Lopez, who will co-headline today's Super Bowl LIV halftime show, comes from humble beginnings, growing up with her Puerto Rican family in the Bronx. Despite suffering a few professional and personal setbacks that almost derailed her entire career, her strong work ethic, commitment to learning and speaking English, and never giving up have helped her become a headlining actress, singer, and businesswoman. Her money has come through a variety of business efforts, including her singing career, as well as an acting career and a fashion line.
She Started As A Dancer But Moved Into Acting
Lopez dropped out of college after a few months, choosing instead to focus on her entertainment career. She got her start in bit parts in low-budget movies as well as regional musical theater. She caught her first break as a backup dancer for New Kids on the Block, and then later as a backup dancer — a "Fly Girl" — on Fox's sketch comedy show In Living Color.
By 1993, Lopez had decided to hit the ground running with her acting career. As is the case with a lot of acting careers, Lopez started out small. For a few years in the early and middle 1990s, she appeared in bit parts in small movies, often of the direct-to-video variety.
However, in 1996 her star-making role came in the form of the title role in 1996's Selena, the award-winning biopic about the Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez. She was paid $1 million for the role, making her the highest-paid Latina actress in Hollywood at the time.
Soon, she was getting bigger roles alongside bigger co-stars, with paychecks to match, although not all of her films were clear winners. Some were critical and box-office duds, such as 1997's Anaconda and 2003's Gigli, which is widely considered one of the biggest stinkers in the history of cinema.
According to Women's Health, she earned $9 million or more for each of her roles in films such as Anaconda, Out of Sight, and The Wedding Planner. What's more, she owns production company Nuyorican Productions, which produced 2019's Hustlers. That movie brought in $100 million, according to Forbes, although it's unclear how much of that money went to JLo herself.
Her Music Career Has Earned Her Some Serious Cash
While her acting career was going through its growing pains, Lopez decided to branch out into a musical career.
It would be a risky move as other successful movie stars had attempted to branch into music and failed, taking their careers down with them.
Fortunately, she succeeded, and indeed, exceeded all expectations. For a while in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Lopez's albums flew off the shelves, earning her millions in the process.
Here's a quick comparison to demonstrate how stratospherically her singing career took off. On the tour to back up her 1999 album On The 6, Lopez was paid $765,000. For her 2012 "Dance Again World Tour," she was paid $50 million.
And, her three-year Las Vegas residency earned over $100 million.
She Has Her Own Restaurant, Fashion Line & Fragrance
In April 2002, Lopez opened her restaurant, Madrè's. In 2003, at the top of her music career, Lopez introduced two retail lines that would make her a multimillionaire many times over: her clothing line, JLO, and her first fragrance, Glow by J. Lo, which has gone on to produce multiple affiliated fragrances as well.
Money Nation estimates that Lopez, as of 2017, had earned $58 million from endorsement deals, $10 million from producing, and $108 million from her businesses.
She's Done Other Work
Additionally, Lopez has returned to her TV roots, only this time in a considerably more visible role. She has been a judge on American Idol for several seasons, during which she earned an estimated $12 million per year. She's also done commercial work for Italian automaker Fiat.
Even her YouTube presence — a considerable stream of revenue for lesser-known artists, but an afterthought for high-profile entertainers like Lopez — is estimated to bring in no less than around $24 million.
Lopez is estimated to have earned $50 million between June 2017 and June 2018, and $43 million between June 2018 and June 2019.
She Also Owns Some High-End Real Estate
According to Velvet Ropes, Lopez owns multiple houses, each worth millions.
For example, Lopez purchased her Beverly Hills home for $28 million. She also owns a Malibu home that she purchased for $6.6 million; a home in New York's the Hamptons that she purchased for $7,195,000; and multiple properties in New York City.
Her total real estate portfolio is estimated to be worth more than $70 million.