The “Bennifer” reunion was the big headline of 2021, but now in early 2023, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are a settled married couple. It only took them 20 years and two engagements to get there.
Their first round began in 2002, after they starred in that year’s romcom, Gigli. Affleck eventually proposed to J.Lo, but they broke things off in 2004. Since then, they both went on to marry other people, have kids, and get divorced. They’ve also both dated other people since those divorces. A month after she ended things with Alex Rodriguez, Lopez was linked romantically to Affleck once more, in May 2021. They were married in the summer 2022 and are still enjoying their first year of being newlyweds.
Here’s everything we know about Lopez and Affleck’s relationship, from the first time they met to their reunion, 19 years later.
In early 2002, Lopez and Affleck met on the set of Gigli. Lopez was married to her second husband Cris Judd at the time of their connection.
By mid-year, Judd and Lopez were separated, and she filed for divorce two days after she was spotted kissing Affleck at her surprise 32nd birthday party. This was their first moment of being romantically linked in public.
Affleck makes a memorable appearance in J.Lo’s “Jenny from the Block” music video, which recreates some of the issues facing the superstar such as constantly dodging paparazzi when you’re in a highly-publicized relationship. In one scene, Affleck caresses J.Lo’s butt, an image became a frequent topic of conversation.
In 2008, Affleck said, per Fox News, “If I have a regret, it was doing the [‘Jenny from the Block’] music video. It not only makes me look like a petulant fool, but it surely qualifies as ungentlemanly.”
That same month, Affleck proposed to Lopez as she met his family in Boston. Lopez dropped the news during an interview with Diane Sawyer, describing the moment he asked for her hand.
“It’s just a blanket, a quilt of rose petals, all over the whole entire house,” Lopez said. “So many candles, and vases, bouquets. And my song ‘Glad’ was playing … I walk in, and I was just overwhelmed. I wasn’t expecting it, and I was just like ‘Oh my God.’”
She continued, “I had cried a lot over sadness over the years. And for the first time in my life, I cried incredible purging tears of happiness. It was the most cleansing feeling and the most wonderful feeling I had ever had.”
The famous engagement ring was made from 6.1-carat pink diamond (her favorite color at the time) by Harry Winston that reportedly cost $2.5 million.
“I was just like, ‘Oh God. It can’t be pink on top of it.’ That was just too much for me to handle,” Lopez said.
The couple strutted the red carpet together for the premiere of Gigli, where Lopez takes the engagement ring for a walk.
On the day before their wedding, Lopez and Affleck shocked fans by announcing their decision to postpone the ceremony. They released a joint statement reading:
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.
Around four months later, Chicago Tribune reported that the pair were officially over. Lopez’s rep said, “I am confirming the reports that Jennifer Lopez has ended her engagement to Ben Affleck. At this difficult time, we ask that you respect her privacy.”
And about six months after that, on June 5, Lopez married Latin music star Marc Anthony. The new couple had two children, twins Emme and Max, who were born in 2008. Lopez and Anthony separated in 2011 and then divorced in 2014.
A few months after Lopez moved on into a new marriage, Affleck was spotted with Jennifer Garner at the Cardinals vs. Red Sox World Series game. They first met on the set of Pearl Harbor, but supposedly became closer friends while filming 2003’s Daredevil. This sighting was the debut of their romantic relationship.
Affleck and Garner are married a year after Lopez and Anthony. Their break up came in 2018. During their marraige, Garner and Affleck had three children together: Violet, Seraphina, and Sam.
In an extensive cover story for InStyle, Jennifer Lopez’s whole history was covered, including her famous ex Affleck. The pair seemed to be already on good terms, because Affleck was tapped for a comment. He had glowing words to share about Lopez.
“I thought I had a good work ethic, but I was completely humbled and blown away by what she was committed to doing day in and day out, the seriousness in which she took her work, the quiet and dedicated way she went about accomplishing her goals, and then how she would go back and redouble her efforts,” Affleck gushed. “She remains, to this day, the hardest-working person I’ve come across in this business. She has great talent, but she has also worked very hard for her success, and I’m so happy for her that she seems, at long last, to be getting the credit she deserves.”
