After years (and years) of speculation, Jennifer Lopez finally revealed the origin of her nickname, J. Lo.
“J. Lo came from Heavy D,” the Grammy nominee, 50, told fellow World of Dance judges Ne-Yo and Derek Hough on the Tuesday, July 21, episode. “Remember Heavy D, the rapper? He would come into the studio when I was making my first album, and he would always call me Jenny Lo.”
Lopez recalled that she had been dating Sean “Diddy” Combs at the time, and their high-profile relationship also played a role in her decision to use the moniker.
“Puffy and Jennifer Lo and Jenny Lo was showing up in records. Like, they were talking about us in records and stuff like that,” she explained. “So I was like, ‘I’m gonna name the album J.Lo.’”
Ne-Yo (real name Shaffer Smith), for his part, told the Shades of Blue alum and Hough, 35, that his stage name came from Keanu Reeves’ character in The Matrix, Neo.
“I used to pride myself on how fast I could write a song,” the “Miss Independent” singer, 40, said. “A producer friend of mine said, ‘Man, you’re like the Neo of the music industry.’”
Years before her latest explanation, J. Lo credited her fan base with giving her the iconic nickname.
“I’d go to MTV or wherever and there would be kids carrying signs that said ‘J. Lo,’” she told the Chicago Tribune in January 2001. “It’s kind of like street terminology, and it kind of caught on.”
After launching her music career in 1999 with her debut album, On the 6, Lopez released her sophomore effort, J.Lo, in 2001. It featured hits such as “Love Don’t Cost a Thing,” “Play,” “Ain’t It Funny” and “I’m Real.” She has since released six more studio albums, including 2002’s This Is Me… Then, 2007’s Brave and her most recent, 2014’s A.K.A.
The actress has continued to stay busy amid the COVID-19 pandemic, working on World of Dance, which she also produces, and preparing for her upcoming movie The Godmother. The coronavirus crisis did, however, force her and her fiancé, Alex Rodriguez, to postpone their wedding in Italy.
“Everything has been just on a pause,” the former New York Yankees player, 44, said on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in April. “[We’ll] see where the world takes us. Obviously, this is an unprecedented time. And for us, we just want to make sure that we think safety first.”