Puff Daddy and Jennifer Lopez: Kevin Mazur
Lori Reese
January 25, 2001 AT 05:00 AM EST

Jennifer Lopez couldn’t have asked for a spicier addition to her current publicity blitz. The singer cum actress — whose latest flick ”The Wedding Planner” debuts this Friday on the heels of her Jan. 23 release ”JLo” — has split from longtime beau Sean ”Puffy” Combs, according to an exclusive story in Wednesday’s New York Daily News. The paper claims Lopez initiated the breakup, and that she has already begun dating a dancer whom she met while filming her video ”Love Don’t Cost a Thing.” (Lopez’s publicist at Epic records declined to comment to EW.com.)

There has been much speculation among industry watchers as to whether Lopez’s more than 17 month relationship with the rap mogul/ bad boy would hurt — or help — earnings of ”JLo” and ”Planner.” Certainly, news of the breakup couldn’t have come at a more spotlit moment for the pair. Puffy is now awaiting trial over guns and weapons charges stemming from last year’s shooting incident at a New York nightclub, where Lopez was famously at his side. However, the all media queen failed to turn up at Puffy’s Jan. 17 pretrial.

Combs’ rep declined to comment. But Combs expressed excitement over Lopez’s latest ventures to the Daily News yesterday. ”I’m happy for her. I’ll always be there for Jennifer, whether business or personal,” he said, without confirming — or denying — the split. The rapper also seized the opportunity to plug his latest protégés, Dream. The girl group’s new album ”is the biggest debut of 2001,” he predicted. Now THAT’S thinking.

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