Did he say this after they reconnected, or was she drawn back to him by flattery? Unclear, but Page Six reported Affleck was seen heading to J.Lo’s home in California just a few weeks after her break up with Rodriguez in her white Escalade SUV, where he spent “a few hours,” according to a source. An inside source denied dating rumors at the time, stating, “They are friends.”
Those friends jetted to Montana on a romantic getaway in early May. A source told Us Weekly, “Ben and Jen spent several days together in Montana. It was just the two of them on vacation together. Big Sky is a special place to Ben.”
The source added, “They looked very happy together.”
TMZ reported that the former exes had been in contact for several months before meeting up in person, exchanging emails to get to know one another again. Their correspondence began in early February, and multiple sources “with direct knowledge” claimed Affleck’s emails were not “just friendly…but more loving and longing for Jen.”
By the end of the month, E! News was reporting on Lopez and Affleck’s bi-coastal relationship, with Affleck based in Los Angeles and Lopez in Miami.
“They have no problem meeting up wherever,” a source told them. The insider said that “things are going very well” and that “Ben is happy to be a part of her life in Miami, where they spent a lot of time at home being low-key and relaxing together. They have had a great few days that feels effortless and easy.”
On May 26, Us Weekly reported that Lopez and Affleck were officially back together. A source said, “Jen and Ben are both very happy with each [other] and are excited to see where the relationship goes. They are full-on dating and very happy together.”
By mid-summer, E! News also reported that Bennifer is really back.
A insider told the outlet that Lopez was “crazy about Ben.”
“He spoils her with love and is very witty and charming” they continued. “He’s a man’s man, and she finds him so attractive and strong. She’s in it for the long term and sees her future with him.”
Rumors began that Lopez could be moving to Los Angeles after she was seen looking for schools for her kids in the neighborhood. On June 7, Entertainment Tonight reported that the pair were telling their friends that they are a couple, not just dating.
“When they first reconnected, they had to see if the spark was still there because it had been a while. It was, so now they are both fully in it,” a source told the outlet.
And then it happened: Lopez moved from Miami to LA, with a source telling E! that the star would “be between L.A. and the Hamptons this summer, but L.A. will be her base. She is looking at schools for her kids in the fall.”
“In the past, Jennifer’s mom and Ben were very close. Guadalupe loved Ben. She was sad when they couldn’t work things out years ago,” the source told People. “She is thrilled that they are back together now.”
The source added, “Jennifer is very close with her mom. It’s very important to her that the person she is with gets along with her mom. Jennifer loves that Ben and Guadalupe hung out in Las Vegas. They both love gambling and had fun together at the Wynn hotel.”
On Friday, July 2, the couple was seen at Universal Studios Hollywood with Max and Emme, and Samuel, showing that their kids were getting to know one another, too. They then headed to the Hamptons, where they were seen holding hands.
That same month, Apple Music 1 released an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, in which Lopez shared how great she’d been doing because something was “happening again” though she did not mention Affleck.
“I’m super happy,” she said. “I know people are always wondering. How are you? What’s going on? Are you okay? This is it. I’ve never been better. And I want my people who care about me, because I care about them so much, to know that I’ve really gotten to a place in my life where I’m great on my own. And I think once you get to that place, then amazing things happen to you that you never imagine in your life happening again. And so that is where I’m at. And I love all the love that’s coming my way right now and all of the good wishes. And I just want everybody to know that it’s the best time. It’s the best time of my life.”
She got more specific in a mid-July interview with the Ebro on Apple Music 1, first reflecting on her breakup with Rodriguez.
“Once you get to the point where you’re like, ‘This is not right for me, or this doesn’t feel good, or I need to make an adjustment here,” she said. “‘This is not really about anybody else but me.’ Once you do that, stuff starts falling into place.”
On July 22, Leah Remini posted a video of photos from her birthday party, including a photo of Affleck and Lopez together, making it their Instagram debut.
