We have to be honest. We’ve been so excited about the possibility of Bennifer happening again… we didn’t stop to think whether this was really a good idea!
OK, let’s rewind. As you no doubt have heard by now, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez are so totally back on — they were even spotted on a week-long romantic getaway to Big Sky, Montana!
From what we’ve heard, it was Ben who started things anew — possibly even while she and Alex Rodriguez were still together! According to a TMZ report on Tuesday, he was sending her letters about how great she looked in photos, apparently knowing she loved his writing and how he used to “own her heart” with his pen.
A source backed up that account to ET, claiming:
“Ben has always had an affinity for Jennifer and was the one who initially started pursuing her and making an effort to reconnect, romantically speaking. He wanted to explore things with her beyond a friendship and they’ve both really been enjoying spending time together.”
Always had an affinity… That parallels what another insider had to say to the outlet about Ben’s feelings for this particular ex over the past 17 years.
Speaking about the “natural chemistry” the couple have always had, the source said on Monday:
“They’ve stayed in touch over the years, so the two of them reconnecting isn’t a huge surprise to their friends. Ben is protective over J.Lo and they’re trying to be as low key as possible.”
“Ben is protective over J.Lo.” Protective.
It’s that wording that finally felt like the first drop of rain on our early 2000s celebrity tabloid nostalgia parade. “Protective.” Sorry, but it just forced us to think about why the two broke up in the first place…
How Bennifer Began
If you don’t know the story, Ben and J.Lo met while filming the debacle of a crime caper Gigli in 2001. They fell in love right away, and after the little matter of Jennifer’s divorce from second husband Cris Judd, the pair went public with their relationship.
The word public doesn’t even begin to describe it — they were the “it” couple for a whole year. Paparazzi followed them everywhere; they were on every magazine cover. Their love even gives birth to the idea of a celebrity couple name: Bennifer.
In a 2016 interview with People, J.Lo looked back on the whirlwind romance, saying she “felt like ‘Okay, this is it.’” However…
“…sometimes I feel like what you think people are and how you see them when you love them is different than when they reveal later.”
A secret identity one could even call it… like a superhero has…
Enter the Daredevil movie from the summer of 2002 in which Ben co-starred with Jennifer Garner. They had actually met previously on the set of Pearl Harbor, in which she had a small role, but this time — playing onscreen lovers, working so closely together — something just clicked.
Years later, in an interview with Playboy, Ben admits this was when they fell in love:
“We met on Pearl Harbor, which people hate, but we fell in love on Daredevil. By the way, she won most of the fights in the movie, which was a pretty good predictor of what would happen down the road — my wife, holding swords and beating the living s**t out of me.”
Again, he and J.Lo were still together. Not only that, they got engaged a few months later, in November 2002! While he was in love with another woman…
Dinner For Five
In January of 2003, during the press tour for Daredevil, Ben and Jen (Garner) appear on the IFC roundtable discussion show Dinner For Five with co-stars Colin Farrell, Jon Favreau, and Kevin Smith.
Throughout the talk, Garner is just so obviously smitten with Affleck. The way she talks to him, the way she looks at him. It’s plain as day. At one point his old pal Kevin busts his chops, and she responds by saying:
“I feel like I might have to kick your ass.”
To which Ben responds:
“Come on, baby! Tell him!”
At Smith’s confusion, Favreau explains:
“She’s very protective of him. They have…”
But the future Iron Man director, perhaps wisely, does not finish the thought. But he doesn’t have to.
In March 2003, Garner and her then-husband — yes, she was with someone else, too — Scott Foley announce their separation. They get divorced just two months later.
It takes until September 2003, over a YEAR since Ben has been in love with another woman, for the two to split. At first it’s just a joint statement delaying the wedding, supposedly “due to the excessive media attention” — just days before they were scheduled to say their I do’s. But in January 2004, J.Lo releases a statement through her spokesperson:
“I am confirming the report that Jennifer Lopez has ended her engagement to Ben Affleck.”
Just a few months later, in June, J.Lo moves on — really moves on — marrying longtime friend Marc Anthony.
Bennifer 2.0 — that is, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner — don’t make their first public appearance as a couple until October 2004, when they go to see Ben’s beloved Red Sox play in the World Series, looking very much like an established couple. They get engaged the following April.
OK, so that’s the history. But that doesn’t convey what Ben put J.Lo through. At worst, how many months was he stepping out of their relationship with Jennifer Garner? Or, at the very best, secretly pining for another woman? While purchasing a $2.5 million engagement ring and professing his love??
And yet, somehow, now he’s always been protective of this woman? Is it because he’s felt so guilty all those years? Has he owned up to his mistake?? We have to assume so, somewhere in those love letters…
We just don’t know how healthy this can possibly for Jen, who just got out of a relationship with a man whose alleged infidelity has been the subject of headlines for the past few months. Has Ben grown past being the f**kboy who would treat her like that? We sure hope so. Time doesn’t always change people, but sometimes, just sometimes, it does.
What do YOU think??
[Image via Adriana M. Barraza/WENN/Mirek Towski/DMI.]