Is Bennifer back?
Known simply as “Bennifer,” Lopez and Affleck took pop culture by storm after they started dating in the early 2000s. The Hollywood power couple – who starred together in 2003’s “Gigli” and 2004’s “Jersey Girl” – got engaged in November 2002 (remember her pink engagement ring?). But there isn’t always a happily ever after, even in Hollywood. Lopez and Affleck ended their engagement in 2004.
So why is “Bennifer” trending over 17 years later? Lopez and Affleck sparked reconciliation rumors and sent Twitter into a frenzy after the pair was spotted together on multiple occasions fresh off Lopez’s split from Rodriguez in April.
In photos obtained by Daily Mail, Lopez and Affleck were spotted driving in a car together in Montana over Mother’s Day weekend. The pair also attended the Vax Live concert in L.A. last week, although they appeared separately.
And even Matt Damon, Affleck’s longtime pal, weighed in on the rumors. “It’s a fascinating story. I hope it’s true,” the actor said during an interview with the “Today” show Tuesday. “I love them both. I hope it’s true. That would be awesome.”
Damon kept his lips sealed, though, on if he knew anything about a reunion. “There’s not enough liquor in the world for you to get me to say something about that,” he joked.
USA TODAY reached out to Lopez and Affleck’s reps for comment.
In honor of the possible reconciliation, we take a look back at their relationship.
How it all started
Lopez and Affleck first met in 2002 on set of the romantic comedy “Gigli,” while Lopez was still married to her second husband, dancer Cris Judd. Although the movie bombed terribly at the box office, sparks were definitely flying between Lopez and Affleck. The pair went public with their relationship shortly after Lopez’s divorce from Judd.
The “Hustlers” star told People that when she met Affleck, “I felt like… ‘Okay, this is it.'”
Bennifer is born
Affleck and Lopez embarked on a high-profile relationship that attracted widespread media coverage. The couple was nicknamed “Bennifer,” the legendary combination of Affleck’s and Lopez’s first names that started the one-name, pop-culture-couple portmanteau trend (think “Brangelina” and “Kimye”).
“We didn’t try to have a public relationship,” Lopez told People in 2016. “We just happened to be together at the birth of the tabloids, and it was like ‘Oh my God.’ It was just a lot of pressure.”
Lopez addressed the paparazzi frenzy and invasion of privacy in her 2002 music video “Jenny from the Block,” which included a memorable appearance from her actor beau, Affleck. The music video featured surveillance camera footage and paparazzi shots of the couple at home, restaurants, a gas station and even lounging on yachts.
Tickled Pink… and engaged!
Lopez confirmed her engagement to Affleck during a November 2002 interview with Diane Sawyer. She proudly showed off her pink engagement ring, which she called “the most magnificent thing I’ve ever seen.”
“I still look at it and kind of marvel at it,” Lopez said of her ring during the interview. “He’s like, ‘I just wanted you to have something that no one else would have.'”
She said the proposal was “traditional, but also in a very spectacular way, as of course Ben would do it … it was very, very beautiful.”
Lopez gushed over her “brilliantly smart, loving, charming, affectionate” fiance, saying they both had “the same kind of upbringing.” She added, “My mother loves Ben.”
Although Lopez famously sings, “My love don’t cost a thing,” it did cost the it couple one thing: privacy. Lopez and Affleck were set to tie the knot in September 2003, but they postponed their nuptials over “the excessive media attention surrounding our wedding.”
“When we found ourselves seriously contemplating hiring three separate ‘decoy brides’ at three different locations, we realized that something was awry,” the couple said in a joint statement at the time.
The statement continued: “We began to feel that the spirit of what should have been the happiest day of our lives could be compromised. We felt what should have been a joyful and sacred day could be spoiled for us, our families and our friends.”
The couple officially split in January 2004.
At the time, Lopez’s rep said, “Jennifer Lopez has ended her engagement to Ben Affleck. At this difficult time, we ask that you respect her privacy.”
Both attributed the demise of their relationship to all the media attention.
In 2008, Affleck said he and Lopez were “too accessible” during their high-profile relationship: “I think Jen and I made a mistake in that we fell in love, we were excited and maybe too accessible. I don’t think either of us anticipated the degree to which it would take on a world of its own.”
In 2014, Lopez called her split from Affleck “my first big heartbreak.” In 2015, she said “the worst, probably lowest point was the whole ‘Gigli’ era.”
“It was a very badly reviewed film. I was in a high-profile relationship at the time that fell apart in a really bad way, and so the kind of mix of those two things and the tabloid press had just come into existence at the time, so I was like a poster child for that moment. I was in the tabloids every other week about how my life was falling apart. It was a tough time,” she told HuffPost Live. But Lopez added that she would “do it all over again… even the relationship part. “
Lopez went on to marry singer Marc Anthony in 2004 and welcomed twins Max and Emme (now age 13) in 2008. The couple divorced in 2014.
Affleck married actress Jennifer Garner in 2005, and the two divorced in 2018. They share three children together: daughters Violet, 15, Seraphina, 12, and son Samuel, 9.
Lopez got engaged to baseball star Alex Rodriguez in March 2019. The couple was scheduled to tie the knot in Italy in June 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic hit mid-March. They later called off their engagement in April after they “realized we are better as friends and look forward to remaining so.”
Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez officially call it quits after reversing their breakup announcement
On good terms
Affleck said, “I thought I had a good work ethic, but I was completely humbled and blown away by what she was committed to doing day in and day out, the seriousness in which she took her work, the quiet and dedicated way she went about accomplishing her goals, and then how she would go back and redouble her efforts.”
He continued: “She remains, to this day, the hardest-working person I’ve come across in this business. She has great talent, but she has also worked very hard for her success, and I’m so happy for her that she seems, at long last, to be getting the credit she deserves.”
‘She’s the original!’: Jennifer Lopez’s exes Marc Anthony, Ben Affleck praise career
In addition of praising her talent, Affleck also pointed out her seeming inability to age.
“Where are you keeping the fountain of youth?” he joked. “Why do you look the same as you did in 2003 and it kind of looks like I’m in my 40s…at best?”
The feeling was mutual. Lopez replied, “Ben is funny! He still looks pretty good too.”