“It’s a Wonderful Woman,” says Lopez of the woman who asked him for advice

“It’s a Wonderful Woman,” says Lopez of the woman who asked him for advice

George Lopez returns, once-estranged daughter in tow, with a textbook family sitcom about a middle-school kid who’s still coping with his loss. It’s an excellent first impression of the actor-turned-writer-screenwriter/director.

In 2009, while producing the short-lived series “Nailed It!,” Lopez was on a plane from Los Angeles to New York when a woman sitting directly behind him asked if she could have his seat.

“She was a lovely woman,” Lopez, who is married to former child star JoBeth Williams and has two teenage daughters, ages 11 and 8, says of the woman sitting behind him, whom he didn’t know. “At the time she was doing an episode of ‘Nailed It!,’ and she was like, ‘Oh my God, I just need to tell my story! I’ve just lost my brother,’ she said, and I’m thinking, Oh my God! It was her sibling’s funeral, and she was just in such tears.”

The two had never met before. They ended up becoming fast friends, and the woman, now his wife, asked Lopez for advice about her own life.

“She didn’t want to be dependent on a man,” he says. “She didn’t want to be the one who was going to make her life happen. Like, ‘My life is going to happen for me.’”

Lopez recalls it was a moment of insight for the filmmaker: “I should stop and think, ‘Oh my God, this is my life, and she’s going to make this happen for me,’” he says. “I can’t change who I am, and I should have a bit of control, so I can look at the big picture and not worry so much about every little thing. I also think that life teaches you things you don’t always understand right away, but you learn over time.”

The woman was an actress who had played a character on- and off-Broadway and had worked in films. “When I asked her, who was she? She said, ‘I’m still working. I

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