The Real Reason Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck Broke Up Years Ago

By: Michael Legg | Published: May 01, 2024

The world of Hollywood is often abuzz with the romances of its famous inhabitants, captivating audiences with stories of love, heartbreak, and glamour. Among the many celebrity couples that have graced the media headlines, the relationship between Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck has garnered significant attention, especially for its break up and makeup more than a decade later.

Their union, like many others in the spotlight, offers a glimpse into the complexities of love amidst fame and fortune. From red-carpet appearances to cozy date nights, these high-profile relationships provide a mix of fascination and intrigue for fans eager to follow their lives and what actually went down all those years ago. But before we reveal the real reason for their break up let’s rewind for a minute and recap how they first met and got together.

Love Sparks in the Air

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez began dating in 2002 after they met on the set of the movie “Gigli.” Their romantic relationship started shortly after Lopez and Cris Judd split up.


Source: 'Gigli' (2003) film / IMDB

The couple then debuted their romance, and the iconic moniker, “Bennifer” was born. Their high-profile relationship quickly became a media sensation, with the couple being dubbed the “It” couple of the early 2000s. This relationship garnered intense media attention, leading to a significant amount of pressure on the relationship.


First Engagement

After starting their relationship in 2002, they got engaged rather quickly within that same year. It’s like the saying goes, “When you know, you know.” Affleck proposed to Lopez using a custom-made Harry Winston pink-diamond solitaire ring.


Source: Jennifer Lopez / @jlo / Instagram reel

Lopez described the engagement as “traditional, but also in a very spectacular way,” reflecting the romance and extravagance of the moment. The news of their engagement was shared by Lopez in an interview with Diane Sawyer, where she expressed her joy and described the proposal as beautiful and spectacular.

First Breakup

Despite the highly public and happy relationship, the couple unfortunately ended their engagement in 2004. The breakup was highly publicized and Jennifer Lopez’s publicity team announced that it was Jennifer who broke off the engagement with Ben.


Source: Jennifer Lopez Publicist (2004) / theage

The intense media scrutiny surrounding their relationship played a significant role in their breakup. As both Lopez and Affleck reflect on their initial relationship and break up they have new insights and conclusions as to what led them to such a point. 

Another Jennifer: Jennifer Garner

Before we get into why Jlo and Ben originally split and track B of Jlo and Ben’s love song we need to talk about another Jennifer. Shortly after Affleck and Lopez split in 2004, he sparked a new relationship with Jennifer Garner. They first met on the set of Pearl Harbor in 2000, and again on Daredevil in 2003. The relationship eventually led to an engagement in 2005 and then marriage just two months later.


Source: Ben Affleck / Instagram

They were together for 10 years before separating. The couple shares three children: daughters Violet and Seraphina, and son Samuel. Despite announcing their separation in 2015 and finalizing their divorce in 2018, Affleck and Garner have maintained a strong co-parenting relationship and have continued to collaborate professionally. 

Jlo Alongside Marc Anthony

Shortly after splitting up with Affleck, Lopez rekindled her relationship with Marc Anthony. The two initially met backstage at the Broadway show “The Capeman.” In a quiet ceremony at Lopez’s Beverly Hills home, they exchanged vows in the summer of 2004. The couple welcomed twins, Emme and Max, in 2008.

Source: Leoni Torres / @leoni_torres / Instagram

In July 2011, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony announced their separation after seven years of marriage. Despite the split, they remained amicable co-parents to their children. Their divorce was finalized in June 2014.


Relationship with Casper Smart

After the divorce with Marc Anthony, Jennifer would go on to date Casper Smart, who was a dancer on her tour crew. Their romance became public when Smart appeared in Lopez’s music video for “Dance Again,” showcasing their relationship to the world.

Jennifer Lopez and Casper Smart when they were a couple Source: Jennifer Lopez / @jlo / Instagram

After spending time together and enjoying each other’s company, they decided to end their romance and go their separate ways in 2016. Casper Smart later reflected on their relationship, mentioning that the age difference played a significant role in the breakup.


Relationship with Lindsay Shookus

After splitting with Garner in 2015, Affleck sparked a relationship with Lindsay Shookus. The relationship became public in 2017, but ultimately broke up in 2018.

Source: Lindsay Shookus / @shookusshookus / Instagram

The challenges of living in different cities, along with their respective family and work commitments, contributed to the decision to part ways. Despite their breakup, sources mentioned that Affleck and Shookus will always have love and respect for each other.


