Bennifer is proof that it really ain’t over ‘til it’s over. After almost two decades apart — and multiple other weddings, divorces, births, and breakups — Jennifer Lopez and actor Ben Affleck are back together. And considering the huge gap in their relationship timeline, it appears absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
In the years following their initial split in 2004 — which became one of the most talked-about heartbreaks since Romeo and Juliet — each half of the uber-famous pair moved on multiple times over. Among other relationships, Lopez married singer-songwriter Marc Anthony and divorced in 2014, then dated (and was engaged to) baseball hall-of-famer Alex Rodriguez for nearly four years. Affleck married Jennifer Garner in 2005 before divorcing in 2018, and later dated actor Ana de Armas in 2020. But ever since Affleck was rumored to have visited Lopez at her L.A. home that fateful day in April 2021, the resurrection of Bennifer has had fans fully believing in second chances.
But first, let’s back up. To really understand Bennifer 2.0, you have to rewind the clock by 20 years — all the way back to the beginning. Read on for everything you need to know about Lopez and Affleck’s decades-long relationship timeline: the romantic highs, the devastating lows, and everything in between.
2001: Bennifer Met On The Set Of Gigli
It all started on the set of Gigli, a widely panned rom-com starring Lopez and Affleck that was released in 2003. When the two met, Lopez was still married to dancer Cris Judd, her second husband. (Her first marriage was to actor Ojani Noa in 1997.) Her divorce from Judd wouldn’t be finalized until 2003, after she and Affleck went public with their nascent relationship.
Years later, in 2016, Lopez spoke with People about the early days of Bennifer. "We didn't try to have a public relationship," she said. "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." In the same interview, Lopez was candid about her early feelings for Affleck. “I felt like … 'OK, this is it,'" she said about her first impression of the actor. "[But] sometimes I feel like what you think people are and how you see them when you love them is different than when they reveal later."
2002: Affleck Appeared In Lopez’s Video For “Jenny From The Block”
It doesn’t get more iconically early aughts than Affleck’s cameo in Lopez’s “Jenny From The Block” music video. The video features plenty of PDA (shout-out to J.Lo’s pink bikini), plus surveillance camera footage and paparazzi snaps of the couple — a nod to the cultural craze surrounding their relationship.
Again, years later, Lopez spoke out about the pressure the couple was under, this time on the Graham Norton Show. “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," she said in 2010. "We were on the cover of every magazine, every week, it was just a weird thing. … Our relationship, I think, did suffer because of that."
November 2002: Affleck Proposed To Lopez
In late 2002, Affleck proposed to Lopez with a pink diamond ring that reportedly set him back a cool $2.5 million.
January 2004: They Called Off Their Engagement
In the fall of 2003, the couple released a joint statement just days before what would have been their wedding ceremony. It read:
“Due to the excessive media attention surrounding our wedding, we have decided to postpone the date. When we found ourselves seriously contemplating hiring three separate 'decoy brides' at three different locations, we realized that something was awry. 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.”
But by January of the following year, the two called it quits, as reported by MTV. "I am confirming the report that Jennifer Lopez has ended her engagement to Ben Affleck," a Lopez spokesperson told MTV. "At this difficult time, we ask that you respect her privacy."
2004-2021: They Each Moved On
In June 2004, Lopez married her longtime friend, singer-songwriter Marc Anthony, just six months after the announcement of her and Affleck’s broken engagement. In 2008, Lopez gave birth to their twins, Emme and Max. Per Page Six, Lopez turned to Anthony for comfort in her darkest days following her breakup with Affleck — an experience she chronicled in her 2014 book titled True Love.
"Ben and I split up at the moment when I thought we were committing to each other forever, it was my first real heartbreak, it felt like my heart had been torn out of my chest," she wrote. "I sought out comfort in another person, tried to find someone who could make me feel loved and wanted in my loneliest hour. … Marc came back into my life three days after I should have been at the altar saying 'I do' to another man."
Lopez and Anthony separated in 2011 and finalized their divorce in 2014.
But of course, it wasn’t just Lopez who found new love. Affleck married Jennifer Garner in 2005, with whom he went on to have three children: Violet, Seraphina, and Samuel Affleck. In 2017, the couple officially filed for divorced, which was finalized in the fall of 2018.
After each of their very public divorces, both Lopez and Affleck began dating other beloved celebs. In 2017, Lopez and former New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez started a relationship that ended in April 2021 with a broken engagement. From 2020 to 2021, Affleck dated actor Ana de Armas.
April 2021: Bennifer Rumors Began To Spread
When a source tipped off Page Six about Affleck’s “platonic” visits to Lopez’s Los Angeles home, fans began to speculate their previously extinguished sparks were beginning to fly again. About their mysterious meetings, the source said: "They are friends. They've never not been."
May 2021: Bennifer Was Spotted In Montana
Seventeen years after their breakup, E! News reported Lopez and Affleck took off for Montana in May 2021, where they spent a week together on vacation. E! shared insight from several insiders who said, “Jennifer is happy,” and “they picked up where they last left off and are enjoying each other's company right now.”
Since their getaway, both E! News and People reported the couple spent mid-2021 flying back and forth several times between Affleck’s residence in Los Angeles and Lopez’s in Miami. "Ben has been making the effort to make it work with their schedules. He's really making a huge effort," a source told E! News. "J. Lo thinks Ben has really stepped up and loves this version of him."
