Ben Affleck reveals what caused 2004 split from Jennifer Lopez

·3 min read
Ben Affleck reflects on factors behind his and Jennifer Lopez’s initial breakup  (Getty Images)
Ben Affleck reflects on factors behind his and Jennifer Lopez’s initial breakup (Getty Images)

Ben Affleck has opened up about his relationship with Jennifer Lopez, with the actor revealing the reason they separated almost 20 years ago, and why he was hesitant for the couple to try again.

The Tender Bar star, 49, discussed his love life during an appearance on The Howard Stern Show, where he reflected on the factors that led to his and Lopez’s breakup in 2004.

According to Affleck, who dated Lopez from 2002 to 2004, the end of their first relationship was partly caused by negative media scrutiny.

“I would say [media attention] was about 50 per cent [of what destroyed our relationship],” the actor said, according to Entertainment Tonight. “The idea that people hate you and they hate you together and that being together is poison and ugly and toxic and the thing none of us want to be part of. And ‘who the f**k would want to have them to dinner?’ And ‘what the f**k are they doing together?’”

The couple, who met in 2002 on the set of Gigli, revealed that they were engaged in 2003, before calling off their engagement a year later.

A day before their wedding was set to take place, the famous pair released a statement in which they acknowledged the “excessive media attention” surrounding their upcoming nuptials and revealed their plans to postpone the ceremony.

“Due to the excessive media attention surrounding our wedding, we have decided to postpone the date,” they said in the joint statement. “When we found ourselves seriously contemplating hiring three separate ‘decoy brides’ at three different locations, we realised that something was awry.”

At the time, they noted that the “spirit of what should have been the happiest day of our lives could be compromised”.

While reflecting on the separation, Affleck admitted to Stern: “I got f**king hurt and angry and felt like a fool.” However, in June, the couple confirmed that they had rekindled their relationship after nearly two decades apart.

According to Affleck, he felt some hesitancy about attempting the relationship with Lopez again, as he told Stern that he was worried about the impact the high-profile union would have on his three children, Violet, 16, Seraphina, 12, and Samuel, nine, who he shares with ex-wife Jennifer Garner.

In response to Stern’s question about the attention that Lopez brings and whether there was a “hesitation on your part, because now you’re a dad,” Affleck said: “It crossed my mind for sure. My responsibility to my children is the highest responsibility. I don’t want to do anything that is painful or destructive to them if I can help it,” People reported.

“That being said, I know that my life affects them,” the father-of-three added.

This is not the first time that Lopez and Affleck have acknowledged the pressure the media placed on their relationship, as the actor reflected on some of the negative coverage during an appearance onThe Hollywood Reporter’s podcast in January, where he said: “People were so f**king mean about her - sexist, racist. Ugly, vicious sh*t was written about her in ways that if you wrote it now you would literally be fired for saying those things you said.”

The singer also previously told People in 2016 that she and Affleck didn’t “try to have a public relationship” but that it was inevitable.

“We just happened to be together at the birth of the tabloids, and it was like ‘Oh my God.’ It was just a lot of pressure,” she said.

During the interview with Stern, The Last Duel star also spoke candidly about his marriage to Garner, which ended in 2018, with the actor explaining: “We had a marriage that didn’t work. This happens. It was somebody I love and respect but to whom I shouldn’t be married any longer.”

However, Affleck sparked backlash from fans after he also claimed that he had felt “trapped” in the relationship and that it was “part of why” he started drinking.

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