Even during their separation and divorce, Garner stood by Affleck's side through his rehab and as he got his life back together. It's a fact the actor will never forget.
When Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice star Ben Affleck and Elektra actress Jennifer Garner got married in 2005, they made waves in the industry and among fans. Their highly publicized wedding showed a happy couple in love who later went on to have three kids. They were also considered to be one of the lucky ones whose marriage actually lasted. But after spending 10 years together, they announced their separation and divorce; it was news that shocked many.
The couple released a joint statement that read, "After much thought and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to divorce. We go forward with love and friendship for one another and a commitment to co-parenting our children whose privacy we ask to be respected during this difficult time,” as quoted by US Weekly. "This will be our only comment on this private, family matter. Thank you for understanding."
While the split was mutual and amicable, it remained the Gone Girl actor's "biggest regret." He shared his experience while promoting his new film, The Way Back, where he plays a high school basketball coach trying to sort his life out while dealing with alcohol addiction and coping with a failed marriage - a character whose issues lined up with those of the actor who played him. Speaking to The New York Times, Affleck admitted, “The biggest regret of my life is this [his and Garner's] divorce. Shame is really toxic. There is no positive byproduct of shame. It’s just stewing in a toxic, hideous feeling of low self-worth and self-loathing."
And it was his own alcohol addiction that caused the couple to divorce as a canyon had formed between them. “I drank relatively normally for a long time,” he told the outlet. “What happened was that I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart. This was 2015, 2016. My drinking, of course, created more marital problems.” But Garner wanted to help out Affleck as he tried to work through his issues. So the mother-of-three chose to separate from him first. That way, they could also share a united front for their kids.
During his stint in rehab, the 13 Going On 30 actress stood by her husband because, in her eyes, their love was real and "wasn’t for the cameras," according to Vanity Fair. A source told US Weekly in 2018, "Jen wanted to give Ben the time and opportunity to work on his health and sobriety … she isn’t in a rush. Jen just isn’t willing to settle the custody issues until she’s 100 percent certain that he’s clean. She’ll wait for him to prove he is taking it very seriously." And her efforts didn't go unnoticed by Affleck. "He is very appreciative of Jen being so supportive and giving him a chance to get better," said another insider to US Weekly. "She has always been there for him and continues to be."
And Affleck felt shame for everything that had happened long after the divorce came through. But he couldn't drown in that feeling because it wasn't "particularly healthy for me to obsess over the failures — the relapses — and beat myself up,” he told the Times. “I have certainly made mistakes. I have certainly done things that I regret. But you’ve got to pick yourself up, learn from it, learn some more, try to move forward.”
Cover image source: Getty Images | Photo by Christopher Polk