The Juice

Why Jennifer Lopez Is Afraid to Step Inside Her Childhood Home

J.Lo (W)Jennifer Lopez is not as fearless as you'd think.

In fact, there is one thing she absolutely refuses to do: step foot inside her childhood home.

While walking along the streets of her native Bronx, New York, neighborhood during an interview for the August issue of W magazine, Lopez points out the modest two-story home where she grew up.

But she won't go in. "The last time I was in there was when my mom and dad called us home to tell us that they were separating after 33 years of marriage," she reveals. "I think that's why I was nervous about coming here today. It's like seeing someone from the past — you're afraid to run into them because you never know if it's going to be 'wow' or very difficult. This is a combination of both."

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Lopez, 43, certainly has come a long way since her "Jenny From the Block" days, but it wasn't effortless. "I'm the middle sister. All three of us girls shared a room," she recalls of her childhood. "I was into sports and dancing. I ran track. I have a lot of stamina. I was built for the long run."

However, when she decided at 18 to forgo college, leave home, and pursue a dance career, "my mom and I butted heads. 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."

But living in LaLa Land wasn't an easy transition for the East Coaster.

"I hated L.A.," she admits. "I was asking, 'Where's the store for milk? Don't you guys walk on the street?' 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."

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J.Lo and Casper Smart (Splash News)And Lopez, who has weathered media attention over her famous relationships and breakups with the likes of Sean "Puffy/P Diddy/Diddy" Combs, Ben Affleck, and — most recently – Marc Anthony, says it's that strength and drive that keeps her constantly evolving. The mom of 5-year-old twins, Max and Emme, with Anthony, and the girlfriend of 26-year-old dancer Casper Smart, currently has a new single "Live It Up," and is about to launch her 20th fragrance, JLove.

"I've always had dreams — the dreams have just gotten bigger. [My manager Benny Medina] and I will get together and plan what we want to do for the next six months, the next year. He knows I love gypsy life — I love to go. Holidays always seem very long to me. After two weeks off, I start saying, 'Let's get back to work.' And I've always been that way."

Sounds like Lopez seems to have figured out exactly how to "Live It Up."

[Read W's Entire Interview With J.Lo]

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