Ben Affleck Reflects on "Painful" Mischaracterization of His Comments About Ex Jennifer Garner

More than a year after Ben Affleck made headlines over comments about ex Jennifer Garner, the Oscar winner has become guarded in the public eye. Allow him to explain below.

By Jess Cohen Mar 16, 2023 2:40 PMTags
Watch: Ben Affleck Clears Up Past Comments About Ex Jennifer Garner

Ben Affleck has a different approach to fame after being burned in the past.

In fact, the Justice League star is reflecting on a difficult period in his life when comments he made about his marriage to Jennifer Garner were misconstrued.

"I had a really painful experience where I did an interview where I was really vulnerable," Affleck—discussing why he avoids Instagram and is cautious of interviews—recalled in a March 16 cover story for The Hollywood Reporter, "and the entire pickup was something that was not only not right, it was actually the opposite of what I meant."

During a Dec. 2021 conversation with Howard Stern, Affleck was very open about his alcohol addiction and the demise of his marriage to Garner, who he shares kids Violet, 17, Seraphina, 14, and Samuel, 11, with.

And although the Gone Girl actor initially walked away satisfied with the interview, his words quickly made headlines. "The idea that I was blaming my wife for my drinking. To be clear, my behavior is my responsibility entirely," Affleck told THR. "The point that I was trying to make was a sad one. Anyone who's been through divorce makes that calculus of, How much do we try?"

Affleck and Garner, both 50, announced their breakup in 2015 after 10 years of marriage.

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck's Georgia Wedding

"We loved each other. We care about each other. We have respect for each other," he noted. "I was trying to say, 'Hey, look, I was drinking too much, and the less happy you become, whether it's your job, your marriage, it's just that as your life becomes more difficult, if you're doing things to fill a hole that aren't healthy, you're going to start doing more of those things.' I think I was pretty articulate about that."

Aurora Rose/Starpix/Shutterstock

The Argo director added that his comments to Stern were "mischaracterized it in order to make it clickbait, and everyone else then picked it up, and it didn't matter how many times I said, 'I do not feel this way. I'm telling you, I don't blame my ex-wife for my alcoholism.' So, yeah. It's hard."

David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images, Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for SiriusXM, Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic

Since their split, Affleck and Garner have remained united as co-parents, though they've moved on romantically. While the Alias alum has been in a relationship with boyfriend John Miller for several years, Affleck reunited with ex Jennifer Lopez and the duo tied the knot last year. (Twice.)

The superstar singer is even giving him advice on his relationship with the media. "So [Jennifer Lopez] tells me today, 'Relax, be yourself. Have fun. You're actually a fun guy who is real and genuine and you just seem so serious,'" Affleck said. "Do I seem serious? But as in many things, she's really right. And she loves me. She's looking out for me. She's trying to help me. So it's like, maybe I ought to f--king listen to her."

Another thing Lopez is an expert at? Social media. Though he's deleted his own Instagram account, Affleck told THR, "My wife's a genius at that. I don't know if there's anybody who understands Instagram better than her."

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