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EDITIONS
Monday, 11 November, 2002, 13:21 GMT
Third time lucky for J-Lo?
Jennifer Lopez
Lopez has announced her third marriage in five years

They are Hollywood's new golden couple - and now they are set to co-star in Tinseltown's wedding of the year.

Jennifer Lopez has confirmed the barely kept secret that she is to marry Ben Affleck, reportedly on Valentine's Day next year.

Their romance became common knowledge in the summer, just a few months after they met on the set of their new film Gigli.

Now the world's photolenses will be trained on the couple's every move as they seek to emerge from their very public problems of the past two years.

The stars and their weddings
Lopez joins the list of Hollywood's multiple marriages
She is the 32-year-old, twice-married sex siren whose doomed relationship with rapper P Diddy added a surge of notoriety to her Hollywood image.

He is the Oscar-winning 29-year-old Pearl Harbor leading man who has emerged from rehab to become one of cinema's brightest hopes.

Tradition

Together they represent the archetypal glamour-drenched A-list pairing - a myth reinforced by their high ratings in People magazine's Most Beautiful People in the World listings.

Lopez - who is still married to her second husband, backing dancer Cris Judd - will be joining an illustrious tradition of movie stars who have become Hollywood's serial spouses.


She still has some way to go before scaling the marital heights of Zsa Zsa Gabor, who was wed a record nine times.

Screen legends Mickey Rooney, Elizabeth Taylor and Lana Turner each said "I do" on eight occasions; while Judy Garland had five husbands before her death at the age of 47.

Lopez dated production assistant David Cruz for ten years before her first marriage in 1997 to Cuban model and actor Ojani Noa. It ended amicably a year later.

Problems

At the turn of the millennium she found herself in one of the most glamorous relationships in Hollywood as she stepped out with hip-hop mogul Sean "Puffy" Combs - once Puff Daddy, now known as P Diddy.

Beneath the glittery surface there were deep problems, culminating an a night of violence at a New York club.

A shot was fired and the pair fled. Police chased their chauffeur-driven car and confiscated a loaded gun found inside.

Ben Affleck
Affleck met Lopez on the set of Gigli
After spending 14 hours in jail, Lopez was cleared. Combs was charged, and later acquitted, of possessing a firearm.

Lopez left Combs amid lurid tabloid headlines and claims that her advisers had urged her to disassociate herself from the rapper's tough-guy image.

She later described the public nature of their relationship as being "like panthers in a cage - oh God, it was horrible".

However, neither their affair nor its fall-out did anything to harm Lopez's career - or her glitzy bad-girl persona.

If anything, it enhanced the street-tough credentials she gained from growing up in a tough neighbourhood in the Bronx, New York.

Philosophical

In October last year Lopez married Judd, one of her backing dancers, but filed for divorce in July citing irreconcilable differences.

The divorce is expected to be finalised in January - opening the way for her nuptials with Affleck, said to be planned in Puerto Rico the following month.

Jennifer Lopez with second husband Cris Judd
Lopez's divorce from Judd will be finalised early next year
Lopez, star of The Wedding Planner and Out Of Sight, has been candidly philosophical about her failed love affairs.

In May, she told an interviewer in Los Angeles: "I have definitely been through relationships that have been kind of unhealthy. You know it's wrong but you love the person and it's hard to get out."

Her romance with Affleck was bolstered on the set of Jersey Girl, which they recently finished filming with director Kevin Smith.

Affleck's personal life, while perhaps less well documented than that of his wife-to-be, has shown some signs of volatility.

Low-key

Last year the Pearl Harbor star - who jointly won a best screenplay Oscar for 1997's Good Will Hunting - checked himself into an alcohol rehabilitation centre in Malibu for "professional assistance".

He has pursued a far more low-key love life than his fiancée.

In the late 90s he dated Gwyneth Paltrow, and has been linked - falsely, he says - to famous women from Britney Spears to Carrie Fisher.

Despite their shared Hollywood pedigree, Lopez and Affleck's latest roles as man-and-wife-to-be look set to rival anything in their past careers.

See also:

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