JLo's Hard-Knock Beginnings

Jennifer Lopez lives a life of ultimate luxury today, but it wasn't always that way.

Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez is incredibly wealthy and loves the finer things in life, but the star said she worked her butt off to get there — and almost sacrificed her relationship with her mom in the meantime.

In an interview with W, Lopez explained that at the very start of her career her mom wanted her to follow a more traditional path, but she was so determined to make it in show biz that she left the safety of her parents' home and couch-surfed rather than live by their rules.

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"My mom and I butted heads," she explained. "I didn't want to go to college — I wanted to try dance full-time. So she and I had a break. I started sleeping on the sofa in the dance studio. I was homeless, but I told her, 'This is what I have to do.' A few months later, I landed a job dancing in Europe. When I got back, I booked In Living Color. I became a Fly Girl and moved to L.A. It all happened in a year."

Once she hit L.A. she was in for a real culture shock.

"I hated L.A. I was asking,'Where's the store for milk? Don't you guys walk on the street?'" she said. "Now I love Los Angeles, but it doesn't give me strength the way the Bronx did. All the strength that I needed for life, I got from that neighborhood."

But of course her biggest source of strength was her parents. They mended fences and now that Lopez is a mom herself (to twins Max and Emme with ex-husband Mark Anthony) she appreciates the lessons they taught her early on.

"I think a lot about teaching my kids to work hard. I've learned something about kids — they don't do what you say; they do what you do," she said. "I watched my parents. My dad worked nights, and I was aware of how much he was doing for us. My mom was a Tupperware lady and also worked at the school. I always felt that I couldn't let them down. And I had a natural discipline from early on. I was always training for something."

Read the complete interview with Jennifer Lopez in the August 2013 issue of W.

Image courtesy Mario Sorrenti for W

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