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The J. Lo Chronicles

The wild life and times of America's latest ubiquitous pop culture presence: Jennifer Lopez.

11:00 PM, Dec 16, 2002 • By MATT LABASH
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While we like our stars to be of the aw-shucks variety, Lopez got off to a decidedly bad start with a notorious 1998 Movieline interview in which you could smell the ambition on her. Not only did she boast "I'm the best" and "I have the stardom glow"; she also managed to alienate half of Hollywood. Cameron Diaz, she said, was "a lucky model who's been given a lot of opportunities I just wish she would have done more with." Wesley Snipes, who hit on her during a film shoot, was an "asshole." Of the Oscar-winning Gwyneth Paltrow, she said, "Tell me what she's been in? I swear to God, I don't remember anything she was in."

The blowback was swift and fierce. After going to the vet to get de-clawed, Lopez has spent her career since trying to appear humble and unostentatious--despite a large amount of evidence to the contrary. Take her new single, the brain-rotting "Jenny From the Block." In it, she implores "Don't be fooled by the rocks that I got/ I'm still, I'm still Jenny from the block/ Used to have a little, now I have a lot/ No matter where I go/ I know where I came from." Not according to the folks back on her old Bronx block, who told the New York Post, "She's a phony, a fake and she doesn't do anything for the block." On a recent made-for-TV stroll through the neighborhood with Diane Sawyer, her bodyguards shoved excited kids out of the way, leaving one tiny fan in tears.

BUT IF REPORTS are to be believed--and she's never provided any good reasons why they shouldn't--J. Lo is guilty of much more boorish behavior than that. According to news stories, her bodyguard must address her as "Number One." She has been known to order six breakfasts at a time, because she likes plenty to choose from. If her coffee isn't stirred counter-clockwise, she won't drink it. At a Vogue party, she demanded that all revelers be cleared from the ladies' room before she entered, a request that wasn't nearly as odd as when she visited the Rick Dees radio show, and had an underling warn the staffers to avoid eye contact with Her Number Oneness, while another lackey prepared her way, spraying Tuberose perfume in the studio where she'd be interviewed.

She checks her dogs into the Presidential Suite at the Ritzy Canine Carriage House, where the canines sleep on cashmere bedding, have access to a pet beauty salon, and are fitted with Swarovski crystal collars. During a 2000 BBC appearance, she set new records for diva-ness by showing up with a 60-person entourage, including three chefs and 11 interior decorators, then demanding 10 dressing rooms, all of which had to be adorned in white cotton weave and lace. All of this, so that she could go on the air to lip-synch two songs. Which makes one wonder, just what block is Jenny From the Block from? The Rue de la Paix? Worth Avenue? Mars?

Lopez, naturally, downplays her beastliness, telling Diane Sawyer of these "rumors": "At first I hated it. I really, really hated it. I was like, you know, this is so mean. Why are they saying things like this about me? Where do they get this from?" Umm--for starters, try the rider that Lopez's own people sent to the organizers of a celebrity all-star music video intended to benefit 9/11 victims. The memo detailed what amenities Lopez needed before she would show up to do 90 minutes of work.

Published by the good folks at The Smoking Gun website, the document was so heinous that it was voted the site's 2001 "Document of the Year," outscoring the next three runners up: the Osama bin Laden terrorism manual, the Timothy McVeigh prison manuals, and a U.S. spy report on Adolf Hitler. To insure the terrorists wouldn't win, video organizers were instructed to provide a 45-foot trailer, a white dressing room with white flowers, tables, drapes, and couches, "room temperature" Evian water, French aromatherapy candles, beans, rice, chicken, Cuban food, and yellow roses with red trim. Compared to her usual demands, this was actually J. Lo-maintenance.

Her diva-ness may make the Sun King look like Mitch Snyder, but it's her exhibitionistic amorousness that's really cloying. While Lopez has said she grew up idolizing the likes of Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe, and Ava Gardner, she will never touch them--stature-wise--since the central element of their appeal eludes her. They always left the public wanting more. With J. Lo, there's nothing more to want--it's all there, dolloped out scoop by scoop, in Page Six.