As one of the biggest superstars in the world, Jennifer Lopez has enjoyed spectacular success as a singer, actress and dancer. Over the years, she has often praised her mother, Guadalupe, for encouraging and nurturing her showbiz ambitions from the start, describing her as “the light inside me.” By contrast, little is known about Jennifer’s father, David Lopez, who has remained largely in the shadows.
But now, Star has learned that David is a longtime member of the controversial Church of Scientology. And in an exclusive interview, he finally opens up about his beliefs — while still staying on the down-low about daughter J.Lo and the state of their relationship.
David, 72, a Puerto Rican native who worked the night shift at an insurance firm in New York City before becoming a computer technician, became intrigued by Scientology 30 years ago after reading founder L. Ron Hubbard’s book Dianetics. “That was my stepping stone,” he recalls. “I started taking little courses and doing what I could to get up the ladder.” The religion holds that people have suppressed powers that can be regained by “going clear,” or getting rid of bad behaviors — and at first, David found the doctrine “kind of scary… I had no knowledge of the processes [and] how you can go clear.”
After a while, “the fear went away and curiosity set in,” he explains. “I just wanted to do it for myself, get more personal power. I achieved that condition of power. It took a long time.” But Scientology courses are notoriously numerous — and expensive. “It’s not easy to accumulate money for processing,” David admits. “You still have to live and have a family and stuff to support… I would say [I spent] hundreds of thousands. Oh, believe me, more than I care to mention.” A source claims that David, who moved to Los Angeles after his divorce from Jen’s mom, Guadalupe, eventually ran out of money and was forced to stop taking Scientology classes in 2012. He also had to downsize from his $1 million home to a cheaper house, where he now lives with his second wife, Carla.
Jennifer, 47, spoke glowingly of her father in a 2007 interview (perhaps the only time she’s discussed his Scientologist beliefs), saying: “He’s the best man that I know in my life, and so, it’s weird to me that people want to paint it in a negative way.” But four years ago, her close friend, King of Queens star Leah Remini, left the church and began her crusade as one of its fiercest and most outspoken critics. Because of that, claims a source, “I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if Jen’s continued support of Leah drove a wedge between her and her father.” When asked about Jen’s relationship with Leah and the actress’ very public anti-Scientology crusade, David replied, “Leah, who? Oh, no, I don’t follow that. I don’t want to talk about that.”
The source claims that while Jennifer is still close with David, privately, “I think she’s disappointed that he’s spent so much of his money on the church. It could be a tough situation, because Jen has always respected her dad’s wishes in the past. Ultimately, it’s what’s best for her father that will always be Jen’s greatest concern.”