‘American Idol’: Steven Spielberg Told Jennifer Lopez Something That Made Her Day

Jennifer Lopez delighted fans as one of the American Idol judges. Here’s what Steven Spielberg said about the show that made Lopez’s day.

Jennifer Lopez panicked about appearing on ‘American Idol’

Jennifer Lopez, Sean 'Diddy' Combs, Gwyneth Paltrow, Donatella Versace and Steven Spielberg with his wife Kate Capshaw | Stephane Cardinale/Sygma via Getty Images
Jennifer Lopez, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, Gwyneth Paltrow, Donatella Versace and Steven Spielberg with his wife Kate Capshaw | Stephane Cardinale/Sygma via Getty Images

In her book True Love, Lopez says she panicked the night before she was supposed to appear as a judge on American Idol. She woke up her husband at the time, Marc Anthony, and expressed her concern about having to appear in front of 20 million television viewers. The pressure was getting to her.

“It was the middle of the night, and Marc was asleep beside me in bed. I suddenly sat upright, my heart pounding. It was the night before my debut on the premiere of American Idol. I slipped out of bed and walked into the bathroom, and when I looked at myself in the mirror, I was as white as a ghost. All I could think was, ‘Oh s***. Twenty million people.’ I was so nervous about the show airing the next day that I was completely freaking out.”

Jennifer Lopez says she was ‘terrified of being herself’

Jennifer Lopez in 2019 |  Amy Sussman/SHJ2019/WireImage
Jennifer Lopez in 2019 | Amy Sussman/SHJ2019/WireImage

Lopez says she was worried because she wouldn’t have lyrics or a script. It was just her, and she wouldn’t have anything to hide behind. She says she felt vulnerable because the situation was so new for her. “I’ve never done TV like this, without a script or lyrics or anything,” wrote Lopez. “It’s only me out there, with the cameras and everybody watching!”

Lopez says acting or singing provides a safety net because you have lines or lyrics to follow. Reality television doesn’t rely on a script. “When you’re an actress, you’re used to saying lines that someone has given you,” wrote Lopez.

“You get to hide behind that mask. When you’re a singer, you have a song. The notion of getting up in front of everyone and being yourself is really terrifying. If someone criticizes your acting, they’re criticizing only one part of you. If someone criticizes you on a show like Idol, though, their criticizing you.

Steven Spielberg made Jennifer Lopez’s day

Steven Spielberg | Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Steven Spielberg | Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Lopez says she felt unsure of herself even after her season of American Idol began airing. However, she began to see that people really did like the real her. “The very thing I was afraid of turned out to be the best thing ever: For the first time, people were seeing the real me—not the ‘me’ fabricated by tabloids and magazines—and they liked what they saw,” wrote Lopez.

The singer says she received a major dose of validation during an Oscars party. Since there were so many big stars at this party, Lopez says she thought she would just “blend in and have a good time.” However, she says she was one of the stars people wanted to talk to. Many attendees came up to her, asking about American Idol and telling her how much they loved her as a judge. A big moment for Lopez was when director Steven Spielberg told her he was a fan of the show.

“I mean even Steven Spielberg came up to me to tell me about how he and his family all watch the show together,” wrote Lopez. “Steven Spielberg! At that moment, I realized how much people liked that show, how happy it made them feel, and how much it was changing the perception of who I was.”

Lopez says it made her feel good to know people liked her and enjoyed her work. “People were saying they liked me, which made me realize how many years I’d spent thinking they didn’t, and that affected how I felt about myself,” she continued. “That was the beginning of the beginning—the time when I started to feel like myself again.”

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