But Affleck didn’t make it onto Lopez’s grid until July 24, in a photo of them kissing during her 52nd birthday. They celebrated together on a yacht in St. Tropez and seemingly re-created the scene from Lopez’s “Jenny from the Block” with paparazzi photographing Affleck rubbing his girlfriend’s butt.
A source told People that this was “not a summer fling.”
The source added, “[Lopez and Affleck] are planning a future together. They have serious talks about how they can make it all work. Between their relationship, their kids, and jobs, they know it will be tricky to balance it all. Jennifer is the happiest. She keeps gushing about how amazing Ben is.”
The hot and heavy couple are photographed outside of Westfield mall in Los Angeles in matching black ensembles holding hands. Lopez wore a sleeveless black top and belted houndstooth skirt, with her beau in black button-down and jeans.
Just weeks earlier, Us Weekly reported that Lopez and Affleck are “seriously talking about getting married.”
A source told the outlet, “They are both madly in love and don’t want to let one another go this time.”
Affleck and Lopez made their red carpet debut at the 2021 Venice Film Festival’s premiere of The Last Duel, with the actor wearing a black suit, while Lopez stunned in a white plunge dress by Georges Hobeika and Cartier jewelry, the official jewelry sponsor of the festival.
Affleck also joined Lopez that month at the Met Gala, but she walked the red carpet alone in her western-themed Ralph Lauren look. The couple were later photographed kissing inside the venue with their masks on.
A source told Us Weekly, “Going red carpet official was a wonderful experience, and they were just so proud to shout their love from the rooftops like they did. The messages were pouring in from all over Hollywood and beyond, saying how cute they looked, and that meant the world to both Ben and J.Lo.”
Lopez had to be separated from her man for a few months while she worked on set in Vancouver for Netflix thriller The Mother while Affleck shot Robert Rodriguez’s Hypnotic in Austin, Texas. A source told E! that they were making regular visits to get through.
“They are both filming during the week on location, but they have met up whenever possible,” the source explained. “Ben has been in L.A., and J.Lo flew in from Vancouver to spend time with him. They hung out at his house and then left for the airport together on Sunday night. J.Lo has had her kids visit her in Vancouver, but she is also coming back and forth to L.A.”
“They are working out their schedules so that they can be sure to see each other every few days,” the source added. “Things are good between them, and they are staying connected. They are busy with their projects but also making time to be together.”
That month, Affleck was asked by Extra how he was feeling, and though he didn’t say Lopez had anything to do with it, he claimed to be doing very well indeed.
“I’m very happy,” he said. “It is a very happy time in my life. Life is good. I love this movie [The Tender Bar], and The Last Duel, October 15, which I am really proud of.”
Lopez brought her twins Max and Emme to Los Angeles to join Affleck for the Thanksgiving holiday, their first since reconnecting as a couple.
For the first time, Affleck describes rekindling his romance with Lopez in an interview with WSJ Magazine.
“I can say that it’s definitely beautiful to me,” he said of how they got back together. “And, you know, one of the things I really value across all facets of my life now is that it was handled in a way that reflected that. My life now reflects not just the person that I want to be, but the person that I really feel like I am—which is not perfect, but somebody who tries very hard and cares very much about being honest and authentic and accountable. It’s hard to say who benefits more, without going into gossipy detail. I could just say that I feel great about being very healthy. And it is a good story. It’s a great story. And, you know, maybe one day I’ll tell it. I’ll write it all out…And then I’ll light it on fire.”
They were seen shortly after in Los Angeles at a Boston Celtics versus the Los Angeles Lakers NBA game sitting courtside, with their arms wrapped around each other.
Lopez told Rolling Stone why she doesn’t think they’re breaking up anytime soon.
“I don’t think we would have got back together if we thought that was where it was headed,” she said. “We feel like what we found again is so much more important, and how we protect that and how we live our lives—what to share, what not to share—is the balance that we have now, the benefit of experience and the wisdom that we gained over the years.”
Lopez was finishing up her filming for The Mother in Gran Canaria, Spain, and Affleck flew out to see her.
