years had gone by, and I think for women, knowing you can put on a dress 20 years later—it resonated. It was like, 'Yes, you know, life is not over at 20!'"

Never Stopped Hustling

Living up to her film's name (she took on double-duty acting and producing), she hit the press circuit hard, turning out in cities from Toronto to New York City to Los Angeles in Elie Saab, Balmain and Zimmerman. Her reward: stellar box office numbers (Hustlers raked in an estimated $32.2 domestically during opening weekend) and her first Golden Globe since her 1997 breakout role as Mexican-American singer Selena Quintanilla

Yup, Still Body Goals

Just in case you forgot, she posted a sweaty October 2019 gym selfie highlighting her collection with Niyama Sol and the results of her Sunday workout session. 

Made a Teacher's Day

When she and Rodriguez spied a post from a Tennessee educator detailing how one of her students was too hungry too learn, the investors in frozen food company Tiller & Hatch arranged "to donate a year's worth of of their yummy, healthy meals, for the students and their school's food pantry," she explained in an Instagram post. "This is why being a business owner, and having actual ownership in companies (not licensing), is so important to me and Alex, especially as Latinos."  

Bagged a new gig

Lopez was announced as the new face of Coach in November 2019, dropping her spring campaign in early 2020.

Brought the funny (and high kicks) to SNL

Bigger boss move: opening Saturday Night Live with a monologue of all the ways you've been killing it or dancing toe-to-toe with the Rockettes? Lopez did both, then slipped into her standout Versace for good measure. And that was just the first few minutes. 

Scored a Golden Globes Victory

Sure, she lost the Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture prize to Marriage Story's Laura Dern, but Rodriguez ensured she still felt like a winner with his post-show Instagram tribute. "Jen, it doesn't take a trophy, medal, or plaque to identify a true champion," he wrote. "To millions of young women who have watched you and have been inspired and empowered to do amazing things in their lives, you are a champion. For countless musicians, dancers, actresses, and performers who have seen and emulate your passion, drive and work ethic to find their own success, you are a champion."

Incited an Oscar-related riot

Lopez fans got loud when they learned the Hustlers standout didn't score an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of stripper and shrewd entrepreneur Ramona. 

Super Bowl Bombshell

J.Lo and Shakira made history with their Super Bowl performance. "It's in Miami and we're both Latin artists," she explained on CBS Sunday Morning in December. "We bring that flavor."

And they delivered!

The People's Icon

Lopez was moved to tears while accepting the People's Icon Award at the 2020 E! People's Choice Awards in November. "Oh, my god 2020 man, 2020 was no joke, right?" the star said in part. "I mean, before 2020 we were obsessing about winning this award, getting nominated for that award, we were caught up on who sold the most records or who had the biggest box office opening or crazy stuff... This year was the great leveler. It showed us what mattered, what didn't and for me, reinforced what matters most—people."