There's just something about Ben Affleck these days.
Not only because he and Jennifer Lopez have caused the most delightfully unexpected disruption of the space-time continuum by getting married almost 19 years after they were originally planning to do so, their January 2004 breakup instead hurling them in opposite personal and professional directions, seemingly never to join forces again.
Though it's a lot because of that.
Yet it's the founder of JLo Beauty whose radiant visage is greeting drivers on Sunset Boulevard from a 60-foot billboard, Affleck's been emitting plenty of that JGlow as well. In fact, when he and his once-again girlfriend hit the red carpet hand-in-hand at the Venice Film Festival last September, we couldn't get over how better-than-ever Affleck looked.
The tux fit perfectly and his beard was just right. But in hindsight... it may have been the happiness.
"My life now reflects not just the person that I want to be," Affleck told WSJ. magazine for its December 2021/January 2022 issue, "but the person that I really feel like I am—which is not perfect, but somebody who tries very hard and cares very much about being honest and authentic and accountable. It's hard to say who benefits more, without going into gossipy detail."
He may have been talking about his "beautiful" rekindled relationship with Lopez—briefly, as he's not one to spend too much time on that subject, been there, done that—but is it OK if his fans reap some of the benefits, too?
Because a happy, healthy, hunky Affleck is our favorite kind.
Looking back on his career, the Boston-bred actor cloaked his handsomeness in lumbering buffoonery early on, paddling freshmen as bully O'Bannion in Dazed and Confused and threatening to kick everyone's ass in Mallrats. His leading-man looks ultimately became undeniable, though, and after a four-year run that included Armageddon, Pearl Harbor and an outing as Jack Ryan in The Sum of All Fears, he ended up chosen as People's Sexiest Man Alive in November 2002.
Suffice it to say, 30-year-old Affleck was doing OK.
But 20 years later—and celebrating his 50th birthday on Aug. 15—the actor, director, Oscar-winning writer and producer, father and, once again, husband is crushing it much harder, and he can sense it.
Professionally speaking, his performance in 2020's The Way Back, in which he played an alcoholic high school basketball coach failing to stay on the wagon in the wake of losing his young son, earned him the best acting reviews of his life. He and Matt Damon put their writing heads back together and emerged with The Last Duel, which also got good reviews but maybe just wasn't what the popcorn-chugging crowd was looking for. And he earned a Golden Globe nomination earlier this year for The Tender Bar, his first acting nod since 2007.
"I'm very happy, I'm in a very happy time in my life," Affleck, smiling but obviously not planning to elaborate, told Extra last October at the premiere of The Tender Bar. "Life is good."
Affleck is also still suiting up as Batman, serving as the thread holding the DC movie galaxy together in at least one more film, plus he's got a handful of projects lined up as an actor and/or producer, including an announced remake of Witness for the Prosecution he's also directing that we are here for.
So that's all pretty grand.
As for his personal life, Affleck acknowledged to WSJ. that the way in which certain opportunities have come back around for him is highly unusual.
"I am very lucky in my life in that I have benefited from second chances, and I am aware that other people don't even get first chances," he explained. "I've had second chances in my career. I've had second chances as a human being. Life is difficult, and we are always failing and hopefully learning from those failures. The one thing you really need to avail yourself of the opportunities provided from that growth is the second chance. I've definitely tried to take advantage of that. I haven't always been successful, but in cases in which I have, they've turned out to be the defining aspects of my life."
As for more pointed relationship updates, the man with no Instagram is happy to leave those to the missus. In addition to Lopez using social media as a natural extension of her brand, the life experience—as a mom, as an entertainer, as a business mogul—she's acquired since Affleck first put a ring on her finger all those years ago has made her way more in tune with what really works for her.
So, needless to say, when it comes to the message that Bennifer 2.0 is still—even in this day and age—expected to cloak their love in so their adoring public can properly process their rapture, Mrs. Affleck's got this.
"We did it. Love is beautiful. Love is kind. And it turns out love is patient," Lopez wrote in announcing through her "On the JLo" newsletter that the most surprising "new" couple of 2021 had tied the knot on July 16. "Twenty years patient."
Better yet, even though the world was very much aware that they were engaged, the couple who once concluded that being together was just too damn hard because of all the press scrutiny managed to keep their "I dos" to themselves.
It is a new day, indeed.