Did Ben Affleck REALLY blame Jennifer Garner for his drinking?
Ben Affleck raised eyebrows when he said he'd probably be drinking if he had remained "trapped" in marriage with Jennifer Garner. However, his past comments suggest it was his drinking that created "more marital problems."
During a recent appearance on Sirius XM's 'The Howard Stern Show', Affleck, 49, opened up about his marriage to Garner, also 49. Since finalizing their divorce in 2018, the Academy Award-winning actor has struggled with sobriety and re-entered the dating scene. He recently rekindled his relationship with Jennifer Lopez after having been previously engaged for roughly two years. The duo split in 2004 and Affleck married Garner the following year.
"We probably would’ve ended up at each other’s throats. I probably still would’ve been drinking," Affleck told Stern, as quoted by Page Six. "Part of why I started drinking was because I was trapped," he added.
He said drinking was a way of dealing with his unhappy marriage. "I was like, ‘I can’t leave because of my kids, but I’m not happy. What do I do?’ And what I did was [I] drank a bottle of scotch and fell asleep on the couch, which turned out not to be the solution," he explained "Ultimately, we tried, we tried, we tried because we had kids, but both of us felt like we didn’t want this to be the model that our kids see of marriage," Affleck added.
The 'Argo' star blasted tabloids for their coverage of his divorce from Garner, claiming the relationship ended on good terms. "Everything you read [in the news about the divorce] was bulls**t. The truth was we took our time, we made our decision… We grew apart," he said. "We had a marriage that didn’t work. This happens. She’s somebody I love and respect, but to whom I shouldn’t be married any longer." He continued, "We did it amicably. We did our best. Did we have moments of tension? Did we have disagreements over custody? Was stuff difficult for us? Did we get angry? Yes, but fundamentally, it was always underpinned with a respect." Affleck added of his ex-wife, "I knew she was a good mom. I always hoped she knew I was a good dad. I knew I was."
There is confusion about what Affleck really meant by his comments that appeared to hold Garner partly responsible for his drinking. During his interview with Stern, he didn't say that his ex-wife was the reason for his struggles but that he felt "trapped" in the relationship and was unhappy that led to his drinking. Considering his past statements, the Hollywood hunk may have been misunderstood.
"The biggest regret of my life is this divorce," he said in an interview with The New York Times last year. “Shame is really toxic,” he continued. “There is no positive byproduct of shame. It’s just stewing in a toxic, hideous feeling of low self-worth and self-loathing.” Affleck then discussed how his addiction coincided with the end of his marriage. “I drank relatively normally for a long time,” he told the publication. “What happened was that I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart. This was 2015, 2016. My drinking, of course, created more marital problems.”
In another interview with Good Morning America's Diane Sawyer, Affleck opened up about the challenges he'd faced during his divorce with Garner. "I didn’t want to get divorced; I didn’t want to be a divorced person; I really didn’t want to be a split family with my children,” he told Sawyer. “It upset me because it meant I wasn’t who I thought I was, and that was so painful and so disappointing—in myself.” The interviewer later read a public thank you note Affleck made for his ex-wife. “What I want to say publicly and privately is, ‘Thank you. Thank you for being thoughtful, considerate, responsible, and a great mom and person',” the note read.