"Having a second chance at real love...We learned a lot."
Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez are proof that true love stands the test of time. Their love story began over 20 years ago, as the world watched it all unfold on movie screens and the cover of tabloids. While there were some ups and downs along the way (as well as a few marriages to other people), the duo found their way back to each other at long last.
In Spring 2021, Ben and Jen finally rekindled their decades-old romance -- and they have no plans to let go this time. The couple has learned to keep things private for the sake of the relationship but isn't afraid to admit they're stronger than ever. In fact, Jennifer says they wouldn't have even gotten back together if they weren't both in it for the long run.
And it looks her comments were proven true as the two said "I do" in July 2022.
Read on to find out how Ben and Jen made their way back to one another…
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Ben & Jennifer Meet on the Set of "Gigli"
In early 2002, Ben and Jennifer met while filming their romantic comedy crime film "Gigli." At the time, the future couple didn't make a romantic connection as Jennifer was still married to her second husband, Cris Judd. While the movie bombed at the box office when it was released in 2003, Ben later said he was still grateful for the film because it introduced him to Jennifer.
"If the reaction to 'Gigli' hadn't happened, I probably wouldn't have ultimately decided, 'I don't really have any other avenue but to direct movies,' which has turned out to be the real love of my professional life. So in those ways, it's a gift. And I did get to meet Jennifer, the relationship with whom has been really meaningful to me in my life," Ben told Entertainment Weekly.
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Jennifer Files For Divorce From Her Husband Cris Judd
Shortly after wrapping filming on "Gigli" in July 2002, Jennifer filed for divorce from her husband Cris Judd, citing irreconcilable differences. Jennifer later shared that her split with Cris had nothing to do with Ben and that she wasn't romantically involved with him prior to her divorce. Many years later, Jennifer revealed that she didn't "really count" her first two marriages.
"I was very young the first two times I tried to get married. I would say try to get married. It seems like in this life, you're always surrounded by people, you're never lonely, but it's very lonely. So you always want somebody with you. Somebody. And so, I felt like if I got married I felt like I would always have somebody, but that's not how life works," Jennifer said in a behind-the-scenes video.
The Co-Stars Begin Dating After Filming Wraps
Around the same time that Jennifer filed for divorce, she was spotted cozying up to Ben at her surprise birthday party. Over the course of the summer, paparazzi captured the couple's romance blossoming, leading up to Ben's starring role in Jennifer's "Jenny From The Block" music video.
The Couple Get Engaged
By November of that year, Ben popped the question in a romantic proposal at his mother's home in Boston. At the time, Jennifer said she "wasn't expecting" to receive the 6-carat pink diamond ring.
"It's just a blanket, a quilt of rose petals, all over the whole entire house. So many candles, and vases, bouquets. And my song 'Glad' was playing…I walk in and I was just, like, overwhelmed. I wasn't expecting it, and I was just like, 'Oh my God,'" Jennifer said in an ABC interview.
Jennifer & Ben Film Their Second Movie "Jersey Girl"
In early 2003, media attention around the couple grew as they filmed their second movie "Jersey Girl." It didn't hit theaters until the following year but unfortunately, was another flop like "Gigli."
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The Couple Call Off Their Wedding Amid Media Scrutiny
After almost a year of wedding planning, during which the couple was intensely scrutinized by the media, Ben and Jen decided to call off their wedding. Just days before the September 2003 ceremony, the pair released a statement, explaining that the attention surrounding the wedding caused them to postpone the nuptials.
"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," the couple explained in a statement.
Ben & Jennifer Officially Call It Quits
In January 2004, just months after the couple's wedding postponement, a representative for Jennifer announced that she and Ben had officially called it quits.
"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," the statement to the Associated Press read.
At the time, Jennifer tried to keep the details of the split private but looking back on the relationship, she recently admitted that the media attention had led to the demise of their romance.
"We were so in love... But also, there was this other thing happening where we were being criticized, and it really destroyed our relationship from the inside out because we were just too young to understand at that time what were really the most important things in life," Jennifer told Rolling Stone.
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The Former Couple Pursue Other Relationships
After their relationship ended in 2004, Ben and Jen both pursued other relationships. That year, Jennifer reconnected with former flame Marc Anthony and the couple tied the knot in June. In 2008, the duo welcomed twins Emme and Maximilian. Meanwhile, Ben began dating Jennifer Garner in 2004, whom he married the following year. The couple shares three children: Seraphina, Violet, and Samuel.
