‘When his sun shines on you, you feel it,’ Jennifer Garner told Vanity Fair about her husband Ben Affleck in 2016, a year after they split. ‘But when the sun is shining elsewhere, it’s cold. He can cast quite a shadow.’
I imagine that shadow feels particularly large and Siberia-level freezing today following Affleck’s astonishingly insensitive interview yesterday with Howard Stern.
It must have been hard enough for Garner, an intelligent, beautiful and hugely talented woman, to have to endure her ex so publicly parading around with Jennifer Lopez in ever more cringe-making PDAs since they rekindled their romance.
But when you consider the fact that Affleck was engaged to J-Lo right before he got together with, and then swiftly married Garner, then you can probably double the level of hurt she must feel having her nose now so brutally rubbed in it by the father of her three children.
Ironically, ‘Bennifer’ as they were dubbed at the time, blamed the last-minute break-off of their engagement in 2003, just days before the wedding, on ‘excessive media attention.’
Now they can’t enough of it – slobbering over each like love-sick puppies whenever there’s a camera within range.
What the hell was Ben Affleck thinking when he sat down with Howard Stern and decided to humiliate Jennifer Garner in the unkindest possible manner?(Above: Affleck received an alcohol delivery to his house shortly before he was admitted to rehab in 2018)
In a self-indulgent orgy of deeply personal revelation from the man who supposedly hates media attention, Affleck effectively blamed his ex-wife for the alcoholism he experienced during their marriage. (Above: Affleck looked worn out while leaving a Halloween party with ex-wife Jennifer Garner and their three children in 2019)
Of course, that’s entirely their prerogative and if they’re wildly in love and want to brazenly show it off to the world, then good luck to them.
But what’s not acceptable is what Affleck did to his ex-wife on Stern’s show.
There’s one basic rule of any marriage break-up where kids are involved and it’s this: don’t trash their mum or dad in public.
Whatever’s gone down in a shattered relationship, it’s hardly ever the fault of innocent children caught in the crossfire, and it’s their welfare that should always be the top priority.
I say this as someone who’s been through a divorce myself and who has never said a bad word in public about my ex, and never will. Partly out of respect for her – we’ve remained good friends, and she’s never dissed me in public either – and partly because I never want our three sons to hear me talk badly about their mother.
This is particularly important when either or both parties have a public profile and the gory details of any divorce battle may get splattered across newspaper front pages or TV celebrity news shows, because once they’re in the public domain – and many things said in divorce litigation are wildly exaggerated or even plain untrue – there’s a 100% guarantee that your kids will one day read it all and inevitably suffer added upset and damage.
So, what the hell was Ben Affleck thinking when he sat down with Howard Stern and decided to humiliate Jennifer Garner in the unkindest possible manner?
In a self-indulgent orgy of deeply personal revelation from the man who supposedly hates media attention, Affleck effectively blamed his ex-wife for the alcoholism he experienced during their marriage.
When you consider the fact that Affleck was engaged to J-Lo right before he got together with, and then swiftly married Garner, then you can probably double the level of hurt she must feel having her nose now so brutally rubbed in it by the father of her three children. (Left) Garner and Affleck arrived at the Oscars in Hollywood, California in 2013 (Right) Affleck and Jennifer Lopez appeared at ‘The Last Duel’ premiere at the 78th Venice International Film Festival in 2021
Asked by Stern what would have happened if they’d stayed together, he replied: ‘We probably would’ve ended up at each other’s throats. I probably still would’ve been drinking. Part of why I started drinking was because I was trapped. 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 [I] drank a bottle of scotch and fell asleep on the couch, which turned out not to be the solution.’
That’s why you got blind drunk every night?
It was all Jennifer’s fault for trapping you?
This excuse might have carried marginally more credence if Affleck hadn’t been a notorious hell-raising drinker for many years before he ever met Garner.
He’s previously blamed a youthful drink problem on his alcoholic father, and first gave up alcohol when he was 24, explaining: ‘I just wanted to stop. I started regretting some things I did when I was drunk. It’s funny to be obnoxious or out of control, but then it’s like, ‘I think I hurt that person’s feelings,’ ‘I made a fool of myself,’ or ‘I didn’t want to kiss that girl,’. I have almost no inhibitions, so it’s dangerous for me.’
Then, in 2001, aged 29, after falling off the wagon in spectacular fashion, he went into rehab for 30 days at Promises treatment center in Malibu after being driven there by his equally hard-partying friend, Charlie Sheen.
When he came out, his publicist said: ‘Ben is a self-aware and smart man who has decided that a fuller life awaits him without alcohol. He is committed to traveling to a healthier road with the support of his family friends and fans.’
Affleck himself later told Hollywood Reporter: ‘I went to rehab for being 29 and partying too much and not having a lot of boundaries and to clear my head and try to get some idea of who I wanted to be. It was more a ‘let me get myself straight,’ before it became a rite of passage.’
He’s previously blamed a youthful drink problem on his alcoholic father, and first gave up alcohol when he was 24. (Above: Affleck stops at fast food restaurant appearing dazed as his ex Jennifer Garner takes him to rehab in Malibu on August 22, 2018)
This excuse might have carried marginally more credence if Affleck hadn’t been a notorious hell-raising drinker for many years before he ever met Garner. (Above: Affleck is seen with a drink in front of him as he talked to Bruce Willis in 2000)
Laudable words, but sadly it did become a rite of passage.
In 2017, Affleck went back into rehab and on coming out, he said in a Facebook post: ‘I have completed treatment for alcohol addiction; something I’ve dealt with in the past and will continue to confront. I want to live life to the fullest and be the best father I can be. I want my kids to know there is no shame in getting help when you need it, and to be a source of strength for anyone out there who needs help but is afraid to take the first step. I’m lucky to have the love of my family and friends, including my co-parent, Jen, who has supported me and cared for our kids as I’ve done the work I set out to do. This was the first of many steps being taken towards a positive recovery.’
More laudable words, especially about the wife who so loyally backed him, even though they’d split up.
But a year later, he was back in rehab again, driven there this time by Jennifer Garner who was reported to be ‘very emotional and distraught.’
In February 2020, Affleck told the New York Times: ‘One of the things about recovery that I think people sometimes overlook is the fact that it inculcates certain values. Be honest. Be accountable. Help other people. Apologize when you’re wrong.’
Again, this all sounds very laudable, but it turned out, like so much of Affleck’s alcohol-related psychobabble over the years, to be just words.
He wasn’t ‘honest’ with Howard Stern.
Or truly ‘accountable.’
Nor did he take the chance to apologize to his ex-wife for all the pain he caused her with his constant selfish boozing.
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Instead, Ben Affleck did what he’s done throughout his life – he blamed someone else for his own behavior.
And in blaming Jennifer Garner, he ensured their kids will now read lurid headlines that suggest this may have been the real reason why he was such a stinking deadbeat drunken husband and father for so long.
The truth is that Affleck had a massive drink problem before he met their mum, while he was with her, and after he left her.
To now suggest that being ‘trapped’ with the mother of his kids is why he drowned himself in whiskey every night is as disingenuous as it’s cruelly unfair to a woman who’s done everything she can to help and protect him.
Even by Hollywood standards, this is astonishingly selfish and self-centered conduct, but hardly surprising from a supremely narcissistic 49-year-old man who recently inked a ludicrous gigantic tattoo of a rising phoenix all over his back in a clear sign that he’s having a pitiful mid-life crisis.
It’s also a sign that Ben Affleck’s had one great love of his life and it’s neither of the Jennifers…