Liz Smith: Jennifer Lopez — An American Idol Transformed by …”American Idol”

 And more from our Gossip Girl: will Jennifer and Bradley Cooper be the new “it” couple?

“WE ARE what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be,” said Kurt Vonnegut.

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MY GOSSIP-HAPPY heart fluttered when I read a little blurb that Jennifer Lopez and Bradley Cooper — he of the impossibly blue, blue eyes — were spotted twice, together, in public.

Will this be Jennifer’s new romance, as she “recovers” from her split from Marc Anthony? Will this be Bradley’s new romance, as he moves away from his two-year relationship with Renee Zellweger? Will it become the new cover story for InTouch, InStyle, The Star and Us Weekly? (Actually, it is already the cover of Us Weekly — they move fast!)

Who knows? But that bit of news did lead me to recollect on Miss Lopez and her various loves and career transitions.

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JENNIFER LOPEZ has been a dancer/singer/movie star/entrepreneur/gossip column fixture/happy bride and blasé divorcee for about 20 years. She’s a billionaire. She has made great big backsides fashionable — so long as the rest is in fine, firm form. We’ve followed her through the “In Living Color” Fly-Girl days …. her early bad movies (“Anaconda”) ….  her early good movies (“Selena”) …. the big hits (“Monster-In-Law,” “Out of Sight”) …. and the infamous flops (“Gigli”). And of course, we heard every day how exacting she was in her deluxe demands while on film sets, video shoots, during tours.

We’ve gone, “Oh, no, girl!” when she has married waiters and back-up dancers. We watched her go through so much with Sean “Puffy” Combs – about six red lights, if I recall correctly, fleeing the cops after that nightclub shooting incident.

In fact we — me myself, in my own column — suggested, after the sordid Sean Combs event, that it was time for Lopez to start dating or marrying big movie stars, befitting her own glossy image. So she went right out and caught herself Ben Affleck. That looked good for a second. In fact, we even took credit for her choice. Then, he literally kissed her famous backside in her “Jenny From the Block” video and it was all downhill. She got him all duded up and clean shaven and please-escort-me-to-my-next event. But he was not that kind of big movie star. He looked very uncomfortable, even when he was buying her enormous pink diamonds. Especially then! Obviously, we’d given her the wrong advice.

And then he left her crying at the altar. (Actually he left her crying at the Ivy, hours before they were to marry. It wasn’t exactly Liz n’ Dick turmoil, but it was pretty exciting and dramatic!)

Then she took up with old friend the salsa prince, Marc Anthony. He had a Miss Universe wife, and two kids but she was Jennifer Lopez and she needed comfort. (I mean, really — Ben Affleck dumped her!) Soon enough, Miss Universe was dethroned and Miss Lopez — a new, simple, more private, less diva-like Miss Lopez — became Mrs. Anthony. She still made records and movies — some good, some “meh” — but not too long ago she also made a pair of beautiful twins. So, in the eyes of millions who put stock in such things, Jennifer was a “real woman” now.

I met Mr. and Mrs. Anthony a few years back at a Time 100 gala. He was better-looking — less cadaverous — in person, and quite charming. She was a satin-skinned knockout, and seemed adorably down-to-earth. She certainly didn’t avoid conversations and interaction that night. By the way — she regrets having ever given herself the moniker J Lo. Call her Jennifer. Or Miss Lopez.

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BUT BABIES and a calm steady marriage couldn’t do for Jennifer what a TV show did. The final alteration to Jennifer’s image arrived when she agreed to become a judge on “American Idol.” A nice judge. Not babbling nice, like Paula Abdul, but terribly appealing and sympathetic. She has been a total smash. The cuddly girl behind the demanding star is fully revealed. But into every Lopez decade a little rain must fall. After seven years, Jennifer and Mark split, amicably. She has not dissed him. He has not dissed her. She has tended to her children, her job(s) and will surely wed again. She has the habit.

Paula Abdul can thank “American Idol” for reminding people she was still alive. Jennifer Lopez can thank “AI” for letting people in on her secret — she is a real person. Or at least, she is enacting a real person. What does it matter? She wants certain things in her dressing room. Like you wouldn’t if you were in her position?

Of course, there are rumors she has driven Cameron Diaz to drink on the set of the movie they’re shooting, but what would life be like without a good “Jennifer Lopez is such a diva” story? An empty thing, my friends, an empty thing.

So, I guess if Lopez and Bradley Cooper become a real item it’ll be “JenniCoop?” or “CoopJen?” or “Cooperfer?”

6 comments so far.

  1. avatar lakers says:

    oh, please I doubt it takes much to drive Cameron Diaz to drink.  Girl is not going to age well. IMO.

  2. avatar rick gould says:

    I have nothing against J. Lo personally…
    But she has been around for two decades, and truly (in)famous for half of that time.
    And if you take a good look at her movie and music titles, insubstantial would be a kind way of summing her career up.
    Publicity can enhance a career, endorsements can enhance a celebrity’s bank account, but when all you are famous for is who you’re dating/marrying and hawking half a dozen products, it’s a pretty slim resume.

  3. avatar D C says:

    I feel about Jennifer Lopez like I do when I’m at the zoo and a butterfly lands on a flower nearby, “Oh, look… pretty. Now which way is the exhibit I came here to see?” But I do have to give the woman credit for the junk-in-the-trunk shift in American attitudes. It totally wiped out the joke factor of a woman asking a man, “does this outfit make my butt look big?” and turned those of us in the no-booty brigade into objects of pity. She will be J Lo forever, to me. Now where’s my crinoline?

  4. avatar Rho says:

    I have always liked her.

  5. avatar TheTexasMom says:

    Jennifer reminds me of those girls in high school who always had to have a boyfriend, only she has taken it to the next level…..husband.

  6. avatar Aline says:

    Jennifer Lopez did a good job in the movie “Selena” years ago. And she is much less annoying than Paula Abdul on American Idol. But why, out of all the guys she has done the wild thing with, did she choose to procreate with Marc Anthony??!? Eeeeewwwww!
    To lakers: LOL your comment about Cameron Diaz. She is not the least bit pretty. That “joker” smile of hers really is not easy on the eyes.