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Jennifer Lopez Opens Up About Gay Aunt Myrza at GLAAD Awards: “She Would Be So Proud of Me”

jlo jennifer lopez glaad awards
Jennifer Lopez opened up about her gay aunt Marisa, who would be "so proud" of her niece, as she accepted the top honor at the 25th annual GLAAD Media Awards. Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images for GLAAD

So happy to be at the GLAAD Awards! Jennifer Lopez accepted the top honor at the organization’s 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards held Saturday, April 12, in Beverly Hills while sharing some insight on her personal life, too.

Oscar winner Rita Moreno presented the Vanguard Award to Lopez for her work as an executive producer on the ABC Family drama series, The Fosters. “It’s ironic that Jennifer Lopez has been so successful as a judge on American Idol, because she doesn’t judge,” Moreno said.

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Glowing onstage in a sequined dress by favorite designer Zuhair Murad, Lopez shared what compelled her to sign on for yet another mega role in the entertainment industry. “When the opportunity to produce the show first came my way, I asked myself, ‘Do I do this or do I not do this?'” she told the crowd. “Being in the media, being in the public eye, it’s a bitch sometimes… I knew that the show would be controversial because of the subject matter.”

The global superstar said she listened to her “heart” and “gut” over her head when making the choice to produce The Fosters. “I’ve always felt tremendous love for the LGBT community and the LGBT community has always supported me and returned that love,” she gushed. “That was one reason I wanted to produce this.” The other? “Was my Aunt Myrza,” Lopez said.

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“Tia Myrza was my cool aunt,” the 44-year-old singer shared. “She was my mom’s older sister. I lived in the Bronx and she lived in Manhattan. Like worlds away. And she wanted to be an actress and I always wanted to be like her.”

“Myrza [was] gay in a time [when] life could be very difficult, and that her struggles were mostly kept to herself,” Lopez revealed. “It wasn’t until I got older that I really got to know and appreciate the difficulties that she dealt with and the struggles of her community.”

Jennifer Lopez & Casper Smart
Jennifer Lopez and Casper Smart attend the 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 12, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Jason Merritt/Getty Images for GLAAD

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The NYC native added, “I also realized the lessons I’ve learned from my family about love, tolerance, and acceptance. We loved her… So I wanted to do this because I thought that she would be so proud of me. I thought about that a lot when I was doing this and as I do it now. I think, ‘She would love this.'”

“El amore el el amore,” the Spanish-speaking beauty continued. “The world is changing and that’s because love is stronger than hate. It’s been proven many times tonight.”

Supported by boyfriend Casper Smart, 27, at the event, Lopez concluded, “Love is love and that’s what I tell my children everyday. It’s what we have to make everyone understand so that the world can be a better, safer, more diverse, more inclusive and more loving place and we are on our way.”

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