By Terrance Turner
July 17, 2022
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are married!
The two tied the knot in a “super, super small” ceremony in Nevada, according to People magazine. They had obtained a marriage license in Nevada, according to Clark County records posted Sunday. According to the Associated Press, “The Clark County clerk’s office in Nevada showed the pair obtained a marriage license that was processed Saturday.” This marks a major step forward for the couple, who had previously been engaged but never wed.
Lopez and Affleck met in 2001 while filming the movie “Gigli” and were seen together throughout the following year. They went public with their romance in July, after Lopez filed for divorce from second husband Cris Judd. Affleck proposed in November 2022, according to E! Online, with a 6-carat pink diamond ring. A month later, he appeared in Lopez’s “Jenny From the Block” music video, which depicted the media frenzy of their relationship. The two made their red carpet debut at the premiere of Lopez’s film “Maid in Manhattan”, which grossed over $100 million — cementing her status as a leading lady.
Lopez dedicated her 2002 album “This Is Me…Then,” to Affleck, and she later told Rolling Stone that “we were so in love. It was one of the happiest times of my life.”
But their happiness was tempered by the glare of the media spotlight. Affleck told the Hollywood Reporter that “there’s always a story of the month, and me dating Jennifer Lopez happened to be that tabloid story at the time when that business grew exponentially.” He added that the coverage was often cruel: “The irony is not lost on me that Jennifer now — people were so f–king mean about her. Sexist, racist, ugly vicious s–t was written about her in ways that if you wrote it now, you would literally be fired,” he said.
In a February 2022 profile of Lopez, Rolling Stone noted: “South Park called her a ‘mean-spirited bitch’ in an episode that poked fun at her Latin heritage. Conan O’Brien said that if he had to cast stand-ins for a sketch, he’d cast ‘our script intern’ as Affleck and ‘our cleaning lady’ as Lopez.”
“It was brutal,” Lopez told Rolling Stone. “It was brutal. It’s one of those things that you bury very deeply so you can move on and get about your business.” She added that “we were being criticized, and it literally destroyed our relationship from the inside out.”
Things got worse in Aug. 2003, when “Gigli” premiered to brutal reviews and bombed at the box office, generating just $7.7 million against a $75 million budget.
The pair were scheduled to tie the knot in September 2003, but called off the wedding at the last minute. They blamed “excessive media attention” for the delay: “Due to the excessive media attention surrounding our wedding, we have decided to postpone the date. When we found ourselves seriously contemplating hiring three separate ‘decoy brides’ at three different locations, we realized that something was awry.”
It was. The pair initially stayed together after postponing the wedding, but broke up for good four months later. Lopez later said that the split was her “first real heartbreak,” and Affleck was also heartbroken. In a Dec. 2021 interview on The Howard Stern Show, Affleck recalled: “I got f–king hurt and angry and felt like a fool.”
According to People, the two ended their engagement in January 2004. By June, Lopez had married Marc Anthony, with whom she shares 14-year-old twins Max and Emme. The next year, Affleck married Jennifer Garner, with whom he has three children: Violet (born in Dec. 2005), Seraphina (January 2009), and Samuel (in February 2012).
By that point, Lopez and Anthony were on the rocks. They separated in 2011, with Anthony filing for divorce the following year. At the time, Lopez was enjoying a career resurgence: she had a No.1 song and was a judge on the top-rated “American Idol”. Things couldn’t have been going better for me professionally,” she wrote in her book True Love. “People magazine named me it’s most beautiful woman in the world, my record was number one, my video was number one, and I was on the number-one television show in America. I felt like I was on top of the world.”
“In the midst of all this excitement and outpouring of appreciation and love, the bubble was burst with three simple words: ‘I’m not happy.’ Marc was in the middle of venting to me about things between us that had been bothering him, and I was sitting there trying to figure out where he was going with it.
Then he said it again: ‘I’m not happy.’ I’m here because we have a family, because we’re trying to keep it together. But I’m not happy.’”
Lopez dissolved into tears. “My own happiness and sense of self-worth still depended on how happy he was. So, when Marc stated so clearly that he wasn’t happy, it broke me down completely.”
Affleck wasn’t happy, either. His marriage to Jennifer Garner began to disintegrate. Affleck felt “trapped” in the marriage, and his unhappiness led to an alcoholic relapse. He told Howard Stern: “I was like, I can’t leave because of my kids, but I’m not happy. What do I do? And what I did was like drink a bottle of scotch and fall asleep on the couch, which turned out not to be the solution.”
In 2015, Affleck and Garner announced that they were ending their marriage. “We had a marriage that didn’t work,” he told Howard Stern, adding that Garner is “somebody I love and respect, but to whom I shouldn’t be married any longer.” “Ultimately, we tried. We tried; we tried; we tried, because we had kids. And both of us felt like we don’t want this to be the model that our kids see of marriage.”
Affleck and Garner filed for divorce in 2017, and in March of that year Affleck revealed that he had completed treatment for alcohol addiction. But the following year, TMZ says, Garner was alarmed when she saw a photo of Affleck accepting a delivery of beer and liquor. She reportedly staged an intervention at his home in August 2018. Affleck did not put up a fight and agreed he needed help. Garner drove him to a live-in residential rehab facility.
Affleck and Garner finalized their divorce in November 2018. By that point, Lopez was seeing former baseball player Alex Rodriguez, to whom she got engaged the following year. But Lopez and Affleck remained supportive of one another. And after the engagement ended in April 2021, Affleck reached out. Just days after the split from Rodriguez, Affleck was seen being picked up and dropped off at Lopez’s L.A. mansion in a white Escalade SUV.
“They are friends. They have always been friends,” a source told People.
Less than a week later, the two were spotted in Montana together. Sources told PEOPLE they were pictured riding in a car together near a resort in Big Sky, where Affleck has a home. They continued quietly seeing each other throughout the spring, and Lopez went Instagram official with the relationship via Instagram on her birthday July 24.
On September 10, 2021, the two made their first red-carpet appearance since reuniting, arriving at the Venice Film Festival for the premiere of Affleck’s film The Last Duel.
As they reconnected, they “had a little bit of fear,” says Lopez, acknowledging the circus that surrounded them the first time around. “Before we kind of put [our relationship] out there and we were naïve and it got a little trampled.”
This time, she says, “We both were like, ‘Wow, we’re so happy and we don’t want any of that to come into play again.’ We’re older now, we’re smarter, we have more experience, we’re at different places in our lives, we have kids now, and we have to be very conscious of those things. We’re so protective because it is such a beautiful time for all of us.”
In February 2022, Lopez opened up about the relationship in an interview with People magazine. “I just feel very happy and lucky to be in a relationship that’s happy and loving, and I want to do everything I can to protect that and keep it safe. It deserves that, it really does. … We hold it sacred.”
“It’s beautiful the way it feels very different than it was years ago. … There’s more of an appreciation and a celebration for it, which is nice,” says Lopez, who treasures their second chance at love. “When you find somebody and you really, really love them and you get a second chance at that? That is a really rare, precious, beautiful thing and we don’t take it for granted.”
That same month, the two kept their red-carpet streak going when they arrived at the premiere of Lopez’s film, fittingly titled, “Marry Me”.