If you’ve been watching movies since the 1990s, you know who Ben Affleck is. Most of us have seen his career blossom, from his breakout roles in 1993’s “Dazed and Confused” (via IMDb), 1997’s “Chasing Amy” (via IMDb), and of course, 1997’s “Good Will Hunting” (via IMDb), which he both co-starred and co-wrote with his real life best friend, Matt Damon. Affleck was enormously popular throughout the last 1990s and early 2000s, and has enjoyed a career reboot in recent years.
Affleck’s personal life has also been varied and, at times, pretty wild. He and Jennifer Lopez were in a relationship from 2002 to 2004, sparking the nickname Bennifer and nearly walked down the aisle together before their relationship fell apart due to intense media scrutiny. He almost immediately jumped into a relationship with Jennifer Garner, who has was married to from June 2005 to October 2018. He’s dated plenty of other actresses and stars in the years before and after these relationships, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Ana De Armas.
Good Will Hunting really put Ben Affleck on the map
The release of “Good Will Hunting” was truly a landmark moment for Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. The pair poured their blood, sweat, and tears into the script, and that work is evident in their acting in the film as well. Matt Damon told Boston magazine that he script was originally for a school project at Harvard, and he ended up asking Affleck to help him finetune the tale.
Affleck immediately jumped on board, telling the magazine that the experience was once-in-a-lifetime. “We came up with this idea of the brilliant kid and his townie friends, where he was special and the government wanted to get their mitts on him. And it had a very ‘Beverly Hills Cop,’ ‘Midnight Run’ sensibility, where the kids from Boston were giving the NSA the slip all the time.”
He added that there was definitely an amateur vibe throughout the experience as well. “We would improvise and drink like six or 12 beers or whatever and record it with a tape recorder. At the time we imagined the professor and the shrink would be Morgan Freeman and [Robert] De Niro, so we’d do our imitations of Freeman and De Niro. It was kind of hopelessly naive and probably really embarrassing in that respect.”
Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez were polished
Ben Affleck’s time with Jennifer Lopez was relatively short in the grand scheme of things, but the two really seemed to love one another (and in fact may be rebooting their romance for a 2021 version). They’ve also only ever had nice things to say about each other in the years that have followed their decision to end their engagement. While with Lopez, Affleck definitely adopted a more polished look, which even applied to the work that he produced from 2002 to 2004.
Affleck once explained to Women’s Health Magazine that he believes he and Lopez simply gave the world too much of themselves, and didn’t realize that it would only make the world demand more. “I think Jen and I made a mistake in that we fell in love, we were excited and maybe too accessible. I don’t think either of us anticipated the degree to which it would take on a world of its own.”
Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner have three children together
Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner first met in 2000 while working together, but they didn’t reconnect until four years later. They began dating not too long after Affleck’s breakup with Lopez, and got married in 2005. The pair share three children: Violent, Seraphina, and Samuel.
News of their separation and divorce surprised many, not least of all Affleck himself. He has accepted much of the blame for the split, and has been candid about his addiction struggles and how they impacted his marriage. In 2020, Affleck told The New York Times that his shame still haunts him. “The biggest regret of my life is this divorce. Shame is really toxic. There is no positive byproduct of shame. It’s just stewing in a toxic, hideous feeling of low self-worth and self-loathing.”
While Garner was less open about what happened between the two of them, a friend told In Touch that Ben’s admissions meant a lot to her. “She’s impressed he’s taken ownership of his mistakes and sees it as a sign that he’s made huge progress.”
Ben Affleck became Batman in 2013
In 2013, Ben Affleck took on a mega role: That of Batman, one of the most famous superheroes in the world. He began filming “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” in 2016 (via IMDb), which marked his debut as the caped crusader. However, he soon realized that playing Batman in his own standalone film wasn’t for him. He explained why in an interview with GQ: “I had my fill of that. They said, ‘Would you like to direct and star in a solo Batman movie?’ And I found that, at some point, I had lost my enthusiasm or passion for it. And I thought this should really be made by someone who for whom it’s their wildest dream come true. It was clear to me it was time to move on” (via YouTube).
Of course, Affleck ultimately did end up playing Batman in “Suicide Squad” and “Justice League,” and will reportedly be playing the character again in “The Flash.”
Ben Affleck is part of the Justice League franchise
“Justice League” was released in October 2017 to mixed reviews, and several of the actors from the film have commented on the confusing and sometimes deeply upsetting experiences on set. Ben Affleck explained to GQ that there were problems from the start. “Justice League was unfortunately touched by some personal tragedy — a death in (director) Zack [Synder]’s family. And like I say, sometimes things sort of work and gel and sometimes you seem to be having one problem after another” (via YouTube).
After the movie failed to live up to the hype at the box office, Affleck wasn’t even sure if he’d continue to play Batman at all. He has even thrown his support at a separate Batman film that will star Robert Pattinson as Batman, sharing on Twitter that he can’t wait to see it. “Excited for #TheBatman in Summer 2021 and to see @MattReevesLA vision come to life.”
Despite facing numerous obstacles and challenges, many of which were his own doing, Ben Affleck has risen above and continues to enjoy a successful career in Hollywood. We can only hope he keeps doing so for many, many years to come.
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