For Garner, it was more important that he clean up and become a father she could trust with her children than finalize the divorce immediately.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on October 6, 2021. It has since been updated.
Some love stories live on even after they have ended. Once you have been married to someone, have lived several years with them, and have children with them, even if you go separate ways later, there is a shared past that may never fade away. So, when actors Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck decided to end their marriage and go separate ways, their love and respect for each other did not dim. It has carried on even four years after they separated.
They chose the day after their 10th anniversary in 2015 to announce that their journey as a married couple has come to an end, according to Vanity Fair. While it is considered a long marriage by Hollywood standards, she had believed it would last longer. The West Virginian Garner never wanted her family to go through the pains of being separated.
"It was a real marriage," Garner tells Vanity Fair. "It wasn’t for the cameras. And it was a huge priority for me to stay in it. And that did not work."
On another occasion, the mother-of-three confessed, "I would not have chosen this life for myself or for my kids. I would not choose to be single or be in this position. It’s something that we are working through. I haven’t been on a date and I am not interested in dating," she told news.com.au two years after the split. "People want to set me up and I am just like, 'No thank you!'"
Despite announcing their split to the world, the 13 Going on 30 actress wasn't one to shy away from a rough patch in her marriage. She was ready to wait it out. She has done everything possible to maintain the family, so they spend their holidays together. They do this so their three kids, Violet, Seraphina, and Sam, can have both the parents around.
"I didn’t marry the big fat movie star; I married him," Garner told Vanity Fair. "And I would go back and remake that decision. I ran down the beach to him, and I would again. You can’t have these three babies and so much of what we had."
Garner, who supported Affleck even through his alcohol addiction, said, "He’s the love of my life. What am I going to do about that? He’s the most brilliant person in any room, the most charismatic, the most generous. He’s just a complicated guy. I always say, ‘When his sun shines on you, you feel it.’ But when the sun is shining elsewhere, it’s cold. He can cast quite a shadow.'"
She wanted him to heal, get healthy and sober before they arrived at the discussion about divorce and custody of their children. She waited patiently for the man she had given her heart to get better and ready to move on. In fact, the divorce wasn't finalized until November 2018.
In 2018, a source revealed to US Weekly, "Jen wanted to give Ben the time and opportunity to work on his health and sobriety … she isn’t in a rush. Jen just isn’t willing to settle the custody issues until she’s 100 percent certain that he’s clean. She’ll wait for him to prove he is taking it very seriously."
And, her efforts were appreciated by her former husband greatly. "He is very appreciative of Jen being so supportive and giving him a chance to get better," another insider told US Weekly. "She has always been there for him and continues to be."
The parents-of-three are no longer romantically involved with each other but they continue to be co-parents to their children in the best way possible. Affleck, in return, not only acknowledges her support but also how important she is to his life.
"She’s wonderful. Somebody’s the mother of your kids, they’re going to be the most important, central person in your life, and that’s good," he said in an interview to Today.
The Batman actor, who is now dating Jennifer Lopez, also added that the focus of his life was fatherhood. "I hope I’m a pretty good dad. I certainly try very hard. I’m lucky they’ve got a great mom, and she helps out a great deal with making sure that we co-parent in as good a way as possible. It’s what makes me happy and the rest of the stuff kind of follows," he said.