Pressures and Fascinations of An A-Lister

Affleck recently reflected and then later confirmed that the media frenzy surrounding him and Jlo did not take kindly to their relationship. According to his view, it is this negative media attention that caused intense pressure between him and Lopez. They are only human after all. He contributes this insane pressure as a big contributing factor to the breaking point which led to the end of their initial relationship.

Source: Jennifer Lopez / @jlo / Instagram reel

According to his interview on ‘The Howard Stern Show,’ “about 50%” of the breakup was the result of media scrutiny. Jennifer Lopez came to similar conclusions as well. At their ages at the time, they were not prepared for the frenzy that their relationship caused. Now being older they have better insight and more experience with such pressures and the fascinations others have with their lives as a Hollywood “it” couple. Hopefully, those past experiences help them better navigate their lives and relationships this time around.


Love Rekindles in Emerald Form

After well over a decade apart, Jennifer and Ben rekindled their relationship in May of 2021. The two simply picked up right where they left off, leading to an official engagement in April 2022

Source: Jennifer Lopez / @jlo / @tombachik / Instagram

After proposing with a beautiful pink diamond the first time, Affleck used a green diamond engagement ring this time. This unique choice of a green diamond symbolizes luck for Lopez, who has previously referred to green as her “lucky color.”


Crossing the Finish Line

After a relatively short engagement, Lopez and Affleck tied the knot in Las Vegas on July 16, 2022. The wedding ceremony was a special moment for both Lopez and Affleck, symbolizing a new chapter in their lives after years of separation and other relationships.

Source: Jennifer Lopez / @jlo / Instagram

 The couple’s blended family, including Lopez’s twins and Affleck’s children with Jennifer Garner, played a significant role in their life together, emphasizing the importance of family unity.


Go Big or Go Home

Jlo and Affleck’s nuptials did not end in Las Vegas but rather just kicked off the festivities. Usually, they say, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” but not in this case. Lopez and Affleck continued the celebration of their love with a second wedding later that same year, this time bigger and with a longer star-studded guest list.

Source: Jennifer Lopez / @jlo / Instagram

Jennifer chose a stunning Ralph Lauren wedding dress and it did not disappoint. Although it was only the beginning, Lopez wore three different gowns. We expect nothing less from Jlo at her and Ben’s three-day wedding bash held in Affleck’s Riceboro, Georgia estate. It looks like this B Track is about to be played for the long haul, but only time will tell.


Will They or Won't They?

Despite Jlo and Ben getting their happy ending, many celebrity couples from the early aughts and before don’t get their happy ending not to mention a second chance. Here are some of the most memorable couples who almost made it to the altar but didn’t take the plunge.

Source: Jeremy Wong from Pexels (Canva Pro)

Although you never know, if Jlo and Ben can make it full circle, maybe there is still hope, stranger things have happened. In the meantime let us take a trip down memory lane. You may have forgotten these equally iconic couples.


Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow

Brad and Gwyneth had a strong and extremely public relationship from 1994 to 1997. The couple met while working on the set of “Seven”. After dating for two years, Pitt proposed in December of 1996.

Source: Se7en (1995) / New Line Cinema 

Unfortunately, this relationship did not last as the couple split just six months after their engagement. Paltrow has been candid about their breakup, attributing it to her own youth and lack of readiness for a serious commitment. She expressed regret and took accountability for the end of their relationship, acknowledging that she was not prepared for marriage at that time.


Johnny Depp and Sherilyn Fenn

Johnny and Sherilyn sparked their love connection while on the set of a student film called “Dummies” in 1985. “Dummies” was directed by Laurie Frank for the American Film Institute.

Source: Personal Photos / Johnny Depp and Sherilyn Fenn (1990s) / Pinterest

The couple would go on to date for roughly two and a half years, but the exact timeline is not certain. The specific cause of their split remains unclear. It is possible that their separation was due to various factors, including busy schedules or simply the natural evolution of their relationship over time.


Alyssa Milano and Scott Wolf

Alyssa and Scott began their relationship in 1993 after meeting on the set of the film “Double Dragon”. Surprisingly, just two months after their initial meeting, Scott proposed to Milano. While they had a strong initial bond, their relationship fizzled out soon after the proposal.

Source: Alyssa Milano and Scott Wolf (1994)

Their whirlwind romance coincided with a significant moment in Alyssa Milano’s life as she revealed on her podcast that she had two abortions in 1993. Milano shared that she was in love for the first time and felt overwhelmed by the experience.


Sarah Jessica Parker and Robert Downey Jr.

Sarah and Robert began their relationship in 1984, after meeting on the set of “Firstborn”. The pair would go on to date for seven long years, marked with a number of challenges.

