Why Jennifer Lopez Just Might Be End Game For Ben Affleck

All that matters is that he treats her right—and Ben Affleck seems to be nailing it this time around with on-again girlfriend Jennifer Lopez. Here's why he just might have her love forever.

By Sarah Grossbart Aug 15, 2021 10:00 AMTags
Watch: Why Ben Affleck Might Be Endgame for Jennifer Lopez

If you can't say something nice, you shouldn't be talking s--t about your exes. It's an adage Ben Affleck has clearly taken to heart. 

You won't catch the Deep Water actor saying anything short of laudatory about ex-wife Jennifer Garner and the way she is with their kids Violet, 15, Seraphina, 12, and Samuel, 9. And when it comes to that other famous Jennifer he dated for a stretch back in the wilds of the early '00s, Affleck has been known to say a kind word or two. 

"People were so f--king mean about her: sexist, racist, ugly vicious s--t was written about her in ways that if you wrote it now, you would literally be fired for saying those things," Affleck said on The Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast this past January, reflecting on the all-out hysteria his romance with Jennifer Lopez caused during the heyday of tabloid culture, Juicy Couture sweatsuits and Motorola Razrs. "Now it's like she is lionized and respected for the work she has done, where she came from and what she accomplished. As well as she f--king should be." 

Jennifer Lopez & Ben Affleck: Romance Rewind

He's been cheering her on from the sidelines (and the occasional congratulatory text) through each American Idol contract, producing gig, World of Dance launch and Golden Globe nomination. 

"I thought I had a good work ethic, but I was completely humbled and blown away by what she was committed to doing day in and day out, the seriousness in which she took her work, the quiet and dedicated way she went about accomplishing her goals, and then how she would go back and redouble her efforts," he raved in an April InStyle cover profile on Lopez. "She remains, to this day, the hardest-working person I've come across in this business. She has great talent, but she has also worked very hard for her success, and I'm so happy for her that she seems, at long last, to be getting the credit she deserves."

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

For her part, Lopez has shared that despite all the strife their 18 months together brought, she wouldn't hesitate to do it all over again. "I think different time different thing, who knows what could've happened," she told People in 2016, "but there was a genuine love there."

Wait, why were we surprised these two decided to give their romance another go? 

Sure, a lot (a lot a lot) of time has passed since Bennifer—one of the earliest beneficiaries of our obsessions with combined couple nicknames—ruled the early aughts headlines. And for most of those years it seemed that the once betrothed pair had discovered their happily ever afters in other high-profile romances. A little more than a year after Lopez stunned with a surprise third wedding to Marc Anthony in June 2004, Affleck and Garner followed suit, eloping in front of an audience of two on the beaches of Turks and Caicos. 

But when the multi-hyphenate pop sensation and the Oscar-winning actor-director-producer both found themselves unattached all these years later, older and so very much wiser, well...

"I'm super happy," the "Cambia El Paso" singer gushed during her July 5 chat with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, stopping short of explicitly naming the fresh, yet, familiar love behind her newfound bliss. "I know people are always wondering, 'How are you? What's going on? Are you okay?' This is it. I've never been better." 

In other words...

Alex, who? 

It was while filming Shotgun Wedding in the Dominican Republic this past spring that Lopez began to heal from her broken engagement to retired professional baseball player Alex Rodriguez. "While I was there, I had got to a point in my life where I really felt good on my own," the musician continued. "I'm good. I love my life right now. I love what I'm doing. I love where I'm at. I love the person that I am continually kind of evolving into and becoming."

Cobra Team / BACKGRID

And the more time Lopez spent flying solo, the stronger she felt. "I've really gotten to a place in my life where I'm great on my own," explained the 52-year-old. "And I think once you get to that place, then amazing things happen to you that you never imagine in your life happening again."

Like, say, reconnecting with the man you fell hard for in your early 30s only to fall hard and fast once more. "It's all very new and exciting even though they have known each other forever," a source told E! News back in those early weeks. "It's been fun to get to know each other all over again."

In the not-quite-four months since Lopez and Affleck set the Internet ablaze with rumblings of Bennifer 2.0 after that first late April sighting at her Los Angeles-area pad, the two have had quite the time, traveling from Montana to Miami to Monaco together, even ringing in July 4 with her 13-year-old twins Max and Emme at her $10 million Hamptons spread. 

