Sweet, kind and open, Jennifer Garner has always felt relatable, like the friend you’ve always wanted to call first with good news or go to the farmer’s market with. But the Hollywood darling has also experienced her fair share of lows, both personally and professionally, and in the wake of her 2015 split from Ben Affleck, she’s become an example of how to weather personal storms in the public eye with dignity and grace. Since then, Garner has been getting her groove back with a career renaissance like no other and best of all, she’s been doing it on her own terms.
The last couple of years have been eventful, sure. But they’ve also marked significant growth — the kind of growth fans can see publicly and admire from afar. With Garner celebrating her 47th birthday on April 17, I want to take a moment to appreciate everything she has done and undergone in terms of a personal and professional transformation in recent years.
Over the course of Garner and Affleck’s 10-year marriage, the 13 Going on 30 actress went into full mom-mode, taking on a lighter load of projects and films while raising her three kids, Violet, 13, Seraphina, 10, and Samuel, 7, (who she loves to love and occasionally embarrasses, which only makes us love her more). The 2015 split and the three years it took for Garner and Affleck to finalize their divorce took a toll, as she shared in a 2018 CBS News interview, Garner said the public scrutiny was incredibly stressful. But following the split, Garner has become — much like the kinds of women she plays in film and TV — a rock to her family. In recent years, she has worked out a routine with Affleck which, from an outsider’s perspective, seems to work, especially since it ties back to the coparenting commitment they made when they announced their split.
Garner has remained amicable with Affleck, supporting him through his own personal highs and lows, which include helping him through relapses with substance abuse and taking him to rehab in August 2018. Now, Garner is moving on and finding love again with CEO John Miller and she is reportedly “extremely happy.” Yes, girl!
But it’s not just the personal growth that has given way to a Garner renaissance; it’s everything that has happened in her career, too. A quick look at Garner’s mile-long IMDB credits over the last four years tell the story of an actor who is working her way back to prestige projects after years of supporting roles. Most importantly, she’s staying true to herself, playing wives and mothers who are anchors to their families, who provide guidance or love at the drop of a hat, who are devoted but are never weak or silly.
There’s no direct correlation between Garner’s split with Affleck and her sudden rise back to the top of the pack, but it’s certainly interesting that it happened at the same time she began to focus on herself and her children. Here stands a woman who not only has an Instagram presence full of warmth and humor which rivals Chrissy Teigen’s, but also a businesswoman, overseeing a company dedicated to making organic baby food and making it accessible to WIC recipients. On top of this, Garner is coming back into the acting game in a big way.
Soon, Garner will be pairing up with Alias partner-in-crime J.J. Abrams for an Apple TV+ limited series My Glory Was I Had Such Friends, which will see her going back into tender territory as a woman leaning on her friends as she prepares for life-saving heart surgery. Garner is not backing down from her recent professional wins and honestly, with this batting average (so to speak), why would we ever want her to?
Garner is living proof that life takes us on very unexpected journeys and whatever your situation is now, it will likely be completely different in the coming years. But like Garner, you can choose to rise above it and focus on living positively, embracing the joy and finding ways to push yourself to new highs. I can’t wait to see where Garner goes from here but for now, I’ll just marvel at how far she’s come.