For a second time, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are engaged! A rep for J.Lo confirmed the news to People. She also shared her newly engaged status on her On the JLo newsletter for fans, teasing it with a video on Twitter.
“Major announcement!!!! OnTheJLo.com,” she wrote, including a diamond ring emoji in her bio.
TMZ reported that same week that the engagement had happened, sharing photos of a shining diamond on her left finger. The ring ended up being very similar to the one he originally proposed with, except instead of a pink diamond, it was made with an 8.5 carat natural green diamond. In an earlier newsletter, Lopez wrote about the significance of the color green.
“I always say the color green is my lucky color. Maybe you can remember a certain green dress,” she said, referencing the green Versace dress she wore to the 2000 Grammys. “I’ve realized there are many moments in my life where amazing things happened when I was wearing green.”
Lopez and Affleck are seen in Los Angeles surveying a $68 million dollar mansion in Bel Air with Lopez’s sister, Linda, as well as a real estate agent.
They were reportedly looking for a space that can fit their blended family and had landed on a $55 million estate that then fell out of escrow. An insider told Entertainment Tonight that the pair wanted to be able to find a house so they’re able to “spend every night together when they can.”
The insider added, “It’s the next step in their relationship and since they are both in it for the long run, they can’t wait to have a home together.”
The mansion had 12 bedrooms and 24 bathrooms.
The couple were photographed by paparazzi sharing a kiss on Affleck’s Los Angeles film set. Lopez had recently praised Affleck’s parenting in honor of Father’s Day and how he’s been with her own twins, Max and Emme.
Lopez wrote in her On the J.Lo newsletter, “My other dedication this year is to my fiancé [Ben Affleck]… I have had a front row seat to watching how you father for over a year now and I have never seen [a] more consistent, loving and selfless father. And [it’s] not just to your own kids but also without obligation to mine as well. You show up and put them first always. You are affectionate and engaged in every moment they are with you and it’s honestly one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Thank you for all you do for all of us. We appreciate and love you beyond measure.”
Lopez shared a video of her and Affleck, too.
“Happy Father’s Day to the most caring, loving, affectionate, consistent and selfless Daddy ever,” she wrote. “#HappyFathersDay my love.”
On Saturday, July 16, Affleck and Lopez obtained a marriage license in Clark County, NV, according to TMZ, and were officially married. A source close to the couple confirmed the union.
Afterwards, they headed to Paris with some of their children for a honeymoon slash work trip for J.Lo. After lunch, they enjoyed a two-hour private tour of the Seine, followed by a visit to the Picasso Museum. That night, they rallied for more activities and left their hotel in more formal dinner wear, holding hands and making each other laugh.
A source told People that the couple was “like two teens … very loving, very attentive.”
They added, “There weren’t a lot of people that time of the morning and they weren’t distracted. It was just them.”
Another eyewitness claimed the couple were kissing on a park bench for two hours.
“Whether it was holding hands, a caress, touching one another on the back … they never let go of one another,” they said. “They were like two bees stuck in honey.”
In August, to follow up on their whirlwind Vegas ceremony, Lopez and Affleck had a blowout party weekend and wedding at Affleck’s Georgia estate, according to People, Entertainment Tonight, and E!, who interviewed people who got to attend or are allegedly close to the couple.
People‘s source said that the even was “perfect. It was a dream for her,” adding, “She loved having all the kids there. She loved the location. It all felt very special.”
Lopez “feels extremely happy being married to Ben. She keeps saying ‘my husband’ and it’s very cute,” the source added. E! reported the ceremony was 20 minutes long and officiated by life coach Jay Shetty.
“At the end of the ceremony, they posed for family photos on the dock by the water,” the source said. “It was very romantic and classic. They had an old-fashioned car parked in front of the estate ready to take them away. J.Lo was ecstatic and there were a lot of tears of joy and laughter. Her smile said it all.”
Entertainment Tonight wrote that guests were shuttled from their Savannah, Georgia hotel to Affleck’s Riceboro estate in cars provided by Coastal Limo.
