Dancer-singer-actress Jennifer Lopez hadn't danced, sung or acted much since taking time off to have kids — though since People reportedly paid her and husband Marc Anthony $4 million to $6 million in 2008 to parade them on a magazine cover, it's ironically the most successful thing she's done in years.
Before her hiatus, she had a string of flop movies, a single that didn't crack the Billboard Top 10, and an American Music Award downshift from favorite pop/rock female artist in 2003 to the more niche favorite Latin artist in 2007. Oh, and her record label just dropped her.
Now the 40-year-old star is calibrating a comeback that has included guest appearances on "How I Met Your Mother," "Saturday Night Live" and reportedly an upcoming episode of "Glee," all to support her romantic comedy "The Back-up Plan," opening Friday.
And in the meantime, with businesses encompassing everything from music to movies to a clothing line to a Cuban restaurant, she's the ninth-richest woman in entertainment, says Forbes magazine.
So, shed no tears for her career. Dancer-singer-actress or waitress-writer-dog walker, we all have our highs and lows. Here are hers
After her film debut as a teen in the 1986 indie drama "My Little Girl," she went on to gain a toehold as a professional dancer. Joining the Fly Girls troupe on the sketch-comedy series "In Living Color" in 1991, she left after two seasons.
After three episodes of the Fox drama "South Central," she gained attention and an Independent Spirit Award nomination in 1995 for her role in Gregory Nava's "My Family." That same year, her first big studio film, the Woody Harrelson-Wesley Snipes actioner "Money Train," flopped — but showcased her as the next hot young ingenue.
Big Break, 1996-1997
Following Francis Ford Coppola's "Jack" (1996) and Bob Rafelson's "Blood and Wine" (1997) came the explosion: "Selena," Nava's 1997 biopic of the murdered Tejano singer, did modest box office but made Lopez a star. The horror hit "Anaconda" swiftly brought more attention.
Big Time, 1998-2001
Lopez scored great reviews for her out-of-the-box performance as a federal marshal in Steven Soderbergh's "Out of Sight" (1998), opposite George Clooney. She scored a No. 1 single, "If You Had My Love," in 1999, and her debut album, "On the 6," went all the way to No. 8. Then came the successful "The Cell" (2000) and "The Wedding Planner" (2001), plus a No. 1 album (2001's "J.Lo").
Cruising Along, 2001-03
Two movies tanked in a row (2001's "Angel Eyes," 2002's "Enough"), though "Maid in Manhattan" proved a hit. And her album "J to Tha L-O!: The Remixes" made it to No. 1. But her next, "This Is Me ... Then," peaked at No. 2. Her signature single, "Jenny From the Block," stalled at No. 3 in late 2002. Her next, "All I Have," featuring LL Cool J, did hit the top a couple of months later.
Jenny From the Flop, 2003-07
Following media saturation of "Bennifer" — Jennifer and fiance Ben Affleck — the couple's movie "Gigli" (2003) was a critical and commercial dud.
The prestige drama "An Unfinished Life" (2005) sank big time, as did "El Cantante" (2007), the biopic of salsa pioneer Hector Lavoe. Her album "Rebirth" (2005) peaked at No. 2.