Spread Pictures / SplashNews.com

And now Jenny is ready to leave the East Coast behind and settle down on a new block just down the street from her Brentwood, Calif.-based guy. "She plans to be in L.A. full time so she'd like a home that is more substantial for her and the kids," a source recently explained to E! News. "Ben is supportive of the entire thing. 

Of course he's not the only one who's stoked for a second chance at an old love. Lopez "hasn't been this happy in a long time," a source close to the star told E! News. "Her and Ben are fully committed to each other." 

Having gained nearly two decades' worth of lessons on romance, commitment and the importance of family, they've had more than enough time to reflect on the mistakes they made the first time around. And no doubt they feel better prepared to deal with the onslaught of attention their recoupling has brought with an older, wiser, zero f--ks given attitude

Because this time they feel that they've really gotten it right. "It's truly meant to be," said the Lopez source, "and everyone around them thinks they are a perfect match."

Their crew does seems particularly primed to pop the vintage 2002 Dom.

Lopez's bestie Leah Remini signaled her acceptance by sharing a photo of Affleck taking part in her June birthday festivities, an event that came just a few days after he aced another get-reacquainted-with-my-friends outing. 

During a May 31 dinner atop West Hollywood's Pendry Hotel, Affleck made quick work of charming Lopez's longtime manager Benny Medina and producing partner Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas. "He mixed in well with her friends and seemed very comfortable talking to them and making conversation," noted an onlooker. "They all had a lot of laughs and a great time."

And such was the case when Lopez returned the favor Aug. 9, making the trip to Malibu for a beach hang with his forever BFF Matt Damon. "Jennifer got along great with Matt," said an eyewitness. "They were laughing and just like old friends."


Because, well, they are, Damon having been around for the first iteration of Bennifer. 

"I'm just so happy for him," he told Extra at the NYC premiere of his flick Stillwater when asked about the renewed romance. "He deserves every happiness in the world. I'm glad for both of them." 

It's a fairly popular sentiment. While Affleck has made quick work of charming Lopez's son and daughter—"Her kids really like Ben and think he's funny and fun to be around," a source said in June—the rest of her family was downright thrilled to welcome him back into the fold. 

Few more so than Lopez's mom Guadalupe Rodríguez, who regained her casino buddy in the deal, joining Affleck for a quick trip to Vegas in June. "Guadalupe loves Ben," said an Affleck source at the time, "and is happy that he is back in Jennifer's life." 

Cobra Team / BACKGRID

Though, of course, no one is quite as stoked as Lopez is to have the chance to settle down with a grown-up version of her '00s boyfriend—a man with a decade and a half of fatherhood experience, a dedication to his sobriety, the emotional maturity to admit the mistakes he made in his first marriage, even a few Oscars and the sort of industry respect that comes with being a Hollywood heavy-hitter. 

Not to mention he's put in the work at winning over Lopez since first reaching out this spring with that first tentative dinner offer. "He's really making a huge effort," a source told E! News toward the end of May, when it was still not quite clear if Lopez and Affleck were in fun throwback fling territory or edging toward something more. "J.Lo thinks Ben has really stepped up and loves this version of him." (And, of course, he's consistently remained her cheerleader all of these years, the person most confident she was destined to become the type of superstar that could book the Super Bowl halftime show and a presidential inauguration in the same 11-month stretch.) 

And whether the pair are looking loved up on a yacht meandering from Monaco to Italy's Amalfi Coast, throwing it back to 2002 while celebrating her birthday at a St. Tropez club or simply enjoying a family-friendly trip to Universal Studios, the theme remains the same. 

"She's totally in love with Ben," said a Lopez source, "and only has eyes for him." 

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck at Her 52nd Birthday Party

So is it time to fetch the $1.2 million pink Harry Winston from the padded safe deposit box we assume it's been living in for the past 17 years? 

Not quite. All that matters to Lopez right now is that Affleck treats her right and gives her all the things that money can't buy. While Lopez is focused on setting up shop in Los Angeles to be closer to the 49-year-old, who's celebrating his own birthday Aug. 15, they're not making the jump to cohabitation, much less a permanent commitment.  

"They have been meshing their lives and families and don't feel the need to get engaged yet or even tie the knot," explains a Lopez source. "They have both been there and don't feel it's necessary."

Particularly not when everything is going so great as is. "It's natural between them and the chemistry is unreal," a Lopez source raved. "They picked up right where they last left off."