This March 23, 1998 was to be Ben Affleck’s night. She will turn into a waking nightmare. That evening, Ben is 25 years old and will receive the Oscar for best screenplay for Will Hunting, a script he wrote with four hands with his friend Matt Damon. But nothing will go as planned. During this evening at the academy, marked by the triumph of titanic, the comedian turns to James Cameron, asking how he is. A puzzled look from the Canadian director who seems to be thinking: “Who is this little jerk?” Uneasiness… The rest will be of the same order: for lack of having prepared a speech and not knowing what to say when he in turn receives the statuette, Affleck begins to kiss exaggeratedly the one who gives it to him, Denzel Washington. Re-malaise… “I looked like an idiot that night”, sum it up in The world, in 2014.
A man will however save this evening which went wrong: Dustin Hoffman. “Tell me, kid, are you really Timothy Affleck’s son? You know I played with him in my Boston stage debut? He had talent, your father”, says the actor tarmac cowboy to the young Oscar winner when he bumps into him backstage that night.
This thoughtful projection of Dustin Hoffman plunges Affleck into the 80s. He then remembers his father, an actor-author dedicated to a great future, who wasted his talent because of alcoholism. Having become a social worker, Timothy spent his money on crappy sports bets. Ben then remembers the disputes between his father and his mother Chris, an erudite teacher who will give a political conscience to his two sons. “I have long believed that the United States had only one party: the Democratic Party”, will admit on this subject the actor to the World.
Tired of her husband’s escapades, Chris asks for a divorce. Ben is 11 years old, Casey, his younger brother, 8 years old. Her two guys under her arms, the mother leaves Los Angeles towards Boston. The single-parent family settles in the Cambridge neighborhood where the eldest meets a distant cousin named Matt Damon. They will become best friends. After high school together, the two friends decide to try their luck in the City of Angels.
Return to California for Ben, where, after long weeks marked by major financial difficulties, he manages with Matt to sell to the most influential and powerful producer of the moment, a certain Harvey Weinstein, the script they co-wrote: Will Hunting. Their career is launched… After the episode of the Oscars, while Matt refines his image of an intellectual actor who studied theater at Harvard, Ben plays the star system card by participating in soulless blockbusters (Armageddon, Pearl Harbor) or tasteless comedies (Family for rent, troubled loves). Above all, in this year 2002, he made a sensational entry into the people section by going out with the biggest pop star of this beginning of the new millennium: Jennifer Lopez.
A status that he cannot bear: “I became the protagonist of a soap whose script I didn’t know. I felt miserable and vulgar.” (The world) The Bennifers would eventually split up in 2004. In the meantime, Affleck has become a regular partyer in casinos, strip clubs and wan early mornings. Already in 2001, Charlie Sheen, who knows about it, had summoned him to seek treatment in rehab. It is with another Jennifer, Garner, that Ben will find a form of “normalcy” that he was looking for. He frankly lifts his foot on the booze according to the births of his three children.
On the job side, while some considered him in his early days as the new Harrison Ford, his star has already faded. Has been at 30, not terrible for the mind. However, Affleck will overturn the table by becoming the filmmaker of his destiny. In 2007, he committed, somewhat to everyone’s surprise, a small masterpiece by realizing Gone Baby Gone with his brother Casey. Five years later, he confirms his talent as a filmmaker with Argo, a film hailed by multiple awards including the Oscar for best feature film. Finally, in 2014, he was unanimously acclaimed for his performance as an actor in Gone Girl. Professionally, he is at the top, as far as his personal life is concerned, it’s something else. The pangs of alcoholism resurfaced. And not just a little. This time, Ben is hitting rock bottom: “My family witnessed this decline. She was in the front row!”explains, a little ashamed, the actor to Audience, in April 2020. His marriage to the prudish Jennifer Garner did not resist this relapse: their divorce was pronounced in 2018. Five years of wandering in low profile mode followed, where as a good follower of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), he will act of contrition as soon as an opportunity presents itself. When the chef’s surprise comes! We learn in May 2021 that Affleck is again in a relationship with Jennifer… Lopez! Seventeen years after their first romance. The Bennifer season 2 is definitely launched the following year by a wedding in Georgia. Since then, rumors of disagreements between the newlyweds have been swirling around… After having cracked in 2004, will Affleck be able to manage the pressure? Will he dive back or follow the example of his father, who has been sober for twenty years? The script is just being written.
