Ben Affleck is more candid than ever in his latest appearance on The Howard Stern Show.
On Tuesday, Dec. 14, the Tender Bar actor spoke to Howard Stern about his divorce from Jennifer Garner and the impact it had on their three children, Violet, Serafina, and Samuel, saying, “Part of why I started drinking was because I was trapped.”
Ben said that his and Jennifer’s 2017 divorce was a long time coming, but they stayed together as long as they did for the sake of their children.
“I was like, ‘I can’t leave because of my kids, but I’m not happy, what do I do?’ And what I did was [I] drank a bottle of scotch and fell asleep on the couch, which turned out not to be the solution,” he explained, adding that they eventually realized they didn’t want their relationship to “be the model that our kids see of marriage.”
And while Ben and Jennifer were no longer in love, he said it wasn’t the dramatic breakup that was portrayed in the media. As he put it, “We had a marriage that didn’t work. This happens. She’s somebody I love and respect, but to whom I shouldn’t be married any longer.”
“We did it amicably. We did our best. Did we have moments of tension? Did we have disagreements over custody? Was stuff difficult for us? Did we get angry?” he continued. “Yes, but fundamentally it was always underpinned with a respect.”
Ben added that he “knew she was a good mom” and “hoped” she felt the same towards him.
But it was his children’s view of him that he was most concerned about, sharing that he knew it was time to seek help for his addiction “when I felt as if it impacted them.”
“The cure for addiction is suffering, you suffer enough that something inside you goes, ‘I’m done,'” he said of the decision. “I’m lucky because I hit that point before I lost the things that were most important. Not my career or money—it was my relationship with my kids.”
And he believes that if he was still with Jennifer, he would “probably still be drinking.”
Now that the actor is sober and divorced, he said that he’s “not cured” but he has “not wanted to drink once.”
But it wasn’t just his drinking that impacted his kids. Ben said that he is considerate of his personal relationships and the attention they draw to his children’s lives, acknowledging that his romance with Jennifer Lopez is a topic of interest for the public.
“It crossed my mind for sure,” he shared. “My responsibility to my children is the highest responsibility I have, so I’m not going to do anything that’s painful or destructive to them if I can help it.”
Ben continued, “Me and their mom are celebrities and that’s hard. Let’s not bulls–t each other, right? That’s a f–king cross to bear, that’s an albatross already… and then during the divorce, you know they printed horrible lies.”
Jennifer and Ben have maintained an amicable friendship following their divorce, which was finalized in 2018. The 13 Going on 30 actress was even on hand to support The Way Back actor when he checked into rehab in August 2018, with a source telling E! News at the time, “He asked her to take him and she wanted to be there for him.”
And when Ben reignited his romance with Jennifer, a separate source told E! News that the actress did “not want to get involved” in his love life, noting, “Her focus is always on the kids’ happiness and Ben being a good father.”
Since then, J.Lo and her kids have become increasingly involved in the lives of Jennifer and Ben’s children, with the families mingling at Halloween this year. A third source said of the gathering, “They were all cordial but didn’t hang out. They made it about the kids and were focused on them having a good time.”