Ben Affleck on the disaster that changed his life

·4 min read

Watch: Jennifer Lopez vows to be a 'good partner' to Ben Affleck this year

Ben Affleck has opened up about the impact of the worst reviews of his career.

The movie Gigli, in which he co-starred with Jennifer Lopez back in 2003 attracted terrible reviews.

Scoring an astonishingly bad 6% approval on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, critics' comments included, "It's every bit as atrocious as you may have heard, nay, worse," (The Telegraph) and "Mere words fail to express the awfulness of Martin Brest's Gigli." (The Times).

Despite going on to win an Oscar for directing Argo, and starring successfully in further much-praised films, the actor-director has now revealed how devastating the reception was.

Speaking to his co-star and friend Matt Damon for Entertainment Weekly, Affleck explained, ""If the reaction to Gigli hadn't happened, I probably wouldn't have ultimately decided, 'I don't really have any other avenue but to direct movies,' which has turned out to be the real love of my professional life,"

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck in Gigli (credit: Sony Pictures)
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck in Gigli (credit: Sony Pictures)

He added, "So in those ways, it's a gift. And I did get to meet Jennifer [Lopez], the relationship with whom has been really meaningful to me in my life."

Affleck and Jennifer Lopez began dating while filming Gigli, and were so in love, they even got engaged in 2002 after filming - Affleck reportedly proposed at his mother’s home in Boston with a $2m Harry Winston pink diamond ring. But the romance ended in 2004, with the ex-partners citing 'media pressure' as the key reason for their split.

Lopez went on to date several other men, and married singer Marc Anthony, with whom she had two children, twins Max and Emme, now 13. Most recently she was engaged to baseball star Alex Rodriguez, but broke up with 'A-rod' in April 2021.

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 02:  Actors Ben Affleck and wife Jennifer Garner arrive at the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter on March 2, 2014 in West Hollywood, California.  (Photo by C Flanigan/WireImage)
Affleck and then-wife Jennifer Garner in 2014. (PA)

Meanwhile, Affleck was married to actor Jennifer Garner, with whom he had three children. Though the couple remain on friendly terms, Affleck told radio host Howard Stern recently, "It’s part of why I started drinking,...Because I was trapped.”

The actor said the couple “grew apart” ahead of their divorce. “We had a marriage that didn’t work, this happens, with somebody that I love and respect, but to whom I shouldn’t be married any longer. Ultimately, we tried. We tried, we tried because we had kids.”

Read: Ryan Reynolds says people mistake him for Ben Affleck: 'They'll ask how J.Lo is'

Looking back at the Gigli disaster, Affleck said, "Being a movie that’s such a famous bomb and a disaster, very few people actually saw the movie […] And the studio at the time, because I had begun having this relationship with Jennifer Lopez, which was selling a lot of magazines and appeared to generate a lot of enthusiasm, they just predictably latched onto, ‘They want a romantic comedy.

"They want the two of them together. More of that!’"

He added, "(the) funny name, the Jennifer Lopez romance and overexposure” surrounding Gigli was “kind of a perfect storm.” Or maybe it was just a really bad movie.

Actress Jennifer Lopez and fiance, actor Ben Affleck, pose for photographers

as they arrive for the premiere of their new film
The couple promoting Gigli back in 2003. (Getty Images)

He said, "I remember talking to [director Martin Brest] the Friday it came out and I was like, it’s just spectacular, it’s a tsunami, it couldn’t be worse. This is as bad as it gets. (It) engendered a lot of negative feelings in people ..(which) was depressing and really made me question things and feel disappointed and have a lot of self-doubt.”

Luckily, looking back, Affleck has no regrets- and is now back with Lopez. The two rekindled their romance last April and have been madly in love ever since, appearing on a series of red carpets together in full PDA mode.

They even joined Garner and the children for a blended family Halloween.

Read more: Ben Affleck photographed at Tiffany's as Jennifer Lopez engagement rumors swirl

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 12: (L-R) Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez attend the Los Angeles premiere of Amazon Studio's
The rekindled couple in December 2021 (Getty Images)

Last week, the actor spoke admiringly of JLo's huge success, saying, "Getting to experience Jennifer Lopez’s life now and seeing the degree to which a massive social media presence – how that’s valued, how that’s perceived by the people who are willing to invest a bunch of money in what you’re doing – is really striking.

“I’m not sure the option to have 300 million followers was ever available to me, but that ship has probably sailed now.”

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