Ben Affleck 'Loves' Jennifer Lopez 'for Her': 'He Wants to Protect What They Have' (Source)

Ben Affleck feels protective of his rekindled romance with Jennifer Lopez.

A Hollywood insider tells PEOPLE in this week's issue that the Gone Girl star, 51, has "found someone who truly loves her for her."

"Ben wants to protect what they have," adds the insider.

And 17 years after breaking off their engagement, the couple "are madly in love," the insider says.

Lopez and Affleck, 48, originally began dating in July 2002 and got engaged that November before postponing their September 2003 wedding days before the date. They ultimately called off their engagement in January 2004. They were first spotted spending time together again in April.

RELATED: Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck Are 'Madly in Love' as They Plan for a Future Together: Source

Ben Affleck - Jennifer Lopez
Ben Affleck - Jennifer Lopez

Emma McIntyre/Getty (2) Ben Affleck (L); Jennifer Lopez

A source close to Lopez and Affleck says the actor is "very happy" with Lopez and that "she's wonderful for him."

"They want to do everything they can to make this work," adds a Lopez source.

Of the connection between the Hustlers star and two-time Oscar winner, the Lopez source says: "Even though their split many years ago was devastating for Jennifer, she has never had a bad word to say about Ben."

A source recently told PEOPLE that "their relationship is very strong" as the two have been spotted hanging out together, including spending time with each other's children. (Affleck is dad to daughters Seraphina, 12, and Violet, 15, plus son Samuel, 9, with ex-wife Jennifer Garner. Lopez co-parents Emme, 13, and her twin brother Max, 13, with ex-husband Marc Anthony.)

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On Tuesday, Today co-host Hoda Kotb told Lopez on the show that she noticed the singer looked a lot happier in recent photos of her rekindled relationship. She then asked Lopez to confirm or not, saying, "Are you happier?" before Lopez dodged the question like an expert.

"You can call me. You have my number!" she joked to Kotb.

For more about Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.