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J.Lo at a crossroads

By Deborah Netburn, Los Angeles Times writer

1991: Getting noticed J-Lo ditches college at Baruch and decides to pursue dancing almost full time. It doesn’t take (too) long before she becomes a backup dancer for the New Kids on the Block at the 1991 American Music Awards, and the same year finally lands a gig as a Fly Girl on “In Living Color.”

1993: Taking it to the next level You know you’re doing something right when you’re dancing with a Jackson family member. In 1993 Lopez becomes a backup dancer for Janet Jackson and is featured in the video “That’s the Way Love Goes.” (LAT)
1995: Movie time The dancing got her on TV, but Lopez has bigger things in mind. She starts auditioning for movies and in 1995 lands a role in the Oscar-nominated “My Family” and plays “the girl” in “Money Train” with Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes.

1996-97: Moving on up! Lopez’s film career continues to grow as she lands roles opposite big-name stars like Robin Williams (“Jack”) and Jack Nicholson (“Blood and Wine”). But when she plays Selena in the biopic of the same name, she gets nominated for a Golden Globe and comes into her own as an actress. (Mark J. Terrill / AP)
1999: She sings too With the success of “Selena” and Stephen Soderbergh’s 1998 “Out of Sight,” Lopez has become a household name. Now she becomes a brand with the release of her debut album “On the 6,” which features guest stars Big Pun, Fat Joe and Marc Anthony. The album goes to the Top 10 of the Billboard charts and gives her a No. 1 single, “If You Had My Love.” To seal her superstar status, she picks up a high-profile boyfriend — Sean “Puffy” Combs. (Merrick Morton / Universal Studios)
2001: As good as it gets Lopez’s second album, titled “J.Lo,” debuts at No. 1 the same week her film “The Wedding Planner” is No. 1 at the box office. J.Lo gives the singer and actress a steady progression of singles. Lopez ditches Puffy when he is arrested on weapons charges. But she doesn’t need him. She doesn’t need anyone. She’s on top of the world! (Henny Ray Abrams / AFP)
2002: Are those cracks? Lopez’s paychecks for “Enough” and “Maid in Manhattan” help make her one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood, and both films do brisk business. Lopez’s third album, “This is Me …Then,” spawned numerous singles, but her song “Jenny From the Block” starts to irk the public — especially as reports circulate that Lopez is not the smiling, good-natured girl she portrays in her movies. This year also marks the beginning of “Bennifer.” (Barry Wetcher / Columbia Pictures)
2003: “Gigli” Lopez continues to make the Hollywood Reporter’s list of the 10 highest-paid actresses in Hollywood, but for the first time in 10 years she tastes failure with the colossal implosion of “Gigli,” the over-hyped film she made with boyfriend and fellow tabloid star Ben Affleck. (Phillip Caruso / Columbia Pictures)
2005: Keepin’ on keepin’ on Lopez manages to salvage her movie career if not her reputation. Her relationship with Affleck has failed, she’s now known as a legendary diva, but with 2004’s “Shall We Dance” and 2005’s “Monster-in-Law,” she proves she can still draw at the box office. Her album “Rebirth” quickly falls off the charts, though. (Melissa Moseley / New Line Productions)
2007: Jenny at a crossroads Lopez releases her first full Spanish-language album, “Como Ama una Mujer,” which feels a tiny bit pandering, but the album is No. 1 on the U.S. Top Latin Albums list for four weeks straight and sets the record for sales of a Spanish debut album. The film “El Cantante,” however, is a bust, with both Lopez and her costar-husband getting lambasted by the Latin Salsa community. Lopez still has projects in the works, but her career could go either way. (Matt Sayles / AP)