Source: Robert Downey Jr. and Sarah Jessica Parker in Santa Monica, California circa 1990

Robert and Jessica’s major challenge during their relationship was due to Downey Jr.’s struggle with substance abuse. Parker, who was 22 at the time, often felt like she was providing stability for Downey Jr. amidst a chaotic environment. Despite her efforts, their differing lifestyles and Downey Jr.’s addiction issues led to the end of their relationship. Downey Jr. acknowledged that his substance abuse was a significant factor in their breakup, recognizing Parker’s attempts to help him and provide stability.


Elizabeth Hurley and Hugh Grant

Elizabeth and Hugh met in 1987 on the set of the 1988 film, Rowing with the Wind (Remando Al Viento). The pair would go on to build a strong 13-year relationship.

Source: Elizabeth Hurley and Hugh Grant in Rowing with the Wind (Remando Al Viento) 1988

Despite their breakup in 2000, after five years of being together post a scandal involving Grant and a sex worker in 1995, they have managed to maintain a strong friendship. The pair communicates regularly and Grant is even The Godfather to Hurley’s son with Steve Bing, Damian.


Michael Keaton and Courteney Cox

Michael and Courteney started their relationship in 1989, which lasted an impressive six years before their breakup. While the age difference is significant, they were able to find a few shared interests and activities.

Source: Michael Keaton / Courteney Cox / Instagram

The largest issue this couple faced was their 13-year age difference, leading to differences in lifestyle and personalities. In particular, Courteney mentioned Keaton’s role as a father from his previous marriage put him in a different place in his life. Despite the breakup, both Cox and Keaton spoke fondly of each other, highlighting the positive impact they had on each other’s lives.


Val Kilmer and Cher

Cher and Val Kilmer first sparked their relationship in the 1980s after being introduced at Cher’s birthday party. Despite their 13 year age difference, the pair shared a deep connection and unique bond.

Source: Val Kilmer and Cher / Instagram / @cher / @valkilmerofficial

The relationship unfortunately faced major challenges, with both being labeled as “alpha” males. Their strong personalities and desire for individuality greatly influenced their breakup. Even after their breakup, they maintained a friendship marked by mutual admiration and support for each other’s endeavors and personal journeys.


Tate Donovan and Sandra Bullock

Tate and Sandra started dating after meeting on the set of the film “Love Potion No. 9” in 1992. The couple would go on to date for three years and later get engaged but ultimately split and parted ways in 1995. Despite the split, Sandra viewed Donovan as the love of her life. She has openly commented on her relationship with Rolling Stone, stating she had one great love in life, and she has had it.

Source: Love Potion No. 9 (1992) / IMDB

While many of the couples on this list had an amicable breakup, this unfortunately does not have the same ending. While the exact reason for their split was not publicly disclosed, Sandra Bullock mentioned in an interview with Vanity Fair that some things did not end well between them. Both have admitted they knew the ultimate reason for the breakup, but have been reluctant to publically admit the reason, hinting at a rather unpleasant breakup.


Lenny Kravitz and Nicole Kidman

Nicole and Lenny started dating in 2002, shortly after Kidman’s public divorce from Tom Cruise.  The couple had a very interesting start, as the relationship started with Kidman renting from Kravitz. The exact date for when the couple became engaged is unknown, as the the engagement was kept secret from the public.

Source: Lenny Kravitz and Nicole Kidman / The Human Stain (2003) / Miramax Films / Lenny Kravitz / Instagram / @lennykravitz

Despite their engagement, which was kept secret, Kidman later revealed that they called it off because it “just wasn’t right”. Their relationship garnered attention due to the high-profile nature of both individuals and the circumstances surrounding their romance.


Demi Moore and Emilio Estevez

Demi and Emilio were one of the most infamous couples in Hollywood during the 1980’s. The couples sparked interest in one another while on set of the “St. Elmo’s Fire,” and got engaged just six months into dating.

Source: Emilio Estevez / The Breakfast Club / IMDB / Demi Moore / Indecent Proposal (1993) / @demimoore Instagram

Unfortunately, the engagement broke off for a number of reasons, mostly due to Moore discovering Estevez was unfaithful to her. Shockingly, despite their engagement ending, the two remained friends and even worked together in the movie “Bobby.”


Kyle Maclachlan and Linda Evangelista

Kyle and Linda dated for three years and after getting engaged in 1995, they decided to go their separate ways. Prior to their split, the pair was an impressive power couple as an actor and supermodel.

