Ojani Noa is Jennifer Lopez’s first husband. The superstar performed at the 2020 Super Bowl halftime show with Shakira.
The former couple met while Noa was a waiter at a Miami restaurant, which was owned by Gloria Estefan. They were married in 1997, but divorced after less than a year of marriage and they are not on great terms.
Lopez and Noa have a complicated relationship. Even though they were no longer together, Lopez hired Noa in 2002 as a manager to run her new Los Angeles restaurant, Madres, according to Paper. By this time, they had been separated for nearly five years and she was already with second husband Cris Judd. She paid Noa $1,000 per week. But things didn’t go well. Lopez fired him six months after bringing him on.
Noa was not pleased and sued for Lopez in 2004 for breach of contract, claiming he was unceremoniously dismissed. The following year, they settled. As noted by The Hollywood Reporter, their agreement included confidentiality provisions that would stop Noa from profiting off Lopez. He was prohibited from revealing any personal details about his relationship with Lopez and from talking negatively his ex-wife.
In a new interview with Telemondo, Noa said he’s happy the legal battles are over, as noted by Hola. “Thank God, it all belongs to the past now. I won the two lawsuits,” he said. “I have never talked about it because I am at peace with it, and I am focused on my career.”
To find out more about Noa and his contentious relationship with Lopez, continue reading below for five fast facts:
Noa and Lopez Have Been In And Out of Court
It might seem like the first lawsuit is where the story would end, but it was only the beginning. As noted by THR, Noa flirted with the idea of writing a book in 2006 about his failed marriage, even though their settlement from the year before included a confidentiality agreement. Lopez sued him for breach of contract and a judge awarded nearly $550,000 to Lopez.
Still, that was not the end of Noa and the legal drama. He wanted to create a movie about his “tumultuous life, from Cuban immigrant to husband (and later ex-husband) of Jennifer Lopez and beyond.” Lopez hit back again, sending cease-and-desist letters.
That’s when Noa threatened to release tape that allegedly showed Lopez naked and contained other personal footage. His business partner Ed Meyer said there were “11 plus hours of previously unseen home video footage [sic] of Jennifer Lopez and Ojani Noa.” He said adult sites like Porhub were interested and they would sell to the highest bidder.
“We did as much as humans can possibly do—and that’s a lot,” Noa once told Closer in 2003, according to Paper. “Jen’s totally uninhibited and she wanted it any time, anywhere and her way.”
Lopez sued for $10 million to make sure the home footage was never released. In court papers, Lopez said she suffered “shame, mortification, hurt feelings, embarrassment, (and) humiliation.” After a lengthy legal battle, Lopez won and the tapes were never published.
Lopez Said Their Marriage Didn’t Count
Noa and Lopez were married for less than a year and they tied the knot before her career exploded. Looking back, it wasn’t a real marriage—as far as Lopez is concerned. The star made the declaration during a June YouTube video, which she created to promote her tour, It’s My Party Tour.
The conversation started while she was gushing over her wedding to fiancé Alex Rodriguez, who she’s been with since 2017. When they say “I do,” she wants it to be a big church wedding. While dreaming about her upcoming nuptials, she slammed her first marriage to Noa and second marriage to backup dancer Cris Judd.
“I’ve never been married in a church and I’ve been married three times, and once was nine months and once was 11 months, so I don’t really count those. But I was married to Marc for 10 years, with the kids,” she said. Lopez was referring to singer Marc Anthony. The two share 11-year-old twins Max and Emme.
Lopez was in a rush to get married because she didn’t like being alone. “I was very young the first two times I tried to get married. I’m saying, ‘try’ to get married,” she explained. “It seems like in this life, you’re always surrounded by people—you’re never lonely. But it’s very lonely.”
Noa Claimed Lopez’s Mother Was A Gold Digger
If you ask Noa, he’s a good guy. During a 2011 interview with the Huffington Post, Noa maintained he was simply trying to tell his side of the story.
“I just wanted to get my life and story out there and for whatever reason people have judged me and misinterpreted my life. I’m a regular guy trying to make a living and trying to work. I never in my life or 12 years since I’ve been divorced from her ever said anything bad about her or her family,” he said. “I’m not that horrible guy to her or anybody.”
In the same interview, he then accused Lopez’s mother of exploiting the singer. “Her mom went on [the] radio calling me a gold digger,” he said. “I never was a gold digger. If anything that would be her [Lopez’s mother] calling herself a gold digger because she was the one crying, asking Jennifer for money.”
Noa Appeared on Million Dollar Matchmaker in 2016
It seems like Noa takes any chance he has to slam Lopez. In 2016, nearly 20 years after their marriage, he appeared on Million Dollar Matchmaker where he told Patti Stanger that Lopez broke his heart.
“That was my first love, my first marriage,” he said. “I was looking forward to being with her for the rest of my life. It didn’t happen. She made the choice of her career instead of me.”
Noa continued to lament about Lopez. “My heart was broken in many pieces,” he told Stanger. “I was really hurt, it really hurt me.”
Noa Likes To Stay in Shape and Motivate His Followers
The actor regularly posts videos of himself working out to Instagram, where he has more than 25,000 followers. In addition to the clips, Noa also likes to share motivational quotes with his followers.
“Remember that, ‘You don’t have to be PERFECT, Just be BETTER than you were yesterday,’” he wrote in November. “Always pushing no matter what, even if your tired, keep pushing,” he added in another post the same month.
Noa also likes to include translations for his followers who speak Spanish. “The harder you work for something, the greater you’ll feel when you achieve it,” he captioned another post.
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