The new Netflix superhero series Daredevil isn't supposed to conjure images of true love. But it should for fans of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, who eventually became a couple after co-starring in the 2003 film version of the story.
The actors first met when they co-starred in 2001's Pearl Harbor. At that time, she was married to her Felicity co-star Scott Foley, and Ben had last been linked to his Shakespeare in Love leading lady, Gwyneth Paltrow.
But Affleck and Garner's second film together is when they really clicked, although both were still taken. "We met on Pearl Harbor, which people hate," Affleck told Playboy in a recent interview, "but we fell in love on Daredevil."
Still, it's not like they rode off into the sunset together, not just yet anyway. Affleck began dating singer and actress Jennifer Lopez the same summer that Daredevil was filming in 2002.
Meanwhile, Garner was still married, but not for long. She and Foley announced their separation in April 2003 and filed for divorce in May. Within months, she began dating her Alias co-star Michael Vartan. There were rumors that Vartan or someone else had caused the breakup, but Foley shot them down.
"Nobody else was involved," Foley told TV Guide in late 2003. "Jennifer became a huge celebrity. She became a huge star, and she deserved everything she got. There was no other relationship, there was no infidelity, nothing. People get divorced, you know? Through no one's fault and everyone's fault."
Garner and Affleck obviously had an affection for each other, though. When he was named People's Sexiest Man Alive in 2002, Garner gave a gushing quote about Affleck's turn as a superhero. "We all swooned," she told the magazine. "He's your basic tall, dark, and handsome. He's it. You want him to save you. I can't imagine anyone the world would rather see swoop in and save the day than Ben."
In January 2003, just one month before their action flick was released to underwhelming reviews, Garner's feelings for Affleck were clear during an episode of Jon Favreau's IFC show, Dinner for Five, with the Daredevil cast. As Vulture pointed out, the way she looked at him said it all. And he was flirty right back!
The famous Bennifer relationship between Affleck and J.Lo continued through much of 2003. But in September, they postponed their planned wedding, and Lopez ended the relationship for good in January 2004.
Finally, the summer of 2004 was Garner and Affleck's time. She asked him to do a cameo in her Daredevil spinoff, Elektra, reprising her role from their film. The new movie movie wasn't received well, and Affleck's scene was cut, but Garner did get a new off-screen love interest out of it.
By April 2005, Garner and Affleck were already engaged. As Garner told Parade in 2010, he wooed her with romantic emails. They married in June 2005. At the time, Garner was pregnant with their first child.
So what attracted them to one another aside from the obvious? Garner won Affleck's heart with her unwavering support during what was a tough time professionally for him. The paparazzi attention from his relationship with J.Lo happened at the same time he starred in one box office dud after another. Think Gigli, Surviving Christmas, and Jersey Girl.
"I thought, OK, I want to get out of this," Affleck told Playboy in December 2013. "My wife [Garner] was definitely around then. Getting to know her, falling in love with her, and being connected with her gave me a foundation to reach out and say, OK, I'm going to do [2006's] Hollywoodland; I'm going to direct [2007's] Gone Baby Gone. Those were the steps forward I needed to put positive stuff on the board. She is by leaps and bounds the most important person to me in that respect. Over the past 10 years she has allowed me to have a stable home life while accomplishing my professional goals."
Affleck's career has since been on an upswing, with a movie he directed, Argo, winning the 2013 Oscar for Best Picture, and a starring role in last year's box office hit Gone Girl. He's even set to play another comic book hero, Batman, in a highly anticipated movie coming out in 2016. Garner's last big releases were the Oscar-nominated Dallas Buyers Club and the family-friendly Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Both are parents to daughters Violet, 9, and Seraphina, 6, and son Samuel, 3.
As Affleck summed up in that Playboy interview, "The Rotten Tomatoes rating [an average of critical reviews] is not in direct proportion to how important a life experience a movie was."
Rotten Tomatoes gives Daredevil a paltry 45 percent. We're guessing Garner and Affleck would score it somewhere closer to off the charts.