Sylvain Gaboury/FilmMagic Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner
Who: Oscar-winning actor, writer, and director Ben Affleck, 48, and four-time Emmy-nominated actress Jennifer Garner, 49.
How They Met: The actors initially met on the set of Pearl Harbor, which began filming in the spring of 2000, but according to Affleck it wasn't until they reunited on Daredevil that they "fell in love."
When they eventually began dating in 2004, both parties were fresh out of defining relationships: Garner had announced her divorce from Scott Foley the previous year, and Affleck and Jennifer Lopez had ended their engagement earlier that same year.
But OK, the chemistry was palpable long before the actors made things official. This photo was taken about a year and a half before they got together.
In 2010 Garner told Parade that Affleck (just a friend at the time) had courted her via email. "He's a very persuasive writer," she told the magazine. Interestingly, this is reportedly the same medium Affleck used to rekindle his relationship with Lopez after a 17-year hiatus.
An immediate foil to the headline-grabbing antics of Bennifer 1.0, Affleck and Garner tried (and mostly succeeded) to keep the early days of their relationship private. That said, the Good Will Hunting star wasn't about to miss a Red Sox game (nay, the World Series) with his new girlfriend …
In April the following year, reportedly on Garner's 33rd birthday, Affleck popped the question. They wed that June in a small ceremony in Turks and Caicos officiated by Garner's Alias co-star Victor Garber and welcomed their first daughter, Violet, in December 2005. Daughter Seraphina was born in 2009, followed by son Samuel in 2012.
Why We Loved Them: Ben and Jen were thoroughly obsessed with each other — according to their interview soundbites, at least.
When asked how she and Affleck made their marriage work in 2007, Garner noted "we're both pretty nice," telling Marie Claire, "He's not someone who's ever going to blow up on anyone. What I mean is, if he's ever angry with me, he doesn't act out on it in a weird way or yell at me. And I am the same. So we can handle conflict in a very loving and adult way."
In that same article Garner described her husband as "charm personified," adding that "he's not easily threatened or made uncomfortable — he's very secure in that way. Maybe he just knows I'm nuts about him, and he doesn't have anything to worry about."
Affleck gushed over his wife in a 2008 interview with The Mirror. "Jennifer is so up there, you keep thinking there has to be a dark side," he told the outlet. "She has no idea how beautiful she is ... Jennifer is someone I can trust and get along with."
"I would do anything for that man," Garner told InStyle in 2011, "because I know it's not taken for granted."
When They Peaked:
In 2013, Affleck thanked Garner in his emotional Oscars speech after Argo was awarded Best Picture.
"I wanna thank you for working on our marriage for ten Christmases," he told a teary-eyed Garner. "It's good. It is work, but it's the best kind of work. And there's no one I'd rather work with."
While his heart was clearly in the right place, many bristled at Affleck's characterization of the marriage as "work."
When the Oscar-winner hosted Saturday Night Live that May, he invited his wife onstage during his monologue to clarify what he had meant in the speech.
"It's a way we talk privately about how committed we are to our marriage," Garner told the audience. "Not sure why you had to share that live to a billion people … " she teased.
"What would you have called it in a speech?" Affleck asked, to which Garner responded, "A gift. I would have said thank you to my wife. Our marriage is a gift."
The Breakup: Following months of media speculation, Affleck and Garner announced their separation in June 2015, one day after their 10-year anniversary.
"After much thought and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to divorce," the parents of three said in a joint statement. "We go forward with love and friendship for one another and a commitment to co-parenting our children whose privacy we ask to be respected during this difficult time."
As promised, the split was very amicable, despite infidelity rumors (aka nannygate).
Garner weighed in on speculation regarding Affleck's involvement with the family's nanny, Christine Ouzounian, in a bombshell Vanity Fair interview in early 2016. The Alias alum explained that while the ordeal signified "bad judgment" on Affleck's part, they had been "separated for months" before she even heard about it. "She had nothing to do with our decision to divorce."
Garner insisted she had no regrets, and that she'd "go back and remake that decision" to marry Affleck.
"He's the love of my life," she said. "He's the most brilliant person in any room, the most charismatic, the most generous."
That said, the marriage clearly wasn't without its hurdles. "He's just a complicated guy," Garner added. "I always say, 'When his sun shines on you, you feel it.' But when the sun is shining elsewhere, it's cold. He can cast quite a shadow."
Dave M. Benett/Getty Images
Garner lamented that she'd "lost the dream of dancing with my husband at my daughter's wedding," but claimed she and Affleck were "completely in line" when it comes to their hopes for their three children.
The actress even shared her two cents on her ex-husband's massive (now-infamous) back tattoo: "You know what we would say in my hometown about that? 'Bless his heart.'"
In 2020, Affleck told The New York Times that the deterioration of his marriage fed into his alcoholism, and vice-versa. "I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart," he said. "This was 2015, 2016. My drinking, of course, created more marital problems."
The actor went on to call his divorce "the biggest regret of my life."
Divorce aside, Garner was there for her ex during his relapses and rehab stays. When he relapsed just before he was set to start on drama The Way Back, Garner called the film's director to ask him not to shut the movie down. "'He's asking you, please don't pull the plug on the movie, he really wants to do this,''" Garner reportedly told director Gavin O'Connor.
In March 2021, Garner recanted what she'd told Vanity Fair five years prior about dancing with Affleck at her daughter's wedding. "When our kids get married, we'll dance, I know that now," she told The Hollywood Reporter. "We'll boogaloo and have a great time. I don't worry about that anymore."
Where They Are Now:
Affleck went on to date Saturday Night Live producer and iced coffee aficionado Lindsay Shookus on-and-off until early 2019. He then embarked on a nearly year-long relationship (and several pandemic walks) with Knives Out star Ana de Armas. As you may have heard, Affleck is rumored to have since rekindled his relationship with ex-fiancée Jennifer Lopez.
The actor has several projects on the horizon, including The Last Duel with childhood friend Matt Damon and Deep Water with de Armas.
Garner began dating CaliGroup CEO John Miller in 2018 before calling it quits last year. However, the exes are rumored to have recently gotten back together. It's the year of reconciliation, apparently!
Garner, too, has a promising slate of upcoming credits, including The Adam Project (which co-stars fellow 13 Going on 30 alum Mark Ruffalo) and musical comedy Fantasy Camp.
#TBT: Check in every Thursday as we throw it back to some of our favorite celebrity couples of all time.