They were last an item nearly two decades ago. Now — after divorces, rehab and assorted cheating scandals — it seems the original 2000s golden couple are together again, to the delight of their fans. Yes, ‘Bennifer’ is back on.
Now they’re on holiday together in Miami, with sources saying: ‘She was always obsessed with Ben. They have always loved each other.’
Alison Boshoff explores how Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck rekindled their romance as they enjoy a holiday in Miami (pictured)
On Monday, they went to the gym together and an observer said they ‘looked madly in love’, ‘shared a kiss on the gym floor and were super playful with each other between sets’.
Photographs appear to show him wearing a watch (circled, right) she gave him after he appeared in the video for her 2002 hit song Jenny From The Block.
They split up in 2004, and both quickly married new partners: singer and actress J. Lo wed salsa artist Marc Anthony within five months; six months later, actor and director Affleck tied the knot with actress Jennifer Garner.
So how did J. Lo and Affleck get back together? And, crucially, can these superstars possibly make a go of their romance the second time around, in what must be the most sensational love sequel in showbusiness since Burton and Taylor?
With hindsight, the first rumblings that something was afoot came in January, when Affleck split from his girlfriend of a year, actress Ana de Armas, 33.
Within days, he was passionately defending J. Lo. He told the Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast: ‘People were so f***ing mean about her — sexist, racist. Ugly, vicious s*** was written about her . . . Now it’s like, she’s lionised and respected for the work she did, where she came from, what she accomplished — as well she f***ing should be!’
He was rather more eloquent in March when he spoke to InStyle magazine: ‘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 with which she took her work, the quiet and dedicated way she went about accomplishing her goals.
According to published reports, Ben Affleck started emailing Jennifer Lopez regularly in February. Pictured: The couple in 2003
‘She remains 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.’
In private, a ‘love-bombing’ was in full swing. According to published reports, Affleck started emailing her regularly in February. She was in the Dominican Republic making a film, Shotgun Wedding, amid rumours that her engagement to baseball player Alex Rodriguez, or A-Rod — whom she had dated for four years — was on the rocks.
Affleck reportedly wrote in his emails that he wished he could join her, and complimented her beauty. Sources said he could ‘own her heart’ with his words.
Showbiz site TMZ wrote: ‘We’re told they continued emailing each other, back and forth, for the duration of J. Lo’s shoot, which wrapped in late April.’
Her split from A-Rod was announced on April 15.
The first serious hint of a Bennifer reunion came later that month, when they were photographed separately but using the same car to go to and from her house. Oddly, she had rolled down the window so was fully seen by paparazzi.
Jennifer and Ben were photographed separately but using the same car to go to and from her house in April. Pictured: J. Lo in 2021
Then, on May 2, J. Lo shimmered on stage at the Vax Live charity concert in LA to sing Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline. Never part of her repertoire before, she explained that her mother, Guadalupe, used to sing it to her as a lullaby.
However, her performance is believed to have been a none-too-subtle love message to Affleck.
He was in the audience, and Sweet Caroline is the anthem of his beloved baseball team, the Boston Red Sox. Significantly, J. Lo also came on to the stage to the strains of her 2002 hit I’m Glad. When Affleck proposed to her in 2002, this was what he played.
Within hours of the performance, they were on their way to Affleck’s holiday home in Montana, where they spent a week alone together.
The couple’s friends seem as happy as the public at the prospect of a reunion.
Affleck’s close friend Matt Damon says: ‘I hope it’s true. I love them both. That would be awesome.’ J. Lo’s mother is also apparently thrilled at this turn of events. That J. Lo and Affleck had a passionate relationship first time round is undeniable: he bought her a Bentley, a Rolls-Royce and a huge, $1.2 million pink diamond engagement ring.
The couple met on the set of the flop film Gigli, with Affleck observing: ‘She’s the funniest, classiest, most intoxicating woman I have ever known.’
The couple met on the set of the flop film Gigli, with Affleck observing: ‘She’s the funniest, classiest, most intoxicating woman I have ever known.’ Pictured: Jennifer and Ben in 2002
But they postponed their September 2003 wedding with only four days to go — after reaching the point of hiring three decoy brides — blaming media attention. Four months later, they split.
Affleck said: ‘For a while everything was beautiful between me and Jen. Then it all fell apart really quickly. You can’t quite understand why you couldn’t do anything to prevent it.’
They had trouble deciding whether to live at his house in Georgia or her mansion in Miami. She was also said to have been furious after he gambled away £450,000 in a single night. The final straw seems to have been a night Affleck and Damon enjoyed in a Berlin nightclub, while the latter was filming The Bourne Supremacy. They partied until 4.30am, before returning to Damon’s apartment with a number of girls.
Given Affleck’s demons, can this relationship possibly go the distance a second time? The son of a recovered alcoholic, Affleck has been to rehab four times and he seems to gravitate towards gambling, boozing and womanising.
In an interview, he said: ‘There’s a lot of alcoholism and mental illness in my family. The legacy of that is quite powerful and sometimes hard to shake.’
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow dated him for three years pre-J. Lo, and told an interviewer that Affleck’s ideal woman would be ‘any sort of stripper . . . anyone that serves cold beer in a bikini’.
Ben’s friends approve of his relationship with Jennifer Lopez because she is teetoal. Pictured: The pair in 2003
His former wife, actress Jennifer Garner, has also stated that he is a ‘complicated guy’. She married Affleck just a year after his break-up from J. Lo, and was four months pregnant with their daughter, Violet, at the time. They went on to have another daughter, Seraphina, and a son, Samuel.
The marriage ran into trouble in 2015. After they split, Garner confirmed rumours that Affleck had become involved with their children’s nanny, but said they had been ‘separated for months’ before anything happened.
In 2018, Garner turned up at his house with a Bible and a lawyer and took him to rehab.
In October 2019, he suffered a ‘lapse in sobriety’ at a charity ball — he ended up heading to a casino with a blonde and buying $20,000 worth of poker chips. Apparently he was so drunk he could hardly sit up on his stool.
One reason his friends approve of his relationship with J. Lo is that she is teetotal. The hope is that a romance with her could perhaps at last allow him to gain peace and sobriety.
Given his troubled relationship history and her three divorces, one can only dream that — finally — they have both found true love.