Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck's Kids: Everything They've Said About Parenting
Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck are famously proud — and private — parents.
The Yes Day actress and the Gone Girl star split in 2015 after 10 years of marriage, officially divorcing three years later. Together, they co-parent their three children: Violet Anne, 17, Seraphina Rose, 13, and Samuel, 10.
Over the years, the former pair have worked hard to keep their kids out of the spotlight, particularly regarding paparazzi photos and social media. In 2013, Garner joined a group of celebrity parents led by Halle Berry to pass a bill that outlawed paparazzi photos of children taken without permission. She's also been outspoken about her decision to keep her kids off social media, saying she doesn't "see anything positive" for them in it.
Despite Garner and Affleck's best efforts to preserve their children's privacy, the family has had to weather several public ups and downs over the years. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in March 2021, Garner told the outlet how she navigated negative press attention surrounding her family by being upfront and communicative with her kids.
"When they were smaller and there were things out there that were shocking, my request to them was always, 'Let Dad and I talk you through whatever it is,' " she explained. "I'd tell them, 'If you see an image on the front of a magazine, I'll look at it with you and we'll process all the scary feelings that come up together.' "
For his part, Affleck told the Los Angeles Times in January 2022 that he worried about how his kids would handle his public perception, explaining that he paid little mind to the media attention surrounding him until his children began to see it.
Linda Cataffo/NY Daily News Archive
"I got to a place where [the public perception] was so different from who I am that I just stopped reading and stopped caring," he said. "But then, as my kids got older and started seeing the Internet themselves, that's the difficult part."
"Even the 'Sad Affleck' meme — that was funny to me," he said. "I mean, there's nobody who hasn't felt that way at a junket. But then my kids see it and I think, 'Oh, are they going to think their dad is fundamentally sad or they have to worry about me?' That's really tough," Affleck explained.
Speaking to Good Morning America in December 2021, the two-time Academy Award winner added that the only opinion of him that matters is that of his children.
"I will be long dead and someone will ask my kids, 'What was your dad like?' and that is when I will know what my life was worth," he said.
Affleck has also said that he considers his kids when making career moves. In fact, getting more time with his kids was one reason he began his production company, Artists Equity, which allows him to be in Los Angeles more.
"One of the reasons I did it was, I'm divorced. I share custody. I don't want to go to Austin and New Orleans and Georgia anymore and not see my kids," he told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published March 16, 2023.
"It just doesn't work. These years are too important. If I miss them, I'll regret it for the rest of my life," he added.
Garner and Affleck have offered a handful of glimpses into their family life over the years, from ways their kids poke fun at them to how they co-parent. Each of the actors have since moved on after their divorce: Garner has been dating CEO John Miller on and off since 2018, while Affleck reconnected with ex-fiancée Jennifer Lopez in 2021, whom he'd been engaged to before his relationship with Garner; he and the singer wed in July 2022.
From their early reflections on raising children to how they're navigating life with teenagers, here's everything Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck have said about parenting.
Violet Anne Affleck, 17
Garner and Affleck welcomed their first child, Violet, on Dec. 1, 2005. "Mother, father and baby are doing great," a rep for the couple told PEOPLE at the time. The pair's oldest child shares a middle name, Anne, with her mom.
Two years after welcoming Violet, Garner gushed about Affleck's parenting skills during a 2007 interview with InStyle.
"You know how as a kid you picture yourself with a tall, handsome husband, and you imagine him cuddling your baby? Ben is that, like, on crack," she said. "Granted, I still obsess: 'Do you know what you're doing?' … But Violet prefers him to anyone. He's a teddy bear of a guy. Nothing makes me happier than to see the two of them together and her little hands on his face." She added that she admired his "prevailing calm," which stemmed from a slight advantage: "Of course, he has the benefit of sleep."
From the beginning of their parenting journey, Garner and Affleck did their best to keep their children out of the spotlight, which proved difficult given the intense media attention surrounding their relationship. When she was just a kindergartener, Violet was already dealing with the paparazzi, as Garner explained in a March 2021 cover story for The Hollywood Reporter.
