Long before Jennifer Lopez met her now-fiancé Alex Rodriguez, there was “Bennifer,” — a.k.a her high-profile relationship with Ben Affleck. While fans might look back at the early aughts couple positively, Affleck revealed in a new episode of The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast that their relationship was subject to disturbing criticism — with JLo bearing the weight of most of the negative tabloids.
“You know, there’s always a story of the month, and me dating Jennifer Lopez happened to be that tabloid story at the time when that business grew exponentially,” Affleck said during the podcast. “They needed something to write about, and we were that thing.” Lopez met and started dating Affleck on the set of the film Gigli. The two got engaged in 2002 before they decided to go their separate ways two years later.
“People were so fucking mean about her — sexist, racist. Ugly, vicious shit was written about her in ways that if you wrote it now you would literally be fired for saying those things you said,” Affleck recalled. Today, the actor couldn’t be happier for his ex-fiancée and is so proud of the empire she has built for herself all these years later.
“Now it’s like, she’s lionized and respected for the work she did, where she came from, what she accomplished — as well she fucking should be! I would say you have a better shot, coming from the Bronx, of ending up as like [Justice Sonia] Sotomayor on the Supreme Court than you do of having Jennifer Lopez’s career and being who she is at 50 years old today.”
In 2017, Lopez talked about her romance with the Gone Girl actor with Us Weekly.“I lost my sense of self, questioned if I belonged in this business, thought maybe I did suck at everything,” she said. “And my relationship [with Affleck] self-destructed in front of the entire world. It was a two-year thing for me until I picked myself up again.”
Of course, both Affleck and Lopez have since found happiness with someone else, with the actor dating Ana de Armas. But we can’t help but be in awe of Lopez, and we’re so glad that she is finally getting the respect she should have received all along.