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Ben Affleck Gushes Over Ex Jennifer Lopez 17 Years After Their Breakup

Samantha Schnurr
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Before there was J.Lo and A-Rod or Mr. and Mrs. Marc Anthony, there was Bennifer.

In the early aughts, few couples captivated the spotlight like Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck. The pair was a tabloid fixture throughout the course of their romance, 2002 engagement and subsequent split in 2004.

And, while their personal paths have since diverged, the Oscar winner has made it clear he continues to hold Lopez, his former leading lady on-screen and off, in high regard.

As he told InStyle for a feature on his Hustlers ex, "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 in which she took her work, the quiet and dedicated way she went about accomplishing her goals, and then how she would go back and redouble her efforts."

Thirty-five years after her first working credit, Lopez is now a two-time Golden Globe nominee and one of the most beloved performers in Hollywood. According to Affleck, her meteoric rise and lasting stardom has not been by accident.

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"She remains, to this day, the hardest-working person I've come across in this business," he said. "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."

The sentiment was echoed by Anthony, her former husband of seven years, who noted he was "quite the opposite."

"The thing about Jennifer is her ability to see and understand things before they happen. Before she even brings an idea up, she has visualized it a thousand times. And if anyone says it might not be the greatest idea, she'll say, 'You just don't see it yet,'" he shared with InStyle. "Nine times out of 10, she'll nail it."

Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez
Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez

His praise continued for the mother of their twins, Max and Emme. "She's the first one in the room and the last to leave. The hardest worker I've ever met," he proclaimed. "When we were together, it was quite the opposite for me. That has changed since. I learned so much from her. She's the original!"