Unfortunately, their relationships ultimately didn't work out, with Jennifer and Marc splitting in 2011 and Ben and Jennifer ending things in 2018.
Ben Is Spotted Visiting Jennifer at Her Los Angeles Home
In April of 2021, Ben and Jen were spotted together for the first time in 17 years. In photos snapped by the paparazzi, Ben could be seen getting dropped off at Jennifer's Los Angeles mansion. While sources said the visits were friendly, fans hoped there would be a reconciliation between the duo.
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The Duo Spark Dating Rumors While Vacationing in Montana
In May, Jennifer and Ben spent a week reconnecting in Montana where sources said the duo "picked up where they last left off." They noted that the chemistry between the pair was "unreal" and they were already making plans to see each other again after returning home.
Jennifer & Ben Are Spotting Kissing In Miami
Later that month, Ben came to visit Jennifer in Miami where they were reportedly spotted kissing during a gym session. They were seen out and about in Florida over the next few days before jetting off to Los Angeles.
In June, the first photos of the couple showing PDA were captured during Jennifer's sister's 50th birthday party at Nobu in Malibu. The couple was surrounded by friends and family, including Jennifer's two children.
Ben & Jen Make Things Instagram Official
After months of speculation (and jet-setting around the US), Ben and Jennifer finally made things official by way of an Instagram post on Jennifer's birthday. In a series of snaps from her celebratory yachting trip, Jennifer included a photo smooching Ben.
The birthday trip even included some steamy paparazzi photos from the boat, which coincidentally looked straight out of a scene from the 'Jenny From The Block' music video. And a day later, Jennifer was spotted wearing a diamond-encrusted 'Ben' necklace.
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The Couple Make Their First Red Carpet Appearance Since Reuniting
In September, Ben and Jennifer made their first red carpet appearance in over 15 years. The duo stepped out at the Venice Film Festival at the premiere of Ben's film "The Last Duel" and looked completely comfortable with one another. With cameras flashing, the couple cozied up, proving that they were here to stay.
Ben Gushes About Jennifer's Career
Amid other red carpet appearances and rumors that the couple was on the hunt for their own home, Ben took the opportunity to gush about Jennifer’s career as she was named Adweek's 2021 Brand Visionary.
"I am in awe of what Jennifer's effect on the world is. At most, as an artist, I can make movies that move people. Jennifer has inspired a massive group of people to feel they have a seat at the table in this country. That is an effect few people throughout history have had, one I will never know and one I can only stand by and admire with respect," he told Adweek.
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Jennifer Explains Why They're Keeping Things Private
After spending the holidays together, Jennifer gave a little insight into her relationship with Ben while promoting her upcoming movie "Marry Me." While she didn't divulge too much, she did explain why they were trying to keep things private.
"We've both grown. We're the same, and we're different. And that's what's nice. Having a second chance at real love...We learned a lot. We know what's real, what's not real. So it's just -- the game has changed…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," Jennifer told Rolling Stone.
Jen and Ben Become Engaged — Again!
In April 2022, Jennifer revealed Ben had popped the question for a second time. The "Marry Me" actress announced the exciting news in a short video in her "On the Jlo" newsletter. In the clip, Jennifer showed off her beautiful engagement ring: a massive, green stone with a silver band, and described her new bling as "perfect."
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Bennifer Ties the Knot
Jennifer and Ben said "I do" in Las Vegas in July. According to TMZ, the pair became husband and wife after obtaining a marriage license in Clark County, Nevada.
Jennifer confirmed the news in her On The J.Lo newsletter, where she shared a number of photos and videos from the couple's big day. She took his last name and signed her post with, "Mrs. Jennifer Lynn Affleck."
"We did it. Love is beautiful. Love is kind. And it turns out love is patient. Twenty years patient," she wrote in part. "Exactly what we wanted. Last night we flew to Vegas, stood in line for a license with four other couples, all making the same journey to the wedding capital of the world. Behind us two men held hands and held each other. In front of us, a young couple who made the three hour drive from Victorville on their daughter's second birthday -- all of us wanting the same thing -- for the world to recognize us as partners and to declare our love to the world through the ancient and nearly universal symbol of marriage."