“We Did Our Best”: Ben Affleck Says His Marriage Went South for A Lot of the Normal Reasons


Human-truth-serum Howard Stern has extracted more truth, this time from Ben Affleck, who went on Stern’s SiriusXM show in the throes of a press tour for The Tender Bar as well as The Last Duel and likely not Deep Water. The actor spoke frankly about marriage and addiction, casting his marriage to Jennifer Garner as a story with familiar contours. At the end of the day, their divorce was something quite pedestrian in his words. 

“Everything you read [about the divorce] was bulls–t. The truth was we took our time, we made our decision. We grew apart,” he said, likely referring to tabloid rumors he had an affair with their nanny, which his camp has since denied. “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.” Good marriage turns bad, a tale as old as time. “Ultimately, we tried, we tried, we tried because we had kids, but both of us felt like we didn’t want this to be the model that our kids see of marriage,” he said. Stay together for the kids turns to break up for the kids, another tale as old as time.

“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? Yes, but fundamentally it was always underpinned with a respect,” he said, adding, “I knew she was a good mom. I always hoped she knew I was a good dad. I knew I was.”

Affleck also addressed addiction (he went to rehab in 2018, three years after they announced their decision to divorce). He said, “We probably would’ve ended up at each other’s throats. I probably still would’ve been drinking,” and “Part of why I started drinking was because I was trapped.”

“The cure for addiction is suffering, you suffer enough, that something inside you goes, ‘I’m done.’” he said. “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 when I felt as if it impacted them, I recognized it.”

Affleck added, “It was the worst day of my life. I made amends…. But since that day, I swear to Christ, I have not ever wanted to drink once.”

Garner told Vanity Fair in 2016, after the 2015 divorce announcement, “I’m a pretty hard worker. It’s one of the pains in my life that something I believe in so strongly I’ve completely failed at twice. You have to have two people to dance a marriage. My heart’s a little on the tender side right now, and it’s always easier to focus on the ways that you feel hurt, but I know that, with time and some perspective, I’ll have a clearer sense of where I let the system down, because there’s no way I get off in this.”

“I definitely put a lot of time towards my marriage that I will now have for myself,” she said. “I don’t know how I will use that.” And of a large tattoo of a phoenix Affleck got on his back after the split, she said, “You know what we would say in my hometown about that? ‘Bless his heart.’ A phoenix rising from the ashes. Am I the ashes in this scenario? I take umbrage. I refuse to be the ashes.”

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