Jennifer Lopez Celebrates 25th Anniversary of 'Selena' 's Release: 'What a Very Special Day'

Selena documented the life of the late Selena Quintanilla, the beloved Mexican-American singer who died tragically at the age of 23

Jennifer Lopez is celebrating the milestone of a film credited with helping launch her career.

In an Instagram post Monday, the 52-year-old star shared her excitement about the 25th anniversary of the iconic film Selena, which followed the life and tragic death of the late Mexican-American singer Selena Quintanilla.

Lopez played Quintanilla in the aforementioned 1997 biopic, back when she was only 28-years-old.

"What a very special day," Lopez wrote on Instagram. "Today we celebrate and honor Selena's legacy and music."

"This movie means so much to me … Selena and her family mean so much to me, and I was so lucky to be chosen to play her," Lopez continued. "I'll never forget this time in my life and it's an honor as an artist to have been part of the magic that is this movie."

Alongside her words, Lopez shared a gallery of photos and videos including some featuring her playing Quintanilla and others of the Queen of Tejano music herself.

One video came from Lopez's 1997 interview on the Oprah Winfrey Show, with Quintanilla's family present. In the clip, Lopez was asked by Oprah Winfrey whether it was hard to play the singer while her family was on set.

Jennifer Lopez and Selena
Daniel Zuchnik/Getty; Vinnie Zuffante/Getty.

"Yeah, it was tough, but I knew I had a tough job ahead of me from the second I got the role," said Lopez. "It was nonstop. I was working on another movie at the time and in my trailer it was like, music all day, videos all day just to really absorb who she was."

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"She was a very happy and alive person," Lopez told Winfrey. "I just absorbed as much as I could of her, tried to understand what made her tick, made her happy, made her sad. The things that were important in her life, family, work ... don't get me wrong, it was nerve-wracking, but having them there and having them care about the project was a beautiful thing for me and I feel enriched by even having been involved."

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selena quintanilla
Selena Quintanilla-Perez. Arlene Richie/getty images

Quintanilla was 23 at the time of her death in 1995, when she was shot to death in a motel in her hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas, by Yolanda Saldívar, the president of her fan club.

In March 2020, Quintanilla's father Abraham opened up to PEOPLE about how the family is keeping Selena's legacy alive. "When Selena passed away, I told my family that I was going to try to keep her memory alive through her music," he said at the time. "And 25 years later I think we, as a family, accomplished that."

"We can be fine, and then someone wants to share where they were when they heard that Selena died, and that's very difficult," added Suzette, Quintanilla's sister and former bandmate. "I have to dig deep in my soul to figure out why. Then I realize it's their way of sharing, that they feel that connection, they're sharing that they felt lost."

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