the blame game

Now Why Is Ben Affleck Dragging Jennifer Garner Into This?

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner. Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photos by Getty Images

Ben Affleck has been making the rounds to promote his new film The Tender Bar, and more importantly, to discuss his life as a celebrity. The actor recently said we wouldn’t get more details about his reconnection with Jennifer Lopez earlier this year, but on The Howard Stern Show on December 14, he wasn’t as averse to discussing his 2015 split from Jennifer Garner. Affleck, who has been open about his history of alcoholism, admitted to the radio host that he would “probably still be drinking” if he’d stayed married to Garner. “It’s part of why I started drinking,” he continued. “Because I was trapped.” He went on to add that they “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,” he told Stern. “Ultimately, we tried. We tried, we tried because we had kids.”

Sorry to Jennifer Garner, who did not ask to be dragged into this press cycle! Affleck’s comments prompted immediate and expected backlash online, to the point where he clarified them on a new Jimmy Kimmel Live! appearance on December 15. Affleck brought up the Stern interview unprompted, admitting he was “really happy with it” in the moment. When he saw coverage of the interview later, he said, some outlets “made it seem as if I was saying the exact opposite of what I said.” Affleck insisted that his comments on Garner had focused on “how much we respect each other and cared about each other and cared about our kids and put them first and went through our stuff.” He also seemed to imply he did not say he felt “trapped” in the marriage, despite literally using that word on Stern. Affleck, who shares three children with Garner, added, “If it’s about my kids, I gotta just draw a line.”

Still, the star doesn’t seem to have been protected from the fallout. Garner hasn’t directly responded to the comments, although she was spotted looking, by account of “Page Six,” “unfazed” on a walk in Santa Monica afterward. As for Affleck’s current girlfriend, J.Lo? One source told “Page Six” she “is pissed” about the comments. “She doesn’t want to be dragged into this,” the source added, noting that Lopez is trying to form a relationship with Garner and their children. “It’s reckless and cavalier of him,” the source said. Those Jens have to stick up for each other.

Update, Monday, December 20 at 9:45 a.m.: Not so fast, says Jennifer Lopez. The star set the record straight after a “Page Six” source claimed she was “pissed” about Ben Affleck’s recent comments on ex-wife Jennifer Garner. “This story is simply not true,” J.Lo herself told People on December 18. “It is not how I feel.” The star added that she “couldn’t have more respect for Ben as a father, a co-parent, and a person.” Meanwhile, a People source in the same report said they are “in a really great space and really happy,” and the pair “look forward to spending time with their children” this Christmas. The couple had recently been spotted holding hands on their way to Affleck’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! interview on December 15, where Affleck cleared up his comments toward Garner.

Now Why Is Ben Affleck Dragging Jennifer Garner Into This?