Ben Affleck is a changed man. His willingness to talk about his relationships and past behavior is refreshingly honest.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on March 20, 2020. It has since been updated.
Relationships—the good ones, the bad ones, and the ugly ones—can leave you a changed person. Those who've been through a painful breakup or divorce know how much it takes to get yourself back up on your feet. But there is a pain of another kind. One that triggers regret in those who took their partners for granted and assumed they will stick around forever. Not everyone has the courage to own up to their past mistakes. Ben Affleck is a man with rare courage. He came forward to not just admit his past mistakes but also take ownership for his actions. The actor has been vocal in expressing his journey after his high-profile divorce from Jennifer Garner.
Though the couple was happy in the beginning, Affleck had a hard time coping with his alcohol addiction. Unfortunately, it took a toll on him and his marriage, leading to a divorce in 2018. Although the basis of the divorce was mutual consent, The Good Will Hunting actor considered it his "biggest regret." Speaking to the New York Times, he explained, “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 especially hard for him because he felt he was the reason for the marriage to end, especially because his Garner had patiently supported and waited for him through rehab.
“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.”
However, after the split, the 47-year-old actor finally got a hold of his addiction and knew it was time to get his life back on track. When things began to fall in place, Affleck also found love once again. He is now dating actress Ana de Armas, whom he first met on the sets of Deep Water in 2019. They co-starred as husband and wife, and little did they know that their on-screen romance would spill over to real life.
When Affleck was asked where he saw himself in five years on Good Morning America, he mentioned he wanted to be in a healthy relationship, according to Harper's Bazaar. He said, "Five years from now, Ben Affleck is sober and happy, and sees his kids three and a half days a week, and has made three or four movies that are interesting to him. [And] directed two [movies] that he's hopefully proud of and is in a healthy, stable, loving, committed relationship."
The couple was spotted together more frequently in public after the interview, with one witness saying, "They were beaming. I saw Ana grab Ben's arm as they walked out together, they looked super happy—she's absolutely stunning! I totally think they’re dating," according to Page Six. By the beginning of March 2020, their little vacations to Cuba and Costa Rica and sweet PDA revealed their budding romance.
According to a source who spoke to Hollywood Life, the father-of-three (kids with Garner) was finally in a better place and a lot of his healing was because of de Armas. “Ben has got himself in a way better place physically and emotionally now that he has faced his demons with alcohol. With the recent emotional interviews he has been giving about his past to the world, it really has woken him up more on what is important. And Ana has really helped in the entire process. She really has looked out for him through the entire time, making him accountable for his actions as a friend while they had filmed together,” the source said.
“He became friends with her first, before any romance happened. But they definitely found out fast they had something for each other and he is definitely smitten with her. They both share the same sense of humor and the same work drive. Counter that with the obvious that she is beautiful and talented. They have the most amazing conversations on life and what they want from it. It is just really a nice time for Ben,” they continued. “It is also very refreshing for Ben that he can really do anything with Ana, as they share so many of the same likes and interests. So it makes it all very easy to navigate through to make this new relationship together actually work out for the best. Things are moving very comfortably."