They’re so much closer now.
So much has changed since Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck first got together in 2002. Low-rise jeans, scarf tops, and claw clips have all made their way out of style... ad then right back in. The two superstars — collectively known as Bennifer, of course — split up and found their way back together. And the ways they interact with each other has also transformed over time, particularly on the red carpet. In fact — according to an expert — Bennifer’s body language evolution suggests that they’ve only gotten closer with one another, showing more intention and a greater level of connection in their behavior now than in years past.
“They just have a different vibe about them,” says body language expert Traci Brown, author of Persuasion Point: Body Language and Speech for Influence. “They’re more intentional [than they were before].”
Looking at individual snapshots of these two over the years, though, how has their body language shifted and changed? What do photos of them at the 2002 premiere of Gigli reveal versus those at the 2021 premiere of The Last Duel, for instance?
Here’s an in-depth look at what Lopez and Affleck’s body language has suggested about their relationship, based on pictures from past premieres and recent red carpets.
Lopez & Affleck Weren’t Always On The Same Page
In earlier photos of the two together — like those taken at the premiere of Gigli (the film where the two first connected) — Ben often has a more neutral look on his face than J.Lo, suggesting they weren’t not always on the same page.
“This one is relatively interesting because we don’t really know what’s gone on here,” says Brown. “He has a kind of spooky look on his face... This is very out of the [norm] from what we see from them.”
Bennifer’s Energy Didn’t Always Match
Another hint that the two were less connected then than they are now? Their energies didn’t always match one another’s, and Ben sometimes appeared to be holding back in red carpet moments.
“Great couples keep their attention in the same spot,” Brown says. “One is not happier than the other... He’s kind of there supporting her, from what it looks like, [but] he’s holding back a little bit [and] has kind of a neutral look on his face.”
To that end, J.Lo often looked more relaxed and less posed in past photos than in those taken more recently.
“She just looks a lot more relaxed I think than what we typically see from her now, for whatever reason,” Brown added.
Ben Looked Less Into It
To that end, Ben’s expression was often more subdued and less joyful in past photos, Brown noticed (looking at a photo of the pair at the Oscars in 2003).
“She’s happy and he’s not as happy,” Brown says. “But we also know that they had trouble back then. So, you know.”
Bennifer Is More Intentional Now
After sparking dating rumors (and becoming Instagram official) in the summer of 2021, Bennifer walked the red carpet together for the first time in 18 years at the Venice Film Festival in August, and they appeared to be more connected than ever before.
“They’re more intentional —[Ben is] for sure — with what they’re doing,” Brown says. “I like it.”
Bennifer Is In Sync
You may think it’s difficult to surmise anything about their relationship while Ben and J.Lo are wearing masks, but in photos from the Met Gala on Sept. 13, 2021, Brown says it’s clear these two are in sync.
“They seem to have about the same level of happiness going on,” Brown says. “They’re kind of matching each other, like their hands are kind of in the same spot, the ones that you can see.”
Ben also appears to have a tighter grip (literally and, perhaps, metaphorically) of late.
“He’s pulling her in,” Brown notes. “See his fingers there? Wrapped around her waist, under her arm? It’s a great picture, it says great things about their relationship.”
Ben and J.Lo Are Glued Together
Last but not least, Brown points out that Ben and J.Lo are — almost literally — attached at the hip these days in a way they’d never been before.
“They’re glued down the middle and looking at each other in close range,” Brown says. “They’re clearly having a good time... That’s hard to do unless you’re actually really into it and have a good relationship.”
Overall, in comparing and contrasting Bennifer’s latest photos versus those of the early aughts, Brown suggests that they have a better sense of what they’re getting into this round than they did before.
“They seem to both want to be there, seem to know what they’re getting into versus the first time,” she says. “That’s cool.”