Mrs.Lopez wins big in Atlantic City

It's a rags-to-riches story guaranteed to warm the cockles: a retired New York schoolteacher takes a weekend break in Atlantic City, puts $3 (Ј1.63) into a slot machine and comes away with a jackpot of $2,421,291.76 (Ј1,316,234.01).

One suspects, however, that 58-year-old Guadalupe Lopez is not your average cash-strapped pensioner. Her daughter is none other than actress-singer Jennifer Lopez, whose current price tag is around $10m (Ј5.43m) a movie.

Guadalupe Lopez's unlikely triumph occurred on Saturday night at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa and set a new record for the hotel. She received an instant pay-out of Ј121k, with the rest coming in instalments over the next 19 year, report

Guadalupe Lopez, 58, hit the jackpot off a US$3 bet at the swanky Borgata Hotel Casino. It is, apparently, a new record for slot payouts at the Borgata, which opened last July.

In a press release, issued by the slot machine owners, Lopez senior said, "It was divine intervention. I have a great devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe and had just looked up at the $2 million and said a little prayer to her when I hit the jackpot. Our Lady really looks out for me. When I won, my knees started shaking and I started yelling and screaming," inform

According to BBC Reports in the US suggest that Lopez is going to put some of the winnings into a college fund for her grandchildren.

The chart-topping singer ranks as one of the richest and most powerful celebrities in showbusiness.

US magazine Forbes ranked Lopez at number five in their influential "power list" of 2003, with earnings of $29m (Ј15.8m) during the previous year.

She has stealthily made progress up the ranks, being listed at 12 on 2002's list and 34 in the previous year.

But her film career recently faced crisis when Gigli was panned by critics and swept the boards at the Razzies - the awards given out for the worst films and performances.

And her relationship with actor Ben Affleck - her co-star in Gigli - was finally called off in January.

Plans for their wedding were put on ice in September 2003, with the couple blaming a worldwide media frenzy for their decision to halt proceedings.

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