“Guests were gathering at The Perry Lane Hotel [in Savannah] to head to Jennifer and Ben’s wedding,” the source said. “Everyone is dressed in white with most women in white dresses and gowns, and most men in white suits, a majority in linen material, but the dress code features a wide variety. Some men are in white shorts and sneakers and there is a female guest in a white fringe leather jacket and sparkly cowboy hat.”
Lopez and Affleck were “so gracious all weekend,” a source told Entertainment Tonight. “They have been wonderful towards all the staff helping with the event, from the limo shuttle service company and beyond. You can tell how in love they are and how comfortable they are with each other. They can’t wait to continue to celebrate all weekend long with the people they love the most.”
Lopez shared select photos from their wedding in her On the JLo newsletter, adding details on the ceremony, reception, and day-after brunch.
She wrote that Affleck said in his wedding speech, “This is heaven. Right Here. We’re in it now.”
“The truth is, I never had one doubt,” she wrote. “All week I felt the calm and easy certainty that we were in God’s hands…” and though it was raining, the clouds parted right before the ceremony, “and, at long-last, I started my walk down the stairs that would become the aisle that would lead me toward the rest of my life. Ahhhhh…it was actually happening…”
“Ben and I talked about Marc Cohn’s ‘True Companion’ as the perfect wedding love song in this very house more than twenty years ago,” she continued. “Though Ben didn’t know, I asked Marc to surprise him by singing it at our wedding and he was lovely and generous to come. As I walked down the aisle, the first song he played wasn’t ‘True Companion’ however. It was his ‘The Things We’ve Handed Down’—a song about the wonderful mystery of children—something we could only guess at back then, but it was the perfect choice as our five children preceded me on the walk. The twenty years between those dreams of youth and the adult world of love and family we embraced that day, brought more to this marriage than either of us ever could have imagined. We weren’t only marrying one another; we were marrying these children into a new family. They were the only people we asked to stand up for us in our wedding party. To our great honor and joy, each one did.”
The couple shared their first Thanksgiving Day as a married couple, heading out to her Hamptons home. Lopez posted an Instagram Reel of the holiday, showing her sisters Leslie and Lynda, her twins, Max and Emme, and, of course, her husband. Over the collage of pics, her song “The One (Version 2)” played, and in one image Affleck can be seen discussing something with 14-year-old Max.
“This Is … Thanksgiving Holiday #ThisIsMeNow #PhotoDump #Family,” Lopez wrote in the caption.
Later that month, Lopez and Affleck supported friend Hugh Jackman in his leading role in a new production of The Music Man on Broadway. They were photographed holding hands as they left the theater.
Lopez spoke warmly of Jennifer Garner in her December 2022 Vogue interview, complimenting her parenting style and saying Garner is “an amazing co-parent, and they [Affleck and Garner] work really well together.”
“The transition is a process that needs to be handled with so much care,” Lopez said of blending their families. “They [the kids] have so many feelings. They’re teens. But it’s going really well so far. What I hope to cultivate with our family is that his kids have a new ally in me and my kids have a new ally in him, someone who really loves and cares about them but can have a different perspective and help me see things that I can’t see with my kids because I’m so emotionally tied up.”
The couple reportedly threw a holiday party at their Hollywood home, with a celebrity guest list that included Kim Kardashian, Doja Cat, Eric André, Vanessa Hudgens, and Jane Fonda.
“Jen and Ben had so much fun at their holiday party,” the source told ET. “They planned it together and everything came together perfectly with special touches and details. Everyone had a blast… Jen’s favorite holiday is Christmas, so she always goes all out, but this is a really exciting time for them as a couple since it’s their first Christmas as husband and wife.”
After the holiday, J.Lo shared intimate details of their first Christmas married On The J.Lo newsletter with all of her fans.
“I’ve been hunkering down at home (and loving it) since I wrapped my last movie, just getting ready for the holidays!” Lopez wrote. She added that she themed her song around hummingbirds to honor the track on her new album This Is Me…Now.
