Hope Bonarcher looks at the history of Ben and Jennifer’s relationship, and comments on the rumours that their relationship is in trouble.

Entertainment news is rife with the gossip: Ben and Jen are on the road to quitsville. I was part of the great cloud of witnesses formed around Bennifer 1.0, the 2000s version. It was a more staid and innocent time, pre Facebook’s popularity or Instagram’s very existence. J.Lo had moved on from her two year relationship with Puff Daddy, Ben had ditched Gwyneth Paltrow and the pop-culture, tabloid phenomenon came to pass.


Source: Arianna Scolaro / Alamy Stock Photo

Looking back on photos of the couple from 20 years ago, you can see the J.Lo glow and All-American charm that joined them. They look adorable, enamoured with each other, playful, fun-loving, there’s definitely a noticeable spark. News surrounding their nuptials flooded the tabloids, it was a sure thing… until it wasn’t.

Three days before their wedding, they called off the date and weeks later, the relationship. 

Three days before their wedding, they called off the date and weeks later, the relationship. Within months, Lopez was engaged to old friend and Latin wunderkind, singer Marc Anthony, Affleck married girl-next-door, actor Jennifer Garner, the following year in 2005.

Two failed marriages, high profile relationships, five children and 20 years later, Mr and Mrs Ben Affleck followed through on their marriage plans of yesteryear. They married not quite two years ago, yet despite the well-documented romance, immortalised in music videos for “Jenny from the Block” and films like Gigli, the press is already touting divorce rumours.

How can this be? Amazon Prime Video is streaming a long form movie musical and documentary related to their romance, The Greatest Love Story Never Told. There’s also a 2023 documentary focused solely on the couple’s love, Ben and Jen: Never Say Never. Still, there’s no lack of tabloid fodder of their reported squabbles and differing personalities; Ben looking exasperated as Jen looks on serene; Ben slamming a car door or not wearing his wedding ring; Jen smiling and keeping the peace. She’s the media hungry workaholic while he hates the publicity, they went unphotographed together for nearly 50 days!

If the world has anything to say about it, there is more than enough evidence of trouble in paradise.

If the world has anything to say about it, there is more than enough evidence of trouble in paradise. But that is just the problem, we live in a fallen world so paradise doesn’t exist this side of heaven. In this modern day, we exist in a perfectionistic understanding. Imperfect photos need to be retouched, given the advent of AI, in a few years we may not be watching real people in films. Look at the proliferation on social media of armchair relationship gurus; any sign of weakness or distaste in a partner and it’s on to the next one. If you’re not absolutely 100% happy at all times, there’s someone better out there for you.

Having been married for coming up on 14 very real-life filled years to a very human, flawed man and he to me, I can tell you, marriage is not about perfection. If slammed doors and beleaguered looks are your worst issues, you’re probably doing better than most couples!

Watching documentaries and scrolling through pictures, what I see is two people making a marriage relationship work amidst all of the stress, distractions and temptations life has to offer. It’s real life, a real marriage and if one message from The Greatest Love Story Never Told hits the mark, it’s that people who ‘have it all,’ are maybe more aware of the mirage than the rest of us. The Bible tells us both, that life is but a vapor (James 4:14) but love will last forever (Jeremiah 31:3). Against the backdrop of the smoke and mirrors of the world’s stage, I’m rooting for the Affleck’s love.