Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck canceled their wedding in 2004 before getting back together 17 years ...

Why Did J.Lo & Ben Break Up In 2004? It’s Complicated

Here’s hoping things are different this time around.

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It’s 2021, and Bennifer seems to be as in love as ever. They aren’t doing anything to hide it, either. (If anything, I’d argue they’re doing the exact opposite of hiding it — I mean, did you see that makeout post on IG?) All signs point to things getting serious between them fast. But if they’re so seemingly perfectly matched, why did they break up in the first place?

The duo’s whirlwind romance (which, fittingly, started on the set of a romantic comedy) came to a surprising end in 2004 when they broke up. The duo first met in 2001 while filming Gigli, and they were engaged by November 2002. But they eventually decided to postpone and later cancel their wedding.

In September 2003, Bennifer decided to delay their wedding, making the announcement only a few days ahead of the scheduled ceremony. At the time, the couple blamed the postponement on too much public pressure. “Due to the excessive media attention surrounding our wedding, we have decided to postpone the date,” Bennifer’s statement read at the time, per ABC. “When we found ourselves seriously contemplating hiring three separate 'decoy brides' at three different locations, we realized that something was awry.” Fair enough.

“We began to feel that the spirit of what should have been the happiest day of our lives could be compromised,” the statement continued. “We felt what should have been a joyful and sacred day could be spoiled for us, our families, and our friends.”

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After the postponement, Lopez and Affleck stayed together for another few months before officially canceling the wedding in January 2004. Lopez’s representative broke the news at the time. “Jennifer Lopez has ended her engagement to Ben Affleck. At this difficult time, we ask that you respect her privacy,” the statement read, according to MTV. But Affleck’s reps were less forthcoming. "I am not going to confirm anything about his personal life. We don't want to get dragged into quicksand. Everybody wants a war. It's not happening from our side,” his statement (or lack thereof) read, per Distractify.

In 2008, Affleck gave a little more insight into their breakup. He told Latina that he felt they were “too accessible” throughout their relationship. “I think Jen and I made a mistake in that we fell in love, we were excited and maybe too accessible,” Affleck explained, per StyleCaster. “I don’t think either of us anticipated the degree to which it would take on a work of its own.”

In May 2010, Lopez revealed that she also thought the media played a role in their decision to call it quits. “It was a lot. Honestly, I've never really talked about it before,” she told Graham Norton. “I mean, I love Ben, he's a great guy but it was a lot for both of us to be under that type of siege for two years straight. We were on the cover of every magazine every week, it was just a weird thing... Our relationship did suffer because of that. That was one of the reasons. I mean, I would never blame the media for anything, but it definitely played a part of the dynamic of our relationship.” In March 2016, Lopez reiterated the same idea. “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,” she told People.

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All in all, considering just how public their romance was, their breakup was pretty chill — chill enough for J.Lo to ~potentially~ keep the ring. According to Robert Shuter, Lopez’s former publicist, there’s a real possibility the singer still has the $2.5 million, six-carat pink diamond from Harry Winston. “As far as I know, Jen has never returned the ring. So, if things move forward with these two, gosh, she’s already got the most beautiful ring I’ve seen,” he told Access Daily in May 2021.

Now that Bennifer is back on, however, those low-key, friendly vibes are long gone. In their place are hot and heavy makeouts, romantic vacations, and hordes of paparazzi. Here’s hoping being “too accessible” doesn’t take too much of a toll on Bennifer this time around... though there’s no telling how the world (see: me) will react if J.Lo starts sporting that pink diamond again.