Aug 1, 2007

Young stars should avoid enablers, says J. Lo

NEW YORK — Young celebrities have to learn for themselves how to cope with fame and avoid trouble, but having the right people around certainly helps, husband and wife superstars Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony say.
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In interviews about their first movie together, "El Cantante," Lopez and Anthony said there was a danger in being surrounded by "enablers" – people who will say yes all the time to keep a star happy, no matter what the consequences.

"El Cantante," which opens in US theaters on Friday, is a biopic of Puerto Rican salsa singer Hector Lavoe, played by Anthony. Lavoe moved to New York in 1963 at age 17, rose to fame by 21, but struggled with drug addiction and died from AIDS complications in 1993.

"Nobody has a handbook for fame. It’s no easy thing to deal with. You’ve got to

have good people around you," Lopez, 38, who plays Lavoe’s tough-talking wife Puchi, told Reuters when asked about the behavior of young celebrities in Hollywood.

Last week actress Lindsay Lohan, 21, was charged for a second time with drunken driving just days after leaving a second stint in rehabilitation, while pop star Britney Spears, 25, who has also spent time in rehab, made headlines again with more reports of bizarre behavior.

"The thing about this business, in a way it’s pretty sad, because you get child stars who are too many people’s meal ticket and they’re not going to tell the child that they can’t do something," said Anthony, 38, who with more than 10 million records sold is the top-selling salsa artist ever.

"I had people who kept me in line. I was fortunate in that way," he said. "Now ... it would seem that people’s best interests are just to keep the star happy as long as the money is still coming in."

When Lopez, who has sold more than 17 million records, married Anthony in 2004, she said she made a conscious decision to withdraw from the media spotlight.

Before her marriage to Anthony, Lopez was tabloid fodder and regularly graced the covers of celebrity magazines through her relationship with rap music impresario Sean "Diddy" Combs and a broken engagement with actor Ben Affleck.

"It wasn’t that I was courting that attention, it was just that I was just living my life, so I thought," she said during an interview at a luxury New York City hotel. "When I sat down for a second and ... had a mature thought about it ... I realized it was my responsibility if I didn’t want it to be that way," she said.

Along with starring in "El Cantante," Lopez also produced the film through her company Nuyorican. She received the screenplay more than five years ago and immediately rang Anthony to ask if he would play Lavoe.

Anthony, who will tour with Lopez in concert later this year, had met Lavoe before his death and described the singer as "such a part of the fabric of who I am." But he said that the drugs that were such a scar on Lavoe’s career from the 1960s to the 1980s, were no longer as pervasive in the entertainment industry because of increasing corporate influence.

"Today it’s totally different. Nobody would want to do business with you if they knew you had a drug problem, sponsors would drop you and you would be shunned," he said.

Lopez said the attitude of celebrities should be simple: "You want to be proud of yourself at the end of the day." – Reuters

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