“To me, hummingbirds are messengers of love,” she explained. “They’re also the fastest bird but they always have time to stop, eat something sweet and smell the roses. I identify with them, but more than anything, whenever I see one, I feel like it’s a sign from God that everything is going to be OK.”
She continued, “So, I decided this year that the hummingbird would be a perfect theme. We have blended families, doubled the people, doubled the fun, doubled the love, doubled the presents and tripled the chaos!!”
On The Today Show, Lopez announced, “We [Ben and I] moved in together. The kids moved in together. It’s been, like, a really kind of emotional transition, but at the same time all your dreams coming true and it’s just been a phenomenal year, like best year, I think, since my kids were born.”
During a press conference, she also briefly mentioned wedding planning, saying, “Planning a wedding is a lot. Very stressful.”
That’s what prompted their elopement in Vegas, as reported by Insider.
“I think that’s why we ran off to Vegas and got married there first,” she said. “Took all the pressure off of the big family wedding that we were having.”
And Affleck did help her arrange the Georgia wedding.
“He has an amazing eye,” she said. “He has incredible taste, but everything we do, we try and do it together.”
The couple were also seen that month with Garner, photographed together at an event to support 14-year-old Seraphina. Daily Mail shared pics of the three arriving at a performance hall in Santa Monica, along with Lopez’s children Emme and Max and Affleck’s kids Violet and Samuel.
Affleck was Lopez’s date at the 2023 Grammys, and became the meme of the night after the camera caught him looking pretty miserable. A seat filler told TikTok that the couple realized Affleck was trending mid-ceremony.
The TikToker @almostannna explained, “J.Lo showed Ben Affleck the phone and was like, ‘Oh my god, honey, look at this meme circulating about you,’ and he was like, ‘Oh god, this again.’ Like, he knew during the performance that he was a meme. Like he knew, and he also chose just not to change his expression. I love how unbothered that is. So, I know that she was like on her phone and saw it and was like, ‘Honey this is so funny, look at this,’ and he was like, ‘Jesus Christ.’”
A source confirmed to Entertainment Tonight that they did notice it.
“Jen and Ben are both aware of the memes of Ben circulating,” the source said. “She had shown him a few photos that night and he just brushed it off. He is not fazed by what the internet has to say about him.”
The source said that as for the memes, “they are not paying too much attention to them,” and Lopez “actually thinks some of the memes are funny.”
Another source told Entertainment Tonight that Affleck was feeling off that night.
“Jen [Lopez, Affleck’s wife] and Ben had a fun date night out at the Grammys, but they have both been very busy working on several projects, and Ben was feeling tired,” the source explained. “He wanted to go and support Jen, but he wasn’t his usual self.”
The source added, “Jen had a great time and wanted Ben to be excited to be there, but she understood where he was coming from. Jen knows Ben is a great husband and they still made sure to have a good night together….[She] knows how supportive Ben is towards her and her work, but also gets that Ben is more of a homebody, and it isn’t his thing to be out at events all the time.”
Lopez shared her own video of herself and Affleck from the event, captioning it, “Always the best time with my love, my husband.”
Ahead of the release of Lopez’s album This Is Me…Now, Affleck offered glowing praise of his wife as a musician on SmartLess podcast’s April 3 episode. He said, via Billboard, “Here’s this incredible actress and this incredible performer. And then we’re sitting in the car, you know, and I’m humming along, like I will, you know, to the radio. And then a professional singer goes ahead and sings along and you kind of feel like, ‘Well that’s embarrassing.’”
“I do love her music, it’s brilliant and I know all of it,” he added.
With the tracks explicitly written to him, “Dear Ben” (from 2002’s This Is Me…Then) and “Dear Ben Pt. II” (from This Is Me…Now), Affleck said, “The songs that have been written about me have been written by the greatest performer in the history of the world, Jennifer Lopez. I don’t know if they are exactly about me, as maybe inspired by me because there are some negative things in there. She’s amazing.”
Aimée Lutkin is the weekend editor at ELLE.com. Her writing has appeared in Jezebel, Glamour, Marie Claire and more. Her first book, The Lonely Hunter, will be released by Dial Press in February 2022.