Inside Jennifer Garner's Complicated Relationship With Ben Affleck

Though they split in 2015, Garner was there to stage an intervention and accompany her ex to rehab on Wednesday, continuing her streak of being there for the father of their three children

By Tierney Bricker Aug 23, 2018 9:00 PMTags

While Jennifer Garner was receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Monday, with her parents and three children in attendance to support her, on the other side of town, her soon-to-be ex-husband Ben Affleck was in need of help.

The Justice League star, who had previously announced he had completed rehab in March 2017, had been drinking again. "Ben was having a really tough time," a source told E! News. "He continues to battle addiction. He reached out for help this week."

And even though they split in 2015 after 10 years of marriage, Garner answered the call, staging an intervention for the father of their three children, Violet, Serafina and Samuel.

Jennifer Garner & Ben Affleck: Romance Rewind

Garner arrived at Affleck's house in the Pacific Palisades on Wednesday with a bodyguard in tow, an insider told us, eventually taking him to a rehab facility.

"He told Jen and was not resistant," our source said. "He asked her to take him and she wanted to be there for him."

And since the couple first got together in 2004, Garner has continued to be there for Affleck, providing an unwavering support system. "Jen had family in town and a lot going on but she was well aware of what was going on," a source told us. "She saw the photo of the alcohol being delivered to his house and knew he was home all day and that was the breaking point."

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Though she has a busy fall ahead of her, with her return to action in the film Peppermint hitting theaters on Sept. 7, and Camping, her new HBO comedy executive produced by Lena Dunham debuting in October, Garner's No. 1 priority right now is her family now that Affleck is heading to a 30-day treatment. 

"Jen told the kids that Ben is sick and needs help from a doctor. She is open and honest with them," a source told E! News. "It's extremely sad and disappointing that this has happened again, but she will continue to be there for him and not turn her back. She feels like she can't do that to her kids and that she wants him to be in their lives."

As the 46-year-old actor's sobriety come into question following his breakup from Lindsay Shookus and subsequent dates with Playboy model Shauna Sexton, Garner made the decision to stage an intervention, likely knowing the attention that would come from such a move as she's been open in the past about struggling with the tabloid frenzy their relationship can cause. 

"I turned on CNN one day and there we were. I just won't do it anymore," Garner said in 2016 of of tuning out the attention placed on their split. "I took a silent oath with myself last summer to really stay offline. I am totally clueless about all of it."

And choosing to not "give a shit" about how the public and media viewed their divorce takes a lot of effort, as Garner said, "Ben says, 'Oh, you just don't care,' and I say, 'No, it's the opposite.' It hurts me so much, and I care so much...I cannot be driven by the optics of this. I cannot let anger or hurt be my engine. I need to move with the big picture always on my mind, and the kids first and foremost."

Garner, 46, reflected on that period of tabloid scrutiny in an interview with CBS Sunday Morning just last week, admitting, "And looking back on that, I really feel the stress of it. I really, I could cry talking about it." (She even revealed there would sometimes be as many as 15-20 cars parked outside of her home. And clearly, they're still around.)

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Since the couple announced their split in June 2015, just one day after their 10-year wedding anniversary, Garner's "commitment to co-parenting" has been evident, despite rumors about Affleck's relationship with the couple's former nannyChristine Ouzounian, that infamous back tattoo, and his busy movie schedule. Garner supported her ex as he began filming Live by Night in Georgia later that same year, a time the Alias star admitted to struggling during in her infamous Vanity Fair profile in March 2016.

"I wasn't part of it. It was starting and it was a hard day for me," she shared. "I got the kids to school, and I went home and went to bed. I haven't had a lot of those days."

Affleck was quick to acknowledge Garner's support, crediting her for helping him become one of Hollywood's successful actors-turned-directors after winning the Academy Award for Best Director for Argo. "My wife was really instrumental and helpful in me doing a lot of that work," he said on Bill SimmonsAny Given Wednesday. "because I was just so focused [on it] and it was harder to balance family and all that."

And in a 2016 interview with E! News, Affleck gushed over his ex's parenting skills, telling us, "Jen is a superhero mom. She is an amazing mother and I'm really lucky to have her as a partner to co-parent these kids with. We try our best, we put them first and that's what we do."

Garner and Affleck also put their three children first earlier this month, when it was reported their divorce was under threat of being dismissed due to lack of paperwork. The former couple seemed in no rush to finalize their divorce, which they filed for last year,  with an insider saying they "are in a good place with the family and are taking careful steps to make sure everything is in order."

Another source added, "Both of them are incredibly good co-parents, they co-parent very well, and Jen especially has been incredibly patient and supportive of everything Ben is going through." 

Looking back on their relationship with Vanity Fair, Garner admitted that despite their glamorous red carpet appearances and often representing the Hollywood ideal of a power couple, they had their share of struggles she tried to work through. (He infamously hinted at those struggles when accepting his Oscar in 2013, saying their marriage " is work, but it's the best kind of work.")

"It was a real marriage," she said. "It wasn't for the cameras. And it was a huge priority for me to stay in it. And that did not work."

Garner's parents, John and Patricia, have been married for 53 years, and their relationship inspired her to make her own marriage work...until it didn't. (Garner was previously married to Felicity co-star Scott Foley for three years.)

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"I didn't marry the big fat movie star; I married him," she said. "And I would go back and remake that decision. I ran down the beach to him, and I would again. You can't have these three babies and so much of what we had. He's the love of my life. What am I going to do about that? He's the most brilliant person in any room, the most charismatic, the most generous. He's just a complicated guy. I always say, ‘When his sun shines on you, you feel it.' But when the sun is shining elsewhere, it's cold. He can cast quite a shadow."

But after their split, Garner has refused to remain in that shadow, even if her ex's struggles occasionally block the sun. 

"It's not Ben's job to make me happy," she told Vanity Fair. "People have pain—they do regrettable things, they feel shame, and shame equals pain. No one needs to hate him for me. I don't hate him. Certainly we don't have to beat the guy up. Don't worry—my eyes were wide open during the marriage. I'm taking good care of myself."

In addition to the upcoming premieres of her movie and TV series, Garner's slate is pretty full: She is set to star and producer her next movie, Yes Day (a tradition she indulges in with her three kids where she says "yes" to their every demand one day a year), is using her family's farm in Oklahoma to create ingredients for Once Upon a Farm, an organic baby food company she co-founded. And when she's not doing all that, she's "hosting" her  viral sensation Pretend Cooking Show, selling Girl Scout cookies and posting delightful #TBT photos on her beloved Instagram account. 

Like she once infamously vowed: she refuses to be the ashes. 

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