The actress recalled a time when Violet spoke out about the traumatic experience of being constantly photographed. "She stood up on a chair in a little velvet dress, with her hair a bit back and her glasses on and she didn't say her R's right, and she said: 'We didn't ask for this. We don't want these cameras, they're scary. The men are scary, they knock each other over and it's hard to feel like a kid when you're being chased.' "
Garner noted that the constant attention "put so much anxiety in our little family," which was one of the reasons she was inspired to help to pass a bill that made it a crime for paparazzi to photograph children without permission.
"Anywhere that we went it was a total circus," she said during a conversation on PBS' Tell Me More With Kelly Corrigan in October 2020, adding that the paparazzi had a profound impact on her kids' childhoods, particularly when it came to their firstborn. "My one daughter tried to play soccer and it was such a zoo for the families that they just said, 'Can you please not,' " Garner explained.
Out of the spotlight, however, Garner and Affleck raised their kids with whatever sense of normalcy they could. When Violet was a preteen, Garner expressed her fears over giving her a laptop, explaining that she relented after learning Violet was the only kid in her class without one — but also admitting that she was "kind of panicked" about it.
"She's not on social media yet — her school has a no social media policy until 6th grade — but I know it's coming soon," Garner told Today in 2016.
The actress echoed her concerns about social media again in 2019, explaining that she wouldn't let Violet join Instagram.
"She'll occasionally talk to me about getting Instagram, and I can see why because I'm on there and it's something kind of fun that I do, and I am modeling the opposite of what I want for her to do," Garner told Katie Couric. "How often is that in parenting?"
And though Violet's parents are both A-list actors, that doesn't mean they're immune from getting humbled by their kids. Affleck revealed at a February 2020 screening of his film The Way Back that Violet would "tease" him over his emoji usage in a group chat with his younger costars.
"My daughter is so funny, she teases me, she's 14 and she's like 'Why do they let you on this group chat? You don't know what you're talking about. Don't pretend you have any idea what's going on,' " Affleck laughed. "Then she's like, 'What are they saying on the group chat?' which is only appropriate very rarely for my daughter, but it's a lot of fun. It's a way to stay in touch. It's fun."
On Violet's 15th birthday in December 2020, Garner stopped by the Today show, where hosts co-hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager expressed their shock about how quickly she had grown up.
"Can you stand it? Can you believe little Violet Affleck, she is 15?" Garner replied. When Kotb asked how Garner would handle her firstborn dating, the actress replied with a laugh, "All I know is she's on Zoom school, she goes to an all-girls school — we haven't had to deal with that yet."
Nathan Howard/Getty Violet Affleck and Jennifer Garner
For Violet's 17th birthday in 2022, she made a rare public appearance with Garner at a State dinner hosted by President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.
Seraphina Rose Elizabeth Affleck, 13
Garner and Affleck welcomed their second child on Jan. 6, 2009. Seven days later, the couple's rep revealed their newborn's name exclusively to PEOPLE: Seraphina Rose Elizabeth Affleck.
Ahead of Seraphina's birth, Garner and Affleck's pal Bradley Cooper spoke to PEOPLE about the couple expanding their family, noting that he thought the pair would be "perfect" parents.
"She was a great leader for a TV show I did with her and she can literally do anything. So she can certainly run a family," Cooper said of Garner, his Alias costar. "She will have no problems having two kids."
In 2012, Garner said that Affleck was excelling as a dad. "He's all about [tea parties]. He can do it without using any energy at all," she said during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. "He can sit there and be almost asleep and they think they're having an incredible game with him. It's skill."
And while Affleck and Garner quickly settled into their new role as parents of two, Affleck later revealed that having multiple children made him rethink how he approached his career and work schedule.
"My life has really changed a lot. Once I had kids, it became very obvious to me that the priority was time with them," he told PEOPLE in 2021 when he was working on The Tender Bar with his longtime pal George Clooney, who directed the film.
"George was spectacular in that way," Affleck said of the director. "He's a dad too and would let me out on the weekends or cut me early. He really understood and appreciated how important it was for me to see my kids."
The actor added that prioritizing family over work became especially important "when I got divorced and had half the time. ... So I'm trying to fit a whole week of dad into three and a half days, [it's] hard and stressful. My standards really changed. I don't want to go travel and do something if it's not really rewarding and meaningful. Yeah, I have to work. The kids know I have to work. Their mom has to work. They understand that. But it's not like I'm some martyr for my kids. I get more out of it than anything else," he shared.
Garner and Affleck announced they were divorcing after 10 years of marriage in June 2015, when Violet was 9, Seraphina was 6 and Samuel was 3.
