Every mother wants the very best for their children: happiness, love, fortune, family, and a long life. Imagine then if your name is Guadalupe Rodriguez; a Puerto Rican housewife struggling to make a living in New York.
You have three daughters, sharing a bedroom in the Bronx. Life is hard but a strong work ethic and a home full of love, life, and music drives you forward. Your middle daughter – Jennifer – is a keen dancer, skilled in flamenco, jazz, and ballet. She also has her father’s name: Lopez. Yep, that Jennifer Lopez.
Jennifer Lopez is one of the most successful women in America, with a fortune worth an estimated $150 million. In the early days, her mother disapproved of her showbiz ambition. An argument that even resulted in Lopez leaving home and living in Manhattan.
Ambition and Talent Paid Off
In the end, Jennifer got lucky. Her drive, ambition, and talent elevating her to the top of the showbiz ladder. Back home, mum can now rest easy; knowing that her daughter is living the proverbial rags to (a lot of) riches dream.
Guadalupe Rodriguez had what every mother could possibly want but she’s a very (very, very) lucky lady and was destined for more – a lot more.
In 2004, Rodriguez was enjoying a little action at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City. The hotel has more than 2,000 rooms and suites, as well as a 161,000 sq ft casino; packing in 3,475 slots, 250 tables games – Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Baccarat, and the biggest Poker room in New Jersey.
According to the New York Daily News, Rodriguez had been playing the Wheel of Fortune slots for a mere 10 minutes, wagering just $3, before she hit the game’s jackpot worth an eye-watering $2,421,291.76; an 800,000x return on her $3 investment and the Borgata’s biggest jackpot win since it had opened 12 months earlier in 2003.
At the time of the win, the Borgata Casino spokesman Michael Facenda denied all knowledge of any relationship between the jackpot winner and pop star Jennifer Lopez. Rob Shuter – who was Jennifer Lopez’s publicist – also declined to comment.
At the time, Ben Affleck was dating Lopez. The almost (and maybe future!) son-in-law is thought to be responsible for showing the almost-mother-in-law the joys and pitfalls of the casino. Affleck’s gambling sprees were said to be the catalyst that crashed the Bennifer love match first time around. However, mum certainly saw the upside.
J-Lo Enjoys a Flutter
In 2015, Lopez appeared on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, where she revealed two ‘new’ facts. First, that she enjoyed a flutter and a night out at the casino herself. Second, that her mum had won $2.4 million, and she had received the news via a very excited phone call.
Lopez said: “I just get a call and she’s like really calm, which is not my mum. She’s like, ‘Jennifer?’ I’m like, ‘Ma?’. And she’s like, ‘Yes? My mother’s a huge gambler. I knew something had happened. I said, ‘Ma, what’s wrong?’ and she said, ‘I won $2.4 million’.
“She started screaming at the top of her lungs. Crazy. I was like, ‘What?’. On the slots of all things. She described the whole moment, it took forever, play by play: She won like $2.4 million on the slots – this was years ago, this was like 10 years ago.”
The rekindled story made the press again, eleven years after Rodriguez’s jackpot win. Now 76, Rodriguez has finally accepted that maybe – just maybe – her daughter might have a career in show business.
Never mind the luck of the Irish, the luck of the Latinas is what you need.
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