June 2021: Sources Began To Confirm Their Rekindled Romance
Entertainment Tonight reported Lopez and Affleck were “very much a couple and have been telling friends that they're together,” according to a source. “[They] talked about the past and why things didn't work out. They are both hopeful about their relationship this time around and putting the effort in. They have both matured and are on the same page and it has been easy.
But still, without statements directly from the pair, the stars kept fans speculating about the real nature of this renewed relationship.
July 2021: Lopez Made It Instagram Official
In July 2021, the couple finally made it real: According to E! News, Lopez and Affleck’s families started spending more time together, sharing birthday parties and trips to Universal Studios. Affleck even spent the 4th of July at Lopez’s Hamptons home with her teenage twins.
But the most exciting moment for fans came in the form of an Instagram post from Lopez herself. On July 25, 2021, in celebration of her 52nd birthday, she posted a steamy carousel of bikini pics with one heart-stopping surprise buried at the very end — a cozy, dreamy Bennifer smooch.
September 2021: Lopez & Affleck Made Their Red Carpet Debut
After an Instagram picture that sent fans into a frenzy, the biggest couple of the aughts finally made a red carpet debut at the Venice premiere of The Last Duel, which Affleck co-wrote and starred in. Their last red carpet event as a couple was for Affleck’s Daredevil movie premiere in 2003, so this was a big deal, to say the least. The two shared plenty of sweet googly-eyed looks as they walked hand-in-hand for the cameras.
April 2022: Bennifer Got Engaged (Again)
Lopez revealed in her On The JLo newsletter that Affleck proposed to her with an 8.5-carat green diamond ring while she was taking a bubble bath. After all the media circus surrounding their first engagement, the second time around was decidedly quieter and more intimate. She went on to say they are “two very lucky people — who got a second chance at true love.”
July 16, 2022: They Got Married In Vegas
On July 17, Lopez revealed in her On The JLo newsletter that she and Affleck got married in Las Vegas the night before. "We did it," she wrote. "Love is beautiful. Love is kind. And it turns out love is patient. Twenty years patient."
She also added some details about the special night: "Stick around long enough and maybe you’ll find the best moment of your life in a drive-through in Las Vegas at 12:30 in the morning in the Tunnel of Love drive-through, with your kids and the one you’ll spend forever with. Love is a great thing, maybe the best of things-and worth waiting for."
She signed the newsletter, "Mrs. Jennifer Lynn Affleck."
August 20, 2022: They Had A Wedding Ceremony In Georgia
A month after their Vegas nuptials, Lopez and Affleck gathered friends and family for a wedding celebration on Affleck's 87-acre compound outside Savannah, Georgia. Following their romantic weekend, they jetted off for their honeymoon in Italy, including Lake Como and Milan.
November 8, 2022: Lopez Explained Why She Took Affleck's Last Name
In a November interview with Vogue, Lopez spoke up about why she added “Affleck” to her official name, explaining that while "people are still going to call me Jennifer Lopez," her legal name "will be Mrs. Affleck because we're joined together."
She went on to say, "We're husband and wife. I'm proud of that. I don't think that's a problem ... I just feel like it's romantic.”
February 14, 2023: Lopez Revealed They Got Matching Tattoos
In the ultimate show of devotion on one of the most romantic days of the year, Lopez revealed in a Valentine’s Day 2023 Instagram post that she got a tattoo for Affleck. Her selfie showed off a ribcage tat of an arrow piercing an infinity sign that includes Lopez’s and Affleck’s names.
But Lopez wasn’t alone in her show of affection. In the same IG carousel, she posted a photo of Affleck’s matching ink, a slightly different design made up of arrows and the couple's first initials.
May 3, 2023: Lopez Praised Affleck As A Father
On the Today show, Lopez spoke about her kids’ relationship with her hubby. “He’s fantastic. He really steps up to the challenge of what (being a stepfather) is and what that means and they love him,” she said. “He’s a wonderful, wonderful father and father figure to them as well 'cause he has his own three beautiful children.”
July 16, 2023: Lopez Teased A Song About Their Wedding
One day after their one-year Vegas wedding anniversary, Lopez dropped some exciting music news by teasing a new song called “Midnight Trip to Vegas," apparently inspired by their Little White Wedding Chapel excursion the year before.
In her newsletter, she teased some lyrics to the song:
“Then you whispered in my ear / Said let’s get out of here / We can disappear tonight.”
“What about a / Midnight trip to Vegas / Just me and you baby / Throw the kids in the back / Of the pink Cadillac / And us in the bathroom changing.”
“Midnight trip to Vegas / Both our hearts are racin’ / I’ll pick you up late / We don’t have to wait / Yeah let’s do something crazy.”
This song is part of Lopez’s upcoming album This is Me… Now (out Feb. 16, 2024). The album is a follow-up to her 2002 album This Is Me…Then, which was heavily inspired by Affleck.
Jan. 17, 2024: Lopez’s This Is Me... Now Trailer Dropped
The trailer for Lopez’s upcoming visual album, This Is Me... Now released on YouTube in January, revealing it will largely center on Lopez’s love life — and Affleck will make an appearance in it. The movie, which will be released on Feb. 16, marks the first time Lopez and Affleck have co-starred in a film in two decades. They last appeared on the big screen together in 2004’s Jersey Girl.
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