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How TikToking about her family issues brought George and daughter Mayan Lopez together

The comedian’s daughter talks to TODAY about rebuilding her relationship with her father after years of being estranged and their new show “Lopez vs. Lopez.”
/ Source: TODAY

When Mayan Lopez got honest about her relationship with her family, especially being estranged from dad George Lopez, people took notice.

In 2020, Mayan posted a humorous TikTok sharing how the comedian's infidelity affected her family. It also featured her twerking upside down, which caught the attention of producer Debby Wolfe, who thought the Lopez's real-life story was made for TV.

Mayan, 26, told TODAY via Zoom that it is “really surreal” that something she posted on TikTok would change her life.

“My mom (Ann Serrano) didn’t want me to post (it),” she said. “So I don’t know how great of an influence I am. I didn’t listen to my parents, I twerked upside down and I aired out my family dirty laundry. But hey, that makes the foundation for a great show!”

“I think the minute you see your daughter upside down twerking, you know the issue is very serious. It needs to be dealt with immediately,” George joked during an appearance with Mayan on the 3rd Hour of TODAY on Nov 2.

“Lopez vs. Lopez” centers around estranged father George and daughter Mayan rebuilding their relationship after he was unfaithful to her mother, Rosie (Selenis Leyva). Mayan is a working mom to son Chance (Brice Gonzalez), whom she shares with husband Quinten (Matt Shively). George is a down-on-his-luck business owner who is helping renovate his daughter’s kitchen.

When presented with the opportunity to work together and use their real names and story in the NBC sitcom, Mayan and George were up for it — even if it meant rehashing their past.

Matt Shively as Quinten, Mayan Lopez as Maya, George Lopez as George and Selenis Leyva as Rosie.
Matt Shively as Quinten, Mayan Lopez as Maya, George Lopez as George and Selenis Leyva as Rosie.NBC / Chris Haston/NBC

Mayan was 15 when her parents divorced. Not only was the separation hard for her as a teen, “having it be so public made it a whole other dynamic that makes it so much more difficult,” she said.

“You read these headlines and people sometimes forget that there’s a family behind those headlines,” she said. “It’s been like 11 years since my parents have been divorced... I think the longest I didn’t speak to my dad was almost three-and-a-half years because it was just painful. I think time was really the biggest healer.”

Time and a fear of the unknown were a factor in rebuilding their relationship. Amid the pandemic and lockdown, Mayan and George reconnected by checking in on each other and making TikToks.

Enough time had passed and many therapy sessions later, that the two were able to laugh and work together. Mayan, who also serves as a producer and writer on the show, said that the “pain and authenticity” that is seen on the show comes from a real place.

“And for both of us being performers, I think when we got presented with this opportunity, we kind of just jumped on it because I think our story can be so many other people’s stories,” she said. “Whether it’s divorce or your parents are estranged or you have one parent that you’re closer to than another, it’s universal themes of family and love and the pain of reconnection.”

Adding, “You don’t have to be perfect to heal. You just want to have to start.”

Lopez vs. Lopez - Season 1
Talking things through, Mayan said, is how they have made their relationship better.NBC / Casey Durkin/NBC

The father-daughter duo maintain their healthy relationship by keeping an open line of communication. Like “Lopez vs. Lopez” will show, they have to be willing to have those hard and uncomfortable conversations.

“Through the hours and years of therapy, the most uncomfortable part of it is sharing an elevator on the way down and walking to the car,” George told the 3rd Hour of TODAY hosts. “Mayan is the one relationship in my life that I need to save and the one I value more than anything. If NBC will allow us to deal with our personal issues on TV, God bless them.”

This is the most time Mayan has spent with her father in years and the two continue to work on their relationship while on the set.

Tackling challenging themes on the show can get “a little too real,” Mayan said, but noted viewers will see a real father and daughter talking things out.

And while she’s playing a different version of herself, Mayan has already learned so much from her character, who she said, “Speaks and communicates better sometimes than I do with my dad.”

TV Mayan is stronger and braver. She’s also given the real Mayan confidence and a new perspective on her relationship with her dad. “(It) is really healing for me, personally,” she said. “And I think for my dad as well.”

The two will go head-to-head in their new NBC sitcom.
The two will go head-to-head in their new NBC sitcom.NBC / Casey Durkin/NBC

George agreed, telling TODAY that you can't get time back when you’re stubborn. “Being stubborn only hurts the relationship more,” he said. “So people need to take that first step forward. There’s a lot of people who are estranged from their family and (must) take that first step.”

This isn't the first time Mayan has worked with her dad. She grew up on “The George Lopez Show,” making cameos on the series, as well as other projects George did.

However, her parents steered her away from a career in entertainment when she was younger. “In the long run, I’m very grateful,” she said. When she was 18, she attended Columbia College Chicago and studied comedy writing and performance, and was part of The Second City improvisational comedy troupe.

Mayan dreamed of being on “Saturday Night Live” and perfected her comedic chops. “I just wanted to be the best comedian. That’s what my dad always told me, ‘Don’t focus on fame. You’re not gonna get it if you’re searching for that. Just try to be the best comedian that you can be,’” she said. “And that’s what I tried to do.”

She is aware of how her ties to famous parents help her, but also knows she has “to work harder” to prove herself.

Lopez vs. Lopez - Season 1
Mayan's family consists of husband Quinten (Matt Shively) and son Chance (Brice Gonzalez)NBC / Casey Durkin/NBC

Mayan is also proud to be representing her Latino community on a network television show. In the first episode and on the promotional photos she’s seen wearing a “Phenomenal Latina” shirt. It was intentional.

“Taking those photos, I really got emotional,” she said, explaining how she hopes little girls or people who look like her are able to see themselves represented on screen. “To be able to be phenomenally Latina, especially in a space where representation, especially about our culture, is so important and so needed.”

Adding, “To be such a big part of that going forward...It’s something that means so much to me.”

“Lopez vs. Lopez” airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC and is available to stream the next day on Peacock.