Bennifer Has Made Our '00s Dreams Come True and Made Us Realize We Miss These Former Celeb Couples

Many of our favorite bygone celeb couples have gone on to new, equally delightful romances. But with Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck having us in our feels, please indulge this trip down memory lane.

By Sarah Grossbart Aug 07, 2021 9:59 AMTags
Watch: Ben Affleck Talks J.Lo in "Gigli" Throwback: Live From E! Rewind

It could be the nickname. Bennifer was among the earliest iterations of the now-widely used celeb couple portmanteau. (See, also: TomKat.)

Or maybe it's the proposal, Ben Affleck offering up that iconic 6.1-carat pink Harry Winston diamond at his mom's house in Boston, kneeling in a quilt of rose petals while Jennifer Lopez's track "Glad" played. 

Or perhaps it's just the hazy memories from their 2002 "Jenny From the Block" video that had us all deep into our nostalgia feels.

But when those first rumblings of Bennifer 2.0 began—he was spotted with her at her house—the Internet went wild. (Ironically, the Internet, or at least social media, not such a thing when the Oscar winner and the multi-hyphenate in the making got together the first time around. Though it's not as if the pair's 18-month romance wasn't well-documented nonetheless.) 

And the longer this not-just-a-summer-fling carries on, the easier it becomes to believe this just might be one of those fated, meant-to-be situations. 

On-Again, Off-Again Celeb Couples

Affleck and Lopez's first go-round together may have been cut short, the pair calling off their planned September 2003 nuptials before splitting for good the following January. As the singer later noted to HuffPost Live, everything "fell apart in a really bad way." But now that they're two decades older and wiser with a few marriages and five kids between them, well, they're certain they know what they want in a life partner. 

While they've begun "meshing their lives," with ease, a source close to Lopez told E! News, neither is even considering a re-engagement. "They are both very secure within their relationship and Ben worships her. It's truly meant to be and everyone around them thinks they are a perfect match." 

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Which has us thinking...who doesn't love a second chance? 

Obviously many of these bygone celeb couples have each gone on to find their person, the one they were meant to do life with all along. And why we by no means begrudge them their happiness or don't appreciate the new partnerships they've built, there are some pairs we just kinda miss seeing together. 

Rachel McAdams & Ryan Gosling

Can you blame us for still shipping these two when Gosling is out here calling their two-year romance "a hell of a lot more romantic" than the one that took place onscreen between their counterparts in The Notebook? But sometime after giving us the kiss we all wanted at the MTV Movie Awards, "we both went down swingin' and we called it a draw," Gosling told GQ. Thankfully, they've each gone on to their own romance movie-worthy happy endings

Bruce Willis & Demi Moore

Technically, we haven't actually had to miss seeing these two together. Skilled at conscious uncoupling before it was part of our lexicon, the actors, their three daughters, his new bride Emma Heming and their two daughters are a group vacationing, joint quarantining, one big happy family type of crew. Or, as thrice-wed Moore put it during Willis' 2018 Comedy Central roast, "You've been a great friend, a great father and easily one of my top three husbands."

Heidi Klum & Seal

Two words: Vow renewals. Ultimately, no amount of saying "I do" could secure the supermodel's seven-year marriage to the "Kiss From a Rose" singer. But it sure was fun to watch while it lasted. And if Klum and guitarist husband Tom Kaulitz want to continue the tradition, we're here for it. 

Elizabeth Hurley & Hugh Grant

We get why they split. (For those not in the know, Google "Hugh Grant scandal.") But we appreciate the fact that more than two decades after they cornered the market on rom-com-style romance, Hurley and Grant remain each other's most ardent fans. As the Love Actually actor put it on Watch What Happens Live, "She's my absolute best friend—number one person I call in a crisis."" 

Rachel Bilson & Adam Brody

No choice but to stan a pair that understand their importance in pop culture history. ""IM SORRY!!!!" Bilson joked in an Instagram comment when InStyle featured her and her O.C. costar in their "Breakups That Broke Us" column. Though, as she noted, Seth Cohen did end up with Blair Waldorf (a.k.a. Leighton Meester) and you know you love me that. As Bilson put it, "He fared really well!"

Will Arnett & Amy Poehler

No joke: We're here for the Parks and Recreation alum's take on her romance with the BoJack Horseman star. "As you know, Will and I are very, very good friends," she told Howard Stern in a 2014 interview, referencing their partnership in raising sons Archie and Abel. "We are doing a really good job. I don't think a 10-year marriage constitutes a failure. I think relationships are really tough."

Miley Cyrus & Liam Hemsworth

We'll always have "Malibu," Cyrus celebrating the track's fourth anniversary this past May by calling it "a song about a place and person that at the time I loved very much." As for the pop star, she'll hold tight to this lesson learned. Describing her relationship postmortem on the Call Your Daddy podcast—a process that involved making "a list of what you were gaining and what you were losing," and assigning everything a value—she shared, "If the person was adding more to your life, then you know what is expected for your next relationship and, what they were subtracting, you know what you will not accept ever again."

Fergie & Josh Duhamel

D-E-V-A-S-T-A-T-E-D. That's how we felt when the "Glamorous" singer and the Transformers alum announced their split back in 2017. But things are still, uh, flossy, flossy between the parents to 7-year-old Axl. "Fergie and I have a great relationship," Duhamel has said. "I love that girl and I always will. Unfortunately, we didn't work, but I will always have her back."

Mariah Carey & Nick Cannon

Okay, we're not necessarily saying these friendly exes belong together, we're just saying Cannon doesn't totally seem opposed to it. While The Masked Singer host's relationship status isn't totally clear, there's one thing he's certain about. "I know I'll never be married again... [I don't] want to have to answer to anybody," he revealed on T.I.'s ExpediTIously podcast in 2019. "If I was to do it again, it would be to her. It would be Mariah."

Leonardo DiCaprio & Gisele Bundchen

Perhaps this was just too much beauty for one romance? You know, ignoring the fact that the supermodel went on to wed Tom Brady not long after her six-year relationship with the actor came to an end in 2005 and DiCaprio's list of exes reads like a dream lineup for New York Fashion Week. 

Zac Efron & Vanessa Hudgens

It's the rare teenage romance that makes it all the way to adulthood. And yet we're still sad that two years after the pair graduated from High School Musical, they outgrew their five-year relationship as well. Then, as Hudgens revealed on Access Hollywood, "I completely lost contact with him." Perhaps they'll reconnect at the 20-year reunion?  

Jessica Simpson & Nick Lachey

Their music was melodious, their connection deep. "With Nick, I was madly in love," Simpson confessed to Entertainment Tonight last year. "I mean, I loved everything about the guy and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him." And if it weren't for an ultimately disastrous three-season stint as MTV's Newlyweds...they probably would have split anyway. Now what's left of this pair largely amounts to some still pretty funny Chicken of the Sea jokes. 

Brad Pitt & Jennifer Aniston

We get it: No matter how many innuendo-filled virtual readings they agree to or public embraces they engage in, everyone's favorite golden couple are now just friends who have long since moved on. But clearly we haven't.