Briefing

A short history of Bennifer

'Love is patient. Twenty years patient.'

Two decades after first getting engaged, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez have finally said "I do." Here is a complete timeline of the rise, fall, and rise again of Bennifer:

2002 - It begins

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez first met on the set of the bizarre romantic-comedy film Gigli, which starred Affleck as a mobster who falls in love with Lopez's character. At the time, Lopez was married to backup dancer Cris Judd, but she filed for divorce in 2002. 

That summer, the tabloids' frenzied coverage of Affleck and Lopez's relationship began, with various paparazzi photos showing them kissing. Then, in November, Lopez dropped a music video for "Jenny from the Block," which depicted her and Affleck being dogged by the paparazzi (and Affleck iconically grabbing her butt on a boat). 

Lopez would later tell People they "didn't try to have a public relationship" but "just happened to be together at the birth of the tabloids," which put a "lot of pressure" on them. Affleck also told The Hollywood Reporter in 2021 that much of the coverage of Lopez at the time was "sexist" and "racist." 

November 2002 - The (first) engagement

In November 2002, Lopez confirmed she and Affleck were engaged, breaking the news to Diane Sawyer. Calling his proposal "traditional" but "spectacular," she said her feelings for Affleck were "bigger and realer" than anything she'd experienced before. 

August 2003 - 'Gigli' is released … and it doesn't go well

In summer 2003, Gigli was finally released — and it was ripped apart by critics, becoming a massive box office bomb that nearly ended Affleck's acting career. But reflecting on Gigli in a 2022 Entertainment Weekly conversation, Affleck, who went into directing partially because of this failure, noted there was one upside: "I did get to meet Jennifer."

September 2003 - The wedding is postponed 

In September 2003, Lopez and Affleck postponed their wedding just days ahead of time. "Due to the excessive media attention surrounding our wedding, we have decided to postpone the date," they said. "When we found ourselves seriously contemplating hiring three separate 'decoy brides' at three different locations, we realized that something was awry."

January 2004 - It's over (for now)

A few months later, Affleck and Lopez revealed they had broken up entirely. A source later claimed to Page Six that Lopez "was ready to settle down and have kids, but Ben wasn't keen on giving up his bachelor lifestyle," and "in the end, she got tired of waiting for him to come around."

The March after they broke up, Affleck and Lopez co-starred in the movie Jersey Girl, which was shot before the split — and which once again bombed at the box office. 

2004 to 2014 - Lopez marries Marc Anthony

By June of that year, Lopez had married Marc Anthony, whom she met backstage at a Broadway show in 1998 and first dated before she was with Affleck. They had two kids: twins ​​Emme and Max. But they announced they were separating in 2011 and by 2014 had finalized their divorce. 

In 2014, Lopez reflected that Anthony "came back into my life three days after I should have been at the altar saying 'I do' to another man," but "thinking back, maybe deep down I knew that this was a Band-Aid on the cut, that my wound hadn't been stitched or healed." 

2005 to 2018 - Affleck marries Jennifer Garner

Affleck, meanwhile, moved on with Jennifer Garner after meeting her on the set of 2001's Pearl Harbor and working together again on 2003's Daredevil. They were married by June 2005.

Affleck and Garner had three children: Violet, Seraphina, and Samuel. But by June 2015, they announced they were separating. "Both of us felt like we don't want this to be the model that our kids see of marriage," he told Howard Stern in 2021. Affleck went on to date his Deep Water co-star Ana de Armas for about a year until early 2021.

2017 to 2021- Lopez almost marries A-Rod

In 2017, Lopez started dating former New York Yankees All-Star Alex Rodriguez, and they were engaged by March 2019. But the wedding, which was postponed multiple times, never happened, and they announced their break-up in April 2021. "We have realized we are better as friends and look forward to remaining so," they told Today

April 2021 - Bennifer 2: Electric Boogaloo

Mere weeks after J.Lo and A-Rod's break-up was confirmed, Page Six dropped a bombshell, revealing that Affleck and Lopez were "spending time" together again.

It wasn't initially confirmed they were dating. But in May, sources told E! News the two had vacationed together. Then TMZ reported they had, indeed, rekindled their relationship, and it had "been building since February ... when [Affleck] started flooding her with emails while she was filming" the movie Shotgun Wedding in the Dominican Republic. By June, Affleck and Lopez were spotted kissing, and their reunion was officially Instagram-official by July.

Speaking with The Wall Street Journal that December, Affleck declined to reveal how they got back together, noting, "One of the harder lessons that I have learned is that it's not wise to share everything with the world."

April 2022 - The (second) engagement

In April, Lopez revealed she was once again engaged to Affleck, writing in her newsletter that he proposed at home while she was in the bath. "I was taken totally off guard and just looked in his eyes smiling and crying at the same time trying hard to get my head around the fact that after 20 years this was happening all over again," she said. 

July 2022 - The Vegas wedding

Nearly 20 years after calling off the first wedding, Affleck and Lopez were married in July 2022. But — surely in an effort to avoid another paparazzi frenzy — they tied the knot in secret at 12:30 in the morning at a drive-through chapel in Las Vegas. 

Lopez — who legally changed her name to Jennifer Affleck — wrote in her newsletter that they exchanged vows at the chapel, which "graciously stayed open late," after waiting in line with four other couples, and she wore a "dress from an old movie," while Affleck wore a jacket from his closet. 

"We did it," she wrote. "Love is beautiful. Love is kind. And it turns out love is patient. Twenty years patient." 

Strap in for a Gigli legacy sequel — because time is a flat circle. 

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