J. LO IN RUSH TO WED

Published on: August 7, 2001

Jennifer Lopez is rushing to the altar -- because she fears getting pregnant before tying the knot.

Now that the Latin bombshell has found true love with dancer Cris Judd -- and wants a family of her own -- she's insisting that marriage come before the baby carriage.

The 31-year-old beauty was recently startled by a pregnancy scare -- and even though it turned out to be a false alarm, it propelled her into action.

The singer announced her engagement -- and invitations went out for a gala August 18 engagement party "with dinner and dancing" at a top Los Angeles restaurant.

"The pregnancy scare really rocked her. And to make her feel better, her friends got together to throw an engagement party for the couple," disclosed a close source.

Despite her supersexy image, straitlaced Jennifer admitted during an interview that if she ever got pregnant out of wedlock, "my parents would kill me!"

Revealed an insider: "When Jennifer thought she was pregnant, it threw her for a loop.

"She's from a very traditional Catholic family, and there are rules about love, marriage and family.

"Jennifer and her parents are incredibly close, and they are strict about these things. Jennifer was terrified to tell her folks she thought she was pregnant.

"The last thing she expected was to become pregnant. She was riding high on the success of her new album and totally enjoying being a movie star. She didn't want to do what Catherine Zeta-Jones and Madonna did -- get pregnant first and then get married."

When Jennifer told Cris she thought she was pregnant, "he was the voice of calm and reason," disclosed the insider. "He told her if she was pregnant, it didn't change anything for them, it just moved things up a little. He was incredibly romantic."

Jennifer first met Cris when they worked together late last year on her music video "Love Don't Cost a Thing" -- when her turbulent relationship with Sean "Puffy" Combs was winding down.

Although Cris and Jennifer have known each other less than a year, his tenderness during her pregnancy scare made her more convinced than ever that the handsome 32-year-old performer and choreographer was the man for her.

The couple are looking at getting married as early as this fall -- and no one is more surprised at the quick engagement than Jennifer's ex-boyfriend Puffy.

"His reaction was disbelief," divulged the insider. "He said, 'They just met!' "

The star of "The Wedding Planner" is moving ahead quickly with her nuptial plans, according to the insider.

"Jennifer wants to make sure that when she and Cris decide to start a family, they're already a happily married couple. And J. Lo has never been happier."

-- ELLEN GOODSTEIN and ROBERT BLACKMON