Jennifer, Jennifer… and the others
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From 1997 to 2000 Ben Affleck had a three-year relationship with Gwyneth Paltrow who had just broken up with Brad Pitt. Two years later, he gets in a relationship with J. Lo, but Ben takes it badly to go out with such a star. In 2004, their story exploded. The actor then finds a form of appeasement with Jennifer Garner. They married in 2005 and will have two daughters and a son: Violet, 17 years old today, Seraphina Rose, 14 years old, and Samuel, 11 years old. But from appeasement to boredom, there is only one step. They are divorcing.
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From 2015 to 2019, Ben rebuilt his life with Lindsay Shookus, a spawn of the entertainment industry, before falling into the arms of the beautiful and young Ana de Armas, sixteen years his junior. It was then that Jennifer Lopez came back into her life. This time, they are going to the end of their story since they are getting married in 2022 and they have just acquired the house of their dreams. The circle is complete.
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Harvey Weinstein, his mentor, his ball…
When the producer-predator fell from his pedestal, Affleck quickly declared himself in solidarity with the #MeToo movement. A little too hastily for the taste of some who reminded him of his not always classy behavior with women. As for Rose McGowan, she revealed in her book (Upright, published in 2018) that Ben Affleck was fully aware of Harvey Weinstein’s actions. “I knew he was a pig and I was aware of the gossip and shady stuff going around about him. I knew some nasty shit was going to fall on him and I didn’t want to get splashed. Looking back, I think I should have talked about it“, we had entrusted the actor in 2020.
Alcohol, carousing, poker… his best enemies
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Alcohol is the enemy! A disease he thinks he inherited from his father. For the past twenty years, Ben has alternated between rehabs and relapses according to his moods or his feelings of disenchantment. Able to go very far in self-destruction, he can during his worst moments booze alone on his sofa until he faints… This addiction encourages him to commit big mistakes de facto: blackjack and poker which caused large sums of money to be lost, or the temptation to flirt with anything that moves that cost him his first marriage.
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Matt Damon and his brother Casey, his best friends
During moments a little down, Affleck can count on his brother of heart, Matt Damon. They grew up in the same neighborhood in Boston (Massachusetts) and ate the rabid cow together when they left to conquer Hollywood. Today, they are neighbors and their children are friends. Ben can also rely on his real brother, Casey Affleck,”a man extremely in my life”, he confided to Audiencein April 2020.
1997 : WILL HUNTING
Actor in trouble he sells a script co-written with his BFF Matt Damon. Bingo! The project is directed by Gus Van Sant with Robin Williams. It’s a worldwide success!
With Bruce Willis and under the direction of Michael Bay, he saves the world from the apocalypse. From then on, Affleck garnered the dollars and the blockbusters…
2003: TROUBLED LOVES
In the middle of Bennifer season 1, he is filming this comedy by Martin Brest with J. Lo. A nanar and a resounding flop on arrival.
2007: GONE BABY GONE
After a series of dispensable films, he took matters into his own hands and made a sensitive and controlled first film directing his brother Casey.
He goes behind the camera for the third time, retracing the hostage-taking at the United States Embassy in Tehran in 1979. Oscar for best film.
Having become credible again, he is hired by the very sharp Terrence Malick for a love triangle story with Rachel McAdams and Olga Kurylenko. There are worse things in life…
2014 : GONE GIRL
David Fincher offers him a role “for him”. That of a spineless guy, not smart-smart and manipulated by his wife. Affleck accepts and he is right: his performance is unanimously praised.
2016: BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN
A first foray into the DC Universe where he plays Bruce Wyane / Batman. He will don the superhero costume six times.
The mysteries of the deal between Michael Jordan and Nike in 1984. A new successful achievement by the actor-director who embodies Philip Knight, the brand’s new age boss. (Prime Video).
2023: THE FLASH
He appears in the skin of Batman in this DC Comics adaptation and should put on the Bruce Wayne costume one last time in the next one. Aquaman.
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Ben Affleck: drinking and setbacks