Ben Affleck Says He Felt "Trapped" in Marriage to Jennifer Garner, Started Drinking Partly Because of It

He gave an incredibly honest interview.

Actress Jennifer Garner and actor-director Ben Affleck arrive at the Oscars at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 24, 2013 in Hollywood, California
(Image credit: Getty/Jason Merritt/TERM)

Ben Affleck is speaking out about the end of his relationship with Jennifer Garner, and the rekindling of his relationship with Jennifer Lopez. In a new interview with Howard Stern, the actor made some surprisingly vulnerable revelations about both love stories.

"The truth was, we took our time, we made a decision, we grew apart," Affleck said of his 2015 separation from Garner (via Us Weekly). "We had a marriage that did not work. This happens. It is somebody I love and respect, but to whom I should not be married any longer."

"And then we said, 'You know what? We tried. We tried, because we had kids,'" the actor continued, explaining that conflict was continually brewing. "Both of us felt like, ‘We don’t want this to be the model that our kids see of marriage.'"

Affleck has previously spoken about overcoming alcohol addiction and told Stern that he "would probably still be drinking" if he and Garner were still together.

He was so deeply unhappy at the time that alcohol felt like the only escape. "That was part of why I started drinking alcohol—I was trapped," he said. "I was like, 'I can't leave because of my kids, but I am not happy. What do I do?' What I did was drink a bottle of scotch on the couch, which turned out not to be the solution."

Despite all this, Affleck is careful to point out that this bad situation wasn't anyone's fault. "Did we have moments of tension? Did we have disagreements over the custody? Was stuff difficult for us? Did we get angry? Yes," he said. "But fundamentally it was always underpinned with respect. I knew she was a good mom. I hope that she knew that I was a good dad. I was. I had to get sober—I knew that too—and I acknowledged that. I said, 'You're right. I've got to quit drinking.'"

The actor and J. Lo began dating again in 2021, which as we all know made a whole lot of noise. Affleck knew it would, and it was a difficult decision for him whether or not to give it a try, because of how it might affect his kids. "My responsibility to my children is the highest responsibility," he said. "I don’t want to do anything that is painful or destructive to them if I can help it. ... My life affects them. Me and their mom are celebrities. That is hard. That is a cross to bear."

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.