Source: Kyle Maclachlan and Linda Evangelista / Advertisement / Steven Meisel for Barneys Department Store, New York, 1992

While they were extremely happy as they were dating, their engagement ultimately brought up too many challenges. The biggest and most challenging was to either live in New York or California.


Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston

Jack and Anjelica began their relationship in 1973 while meeting at Jack’s 36th birthday. The relationship lasted for seventeen years but never led to a marriage or kids.

Source: Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston / Prizzi's Honor (1985) / ABC Motion Pictures / IMDB

The relationship faced challenges, including Nicholson’s infidelity, which ultimately led to their breakup in 1989. Anjelica Huston described Nicholson as a “world-class philanderer” and revealed that she physically confronted him after discovering his affair with model and actress Rebecca Broussard, who later had two children with Nicholson.


Sally Field and Burt Reynolds

Sally and Burt met while on the set of Smokey and the Bandit in 1977, leading to an up and down relationship for five years.

Source: Smokey and the Bandit (1977) / Universal Pictures, Ray Stark, Rastar / IMDB

Despite the initial allure, their relationship faced challenges. Field revealed that Reynolds was controlling and distant, with his stardom becoming a means of control over those around him, including her. She described their match as flawed, with Reynolds using his fame to exert control over her.


Billy Crudup and Mary Louise Parker

Billy and Mary began dating in 1996 after meeting as co-stars in the Broadway play “Bus Stop”. The eventual split shocked the world as Crudup left Mary while she was seven months pregnant with their son, William.

Source: Bus Stop Playbill / therealbrookesmith / Insagram / Everyone Says I Love You (1996) / IMDB

The breakup between Crudup and Parker attracted public scrutiny. Despite this, both parties made efforts to keep their personal lives private amidst the media attention. Crudup even requested not to include details about the situation with Parker in a 2004 New York Times profile.


Liam Neeson and Brooke Shields

Liam and Brooke began dating in 1992, and has an extremely confusing end to it. After progressing quickly, Neeson proposed to Shields without a ring.

Source: Liam Neeson and Brooke Shields / Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields (2023) / Darkman (1990)

After proposing, Neeson unexpectedly ghosted Shields. This sudden disappearance left Shields feeling confused and hurt, especially after Neeson proposed to her again upon his return but ultimately moved on to marry Natasha Richardson in 1994


Lance Armstrong and Sheryl Crow

Lance and Sheryl met through mutual friends and began dating in 2003. Their relationship developed, even leading to an engagement in 2005, which was unfortunately ended in 2006 without a marriage.

Source: Lance Armstrong and Sheryl Crow / Official Instagrams / @lancearmstrong / @sherylcrow

Lance and Sheryl broke up in 2006 after being engaged for less than six months. The breakup was described by Sheryl Crow as “like a death,” indicating the emotional toll it took on her. One of the main reasons behind their split was their different visions for the future, with Crow wanting marriage while Armstrong had a different perspective on their relationship.


Jennifer Aniston and Tate Donovan

Jennifer and Tate met while working in the infamous television show “Friends.” The pair would go on to date while shooting the television show, eventually leading to an engagement in 1997. Unfortunately, the engagement was short lived, ending just a year later, and this engagement did not end up with church bells ringing.

Source: 'Friends' (1998) S4,E18 ; The One With Rachel's New Dress

Surprisingly, Tate and Jennifer broke off their engagement mostly due to Donovan’s jealousy over Aniston’s career. Jennifer’s career obviously skyrocketed during the show, which led to major strife between the couple.


Alanis Morissette and Ryan Reynolds

In 2002, Alanis and Ryan met one another while attending a birthday party for Drew Barrymore. The couple began dating in 2002, leading to an engagement in 2004. Unfortunately, despite the long engagement, the pair broke up in 2007 without tying the knot.

Source: Alanis Morissette and Ryan Reynolds / Personal Photos

Unsurprisingly, the couple had many issues during their engagement, but the busy schedules and conflicting priorities ultimately led to their demise. The couple eventually mutually decided to end their engagement. Despite their split, they remained close friends and continued to support each other after the breakup.


Blake Lively and Penn Badgley

Blake and Penn began their relationship after starting an on-screen relationship on “Gossip Girl” in 2007. Despite their breakup in 2010, Lively and Badgley maintained professionalism on set, keeping their personal drama hidden from the crew.

Source: Gossip, S6 E10, "New York, I Love You XOXO" / The CW

Badgley credits Lively with helping him navigate the challenges of fame during their relationship. And although their on-screen characters, Dan and Serena made it to the alter, they never took that next step. However, he did acknowledge that Lively’s influence kept him away from substance abuse, providing a stabilizing force during his rise to stardom.