February 14, 2001 -- After weeks of denials, Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs chose Valentine's Day to confirm that his relationship with singer-actress Jennifer Lopez has ended.
"Mr. Combs confirmed that he and his love, Jennifer Lopez, have, in fact, broken up," his publicist, Nathalie Moar, said today.
Moar had previously denied the rumors — which persistently appeared on the gossip pages of tabloids for weeks, along with the suggestion that Lopez was now dating a dancer who appears in her video for "Love Don't Cost a Thing." Apparently, the pressure of the reporters became too much.
"Mr. Combs is confirming this today, as he wanted to put all the rumors surrounding their relationship to rest. At this difficult time, we ask that you respect his privacy," Moar said.
Lopez is in Australia, promoting her latest album, J.Lo, which features four songs produced by Combs.
Before she left, the couple was spotted together in New York, and Lopez denied the breakup on Live With Regis. Some said it was a show of support for Puffy, who is on trial in Manhattan Superior Court on weapons and bribery charges. But the meetings may have also been a last-gasp effort to salvage the relationship.
The breakup is another bump in what has been a tough year for Combs: The rap entrepreneur could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted in his ongoing court case. Lopez is on the witness lists for both the prosecution and the defense in the case — which stems from a December 1999 shooting at a club in New York where both were present — but it's unclear whether she will be called to the stand.
Reuters contributed to this report.