The following year, Affleck gave an update on how their co-parenting journey was going while speaking to E! News at the March 2016 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice premiere. "Jen is a superhero mom. She is an amazing mother and I'm really lucky to have her as a partner to co-parent these kids with. We try our best, we put them first and that's what we do."
In her first major post-split interview, Garner revealed to Vanity Fair in 2016 that while she was still getting over their romantic relationship, she and Affleck were "completely in line" with their dreams for their kids.
"It's not Ben's job to make me happy," she told the outlet. "The main thing is these kids — and we're completely in line with what we hope for them. Sure, I lost the dream of dancing with my husband at my daughter's wedding. But you should see their faces when he walks through the door. And if you see your kids love someone so purely and wholly, then you're going to be friends with that person."
In 2018, the former couple reunited to host a party for Seraphina's 9th birthday. "It was a small celebration," a source told PEOPLE. "Ben was there too. Seraphina had friends over for cake and got a lot of gifts."
Seraphina, now 13, has also seemingly embraced being a part of a larger blended family after Affleck married Lopez, as she's been spotted spending time with Lopez's twins Emme and Max on several occasions. Seraphina also joined siblings Violet and Samuel, along with Emme and Max, in giving away their parents at their August 2022 wedding.
Samuel Affleck, 10
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Garner and Affleck's third child, Samuel, was born on Feb. 27, 2012. "We are happy to announce on February 27, Jennifer gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Samuel Garner Affleck," the actor posted on Facebook to share the happy news.
Ahead of welcoming Samuel, Garner told Ellen DeGeneres, "It would be so weird to have a boy," adding that the experience would be "cool and different."
After giving birth to Samuel, Garner gave DeGeneres an update on her new life as a mom of three. "I mean, [my daughters] didn't pee in my eye," she joked, before adding that her son is "really, really, really sweet."
"I don't know if it's because he's a boy. I don't know if it's because he's my third and I forget that I have him," she continued. "You're just dealing with two and then you think, 'I swear I put a baby down somewhere.' And you kind of walk through the house, 'There you are!' and he's just happy as can be."
She also shared an update on Samuel's personality. "He reaches when he sees me and he laughs a lot," she said. "He thinks I'm super funny. What more do you want?"
As Samuel grew up, he seemed to have inherited a love of baseball from his dad, who's famously a die-hard Boston Red Sox fan. In 2019, Affleck told DeGeneres that he was the coach of Samuel's Little League team. "It's one of those things, you love it so much, it's like the dad dream," he said, explaining that he was so dedicated to the job, he had even pulled a few strings to be at every game.
"I had a game last week and I was promoting [Triple Frontier], and I was going to Asia and I was like, 'I have to come back a day early!' " he said. "And it was like, 'Whats the … ?' And I was like, 'My son's Little League game? I'm the coach.' But thank you, Netflix. They did let me [go]."
That same year, Affleck recalled how he took matters into his own hands after Samuel told him he wasn't a New England Patriots fan.
The actor explained to Jimmy Kimmel how he tried to share some Boston sports history with Samuel before they headed to a World Series Red Sox game.
"I was telling my 6-year-old, my son in particular, you know, 'We're really excited because we're from Boston and this is a big deal and the Red Sox' and I'm giving him the whole history," Affleck told the host.
"And he listens to me and then he stops and goes, 'Dad. You're from Boston. I'm from L.A.,' " Affleck continued. "And I had a full existential crisis. 'I failed, I'm a bad father, this is a disaster, I don't know what to do!' "
Rather than accept his son's L.A. fandom, Affleck decided to "help him understand where he comes from. If not literally, then spiritually" by decking Samuel's room out in Patriots gear — including a giant football slide, a chair shaped like then-quarterback Tom Brady's head and life-sized poster of Brady on the wall.
"My ex-wife thinks it's creepy," he joked.
Affleck's efforts seemed to have some effect on his son, as Samuel recently made a rare public appearance at a Boston Celtics game in December 2022, where he sat courtside with his dad at the Crypto.com Arena in L.A.
In February 2023, Samuel and the Gone Girl star attended the Ruffles Celebrity Game during NBA All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City, Utah. The father-son duo had the honor of introducing the teams before the game, and while sitting courtside, they snapped a photo with Shaquille O'Neal.