Ben Affleck gave WSJ Magazine a very candid interview about his work on his new movie The Tender Bar, and reporter Michael Hainey was able to get Affleck to talk the slightest bit about his and Jennifer Lopez’s back-on romance. Affleck thoughtfully reflected on getting a second chance with J.Lo after their first run as a couple from 2002 to January 2004 ended and what their story has been like. (But he did decline to tell that story, at least for now.)
Affleck had been speaking about his own healing and hopes to be a husband again someday. “Fear drove me to the work ethic,” he said. “Only in the last four years have I been able to not be so terrified, because I recognize I won’t die without work. The most important thing is being a good father. The second most important thing is to be a good man. And a good person. And, ostensibly, you know, a good husband. Hopefully.”
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck at the 2021 Venice International Film Festival.
Hainey followed up, asking, “Be a good husband, in the future. Can we talk about your current relationship [with Jennifer Lopez]?”
“You can write conjecture about it, but one of the harder lessons that I have learned is that it’s not wise to share everything with the world,” Affleck said. “There are some things which are private and intimate and have meaning in terms of their intimacy by dint of the fact that they’re not shared with the rest of the world. I’m more comfortable just learning to find a boundary between things that I want to share and things that I don’t. I don’t know if it’s good or bad. I don’t. I know that I feel more comfortable having those healthy boundaries in my life around which, in a friendly and straightforward way, I tell you, I just don’t want to be talking about my personal relationship in the newspaper. I’m going to exercise a little restraint.”
Hainey tried to ask how their romance restarted.
Affleck offered a good tease: “I can say that it’s definitely beautiful to me,” he said. “And, you know, one of the things I really value across all facets of my life now is that it was handled in a way that reflected that. My life now reflects not just the person that I want to be, 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. I could just say that I feel great about being very healthy. And it is a good story. It’s a great story. And, you know, maybe one day I’ll tell it. I’ll write it all out,” He paused. “And then I’ll light it on fire.” Then he laughed.
Hainey remarked that it’s rare for people get second chances in love.
Affleck agreed, saying, “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. 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. But tell your wife to imagine the best story, and I’m sure that’s the true version.”
“I know I’m projecting onto you and Jennifer, but I feel sometimes in life it’s like this—if you’re lucky, the comet comes around a second time,” Hainey said. “And if you’ve gained some wisdom, this time you’re able to stand in its light and receive it in a way you couldn’t the first time.”
“So I will tell you that I very much recognize that phenomenon, and your description of it resonates with me,” Affleck added. “And I think it’s an apt characterization of what can happen to you—if you learn from difficulties and if you get lucky.”
You can read his full interview here.