Lopez puts marriage on hold after visit to her ‘mystic adviser’
A visit to her spiritual guide could have prompted Jennifer Lopez‘s last minute postponement of her third trip down the aisle.
The actress and singer, who was due to marry fiance Ben Affleck on Sunday, announced on Wednesday night that they were putting their £1.5 million ceremony on hold because of fears it would be ruined by “excessive media attention”.
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While the couple blamed the leaking of details to the press – and claimed they had considered hiring “decoy brides” to distract the media – others presumed the cancellation followed pressures caused by the flop of their recent film, Gigli.
Now, according to reports, it has emerged that Lopez paid a visit to her “mystic adviser” the day before the announcement and was told, in a two-hour meeting, not to go ahead with the wedding.
In recent months, Lopez has become close to Merle Gonzalez, a follower of the Caribbean quasi-religion Santeria, who lives in a ramshackle wooden house in a run-down Los Angeles suburb.
Her influence over the actress, whom she calls her “goddaughter”, is immense.
Lopez’s mother, Lupe, is understood to have threatened to boycott the service if her daughter did not stop relying on the psychic readings of her mentor.
Lopez, 33, and Affleck, 31, met on the set of Gigli, months after she had split from her second husband, Cris Judd.
Invitations to the wedding, at an estate in Santa Barbara, California, were sent to 400 guests reported to include fellow actors Colin Farrell, Matt Damon and Matthew Perry.
Affleck was then rumoured to have run into trouble with Lopez when a report in the National Enquirer alleged that he had had an encounter with a stripper in a club on his stag night in Vancouver last month.
Affleck denied that anything untoward had happened, saying on a TV chat show: “By the time everybody heard about it I had been in a threesome with Michael Jackson, Elvis and the Wolfman”.
About £25,000 was spent on hiring a private jet to fly the wedding dress to Canada where the bride is presently filming in Winnipeg, for last-minute alterations.
All week workers at the Tuscan-style venue, the Sotto Il Monte estate in Santa Barbara, were installing a see-through dance floor over a swimming pool.
In a joint statement the couple blamed the level of media interest in the event for the delay. They said: “When we found ourselves seriously contemplating hiring three separate decoy brides at three different locations we realised that something was awry.”
“We felt that what should have been a joyful and sacred day could be spoiled for us, our family and our friends.”
However, there is a theory that the couple wanted more time to clinch a deal with a celebrity magazine for pictures of the event.
As recently as Wednesday afternoon two titles were still competing with offers of around £3 million.
There have also been problems with getting the approval of the Catholic Church to sanction the ceremony. Lopez has had to get her previous two marriages declared void so she can have the church service she wants.
Her wedding to Judd was a civil ceremony not recognised as a true marriage. Her first marriage, to chef Ojani Noa, was Catholic but, according to the singer, performed by two clerics from a sect she has referred to only as “the Old Catholic Church” not the official Roman Catholic Church. Therefore she says it too should be nullified.
Roman Catholic officials had reportedly demanded more details but Noa has refused to co-operate.
He said: “She screwed me out of a decent divorce settlement and then later fired me as manager of her restaurant. I owe her nothing.”
Not all observers are convinced by the news of the postponement.
Previous attempts to throw off the media have already resulted in the couple claiming the service would be held in Hawaii, Atlanta and Scotland.
Bonnie Fuller, who heads the magazine group that includes National Enquirer, believes there was “a good possibility” that the wedding will go ahead.
He said: “I think it’s at least 50-50 the wedding will take place this weekend but perhaps at a different location.”