Why Ben Affleck ‘Initiated’ Separation From Jennifer Lopez

Someone didn’t get the memo. At a May 22 press conference for her new Netflix film, Atlas, in Mexico City, Jennifer Lopez was caught off guard when a reporter asked whether the rumors about trouble in her two-year marriage to Ben Affleck were “real.” Flustered, the 54-year-old brushed off the question, playfully scolding, “You know better than that.”

That wasn’t a no, J. Lo! Though fans celebrated Bennifer 2.0, Ben, 51, and Jennifer — who reunited 20 years after they first dated — the pair couldn’t sustain the fairy tale. Now, sources exclusively tell In Touch it was three-time rehab vet Ben who pumped the brakes — in part for self-preservation — by moving out of the couple’s house into a $100K-a-month rental near his ex-wife, Jennifer Garner, and their three kids.

“At the end of the day, Ben has to protect himself, and that’s why he initiated the separation,” says an insider. “He’s scared if they stay together, he could seriously self-destruct.”

The Price of Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck’s Fame

The pressure was on from the start — and Ben was wary of repeating history. As he explained in the February doc The Greatest Love Story Never Told, he blamed fame for the 2003 demise of their first go-round. “When Jen and I broke up before, the catalyst for that was this massive amount of scrutiny around our private life,” he shared. “I had a very firm sense of boundaries around the press, while Jen, I don’t think, objected to it the way I did.” Yet feeling he was with his soulmate, the Oscar winner set aside his fears, and the pair packed on the PDA and gushed about each other on red carpets.

“He was happy and convinced he’d finally gotten what he wanted at long last,” says the insider. But while the chemistry with the mom of two was white-hot, so was the glare of the spotlight. “For a while, Ben got swept up in it,” the source adds. Soon, however, he realized that he and his new wife weren’t as compatible as he thought. “Her obsession with the limelight and need to parade their love around really didn’t sit right with Ben.” Tellingly, he was not happy when J. Lo pulled out love letters he’d written her for the documentary’s cameras.


To be fair, Ben is no stranger to courting attention. Early in the pandemic, for example, he and then-girlfriend Ana de Armas would take daily walks, clearly posing for waiting photographers. The problem is the “On the Floor” singer was in overdrive.

“It was just too much to deal with,” says the insider. “Especially for a guy in recovery.”

Ben Affleck’s Crisis Point

The Argo star has been brutally honest about the effect his alcoholism had on his relationship with Jennifer Garner. “What happened was that I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart,” he told The New York Times, adding, “My drinking, of course, created more marital problems.”

The insider says that in addition to protecting himself, Ben is determined not to put J. Lo through the same misery (who can forget Jen Garner driving him to rehab in 2018?). “There’s a side of Ben that feels guilty and sorry that he didn’t identify their issues sooner,” says the insider. “J. Lo deserves better too. He feels badly that she’s dealing with this and that he’s not been able to give her what she wants either.”

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