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Ben Affleck recalls ‘sexist, racist, ugly’ criticism of ex-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez

Adam White
·2-min read
Former couple Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck attend the Gigli premiere in 2003 (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Former couple Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck attend the Gigli premiere in 2003 (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Ben Affleck has recalled the “sexist, racist, ugly” criticism his ex-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez received during their high-profile relationship.

Affleck and Lopez were together for 18 months between 2002 and 2004, with the pair briefly engaged. Dubbed “Bennifer” by the press, the volume of attention placed on the couple led to claims they were overexposed. The infamous failure of their 2003 film Gigli was subsequently blamed on the amount of negative publicity they had received at the time.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast, Affleck said that the attention “engendered an enormous amount of resentment” among the public, and that he never understood why people claimed the pair asked for it.

“Why would I have sought that out?” Affleck asked. “People to this day will say, ‘Oh, I see you out there in the paparazzi pictures,’ and like, yes, I left my house and took out the trash … It’s not a ‘pap walk’, as if you leave your house and are only doing so in the hopes that you’d get so lucky to end up as the sixth item on The Daily Mail.”

He also condemned the treatment of Lopez at the time of their relationship, noting the “irony” of how she is so embraced by the public today.

“People were so f***ing mean about her,” he continued. “Sexist, racist, ugly, vicious s*** was written about her in ways that if you wrote it now, you would literally be fired for saying those things you said. Now she’s lionised and respected for the work she did, where she came from, what she’s accomplished, as well she f***ing should be.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Affleck recalled his run of box office flops that coincided with his relationship with Lopez. While he defended the indie comedy Jersey Girl (“not a bad movie at all”), he admitted the failings of the comic book film Daredevil (“not a good movie”), the festive comedy Surviving Christmas (“not a very good movie”) and the aforementioned Gigli (“kind of a disaster”).

Former couple Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck attend the Gigli premiere in 2003Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Former couple Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck attend the Gigli premiere in 2003Kevin Winter/Getty Images

“We reshot [Gigli’s] ending five times,” he added. “[It was like putting] a horse’s head on a cow’s body. It was never gonna work, and the name was funny.”

After splitting with Lopez in 2004, Affleck went on to marry his Daredevil co-star Jennifer Garner, with whom he has three children. They divorced in 2018.

Affleck next stars in the erotic thriller Deep Water alongside his current off-screen girlfriend, actor Ana de Armas.

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