The actor is returning to the screen in his new movie The Way Back, in which he plays a high school basketball coach struggling to keep his life together while battling alcohol addiction and coping with a failed marriage. The movie has echoes of his own experience, as Affleck has been honest about his own road to sobriety and his public divorce from Garner.
In a new interview with The New York Times, published Tuesday, Affleck reflects on his own mistakes while discussing the film, admitting, “The biggest regret of my life is this divorce.”
“Shame is really toxic,” he continued. “There is no positive byproduct of shame. It’s just stewing in a toxic, hideous feeling of low self-worth and self-loathing.”
“I drank relatively normally for a long time,” he told the outlet. “What happened was that I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart. This was 2015, 2016. My drinking, of course, created more marital problems.”
Affleck and Garner, both 47, announced their separation in June 2015 and settled their divorce in October 2018. The two first started dating in 2004 and married the next year, later welcoming three kids — daughters Violet, 14, and Seraphina, 11, and son Samuel, 7.
While Affleck was willing to talk about the shame he feels, he also took a step back and admitted that it wasn’t a good place for him to dwell in.
“It’s not particularly healthy for me to obsess over the failures — the relapses — and beat myself up,” he told the Times. “I have certainly made mistakes. I have certainly done things that I regret. But you’ve got to pick yourself up, learn from it, learn some more, try to move forward.”
Affleck, who’s been in rehab multiple times, entered rehab again in August 2018.
In October 2018, he broke his silence about his treatment in an emotional statement on Instagram.
“This week I completed a forty-day stay at a treatment center for alcohol addiction and remain in outpatient care,” Affleck revealed in a post. “Battling any addiction is a lifelong and difficult struggle. Because of that, one is never really in or out of treatment. It is a full-time commitment. I am fighting for myself and my family.”
The actor suffered another relapse a year later in October 2019 after appearing to be publicly inebriated outside a Halloween party.
The Way Back opens March 6.