Bennifer was the celebrity couple of the 2000s, but behind the scenes, Ben Affleck says that Jennifer Lopez experienced racism and sexism while they dated. For those who don’t remember, Affleck and Lopez dated from 2002 to 2004. The couple made headlines when Affleck starred as Lopez’s love interest in the music video for her 2002 song, “Jenny From the Block.”
The two got engaged that same year, with a wedding set for 2003. However, Lopez and Affleck never walked down the aisle. After they postponed their wedding, the couple split in early 2004. Since then, Lopez and Affleck have remained mum about their time together. But in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday, January 14, Affleck opened up about the “racism” and “sexism” his then-girlfriend experienced when they were together.
“People were so fucking mean about her—sexist, racist. Ugly, vicious shit was written about her in ways that if you wrote it now you would literally be fired for saying those things you said,” Affleck said. “Now it’s like, she’s lionized and respected for the work she did, where she came from, what she accomplished—as well she fucking should be! I would say you have a better shot, coming from the Bronx, of ending up as like [Justice Sonia] Sotomayor on the Supreme Court than you do of having Jennifer Lopez’s career and being who she is at 50 years old today.”
Affleck also opened up about what it was like to be a tabloid sensation with Lopez when the two dated in the early aughts. “You know, there’s always a story of the month, and me dating Jennifer Lopez happened to be that tabloid story at the time when that business grew exponentially,” he said. “Still, to this day, [some] will go, ‘I see you out there in the paparazzi and the pictures!’ It’s like, ‘Yes, I left my house and took out the trash. It’s not like I’m trying to—’ And it’s still like, ‘You were taking a pap walk!'” he added. “As if, if you leave your house, you’re only doing so in the hope that you could be so lucky that you could end up as the sixth item in The Daily Mail. It’s absurd!”
Lopez and Affleck have both moved on since their relationship. Lopez went on to marry Marc Anthony in 2004 before their divorce in 2014. The former couple share two kids: 12-year-old twins Emme and Maximilian. Affleck, for his part, also went on to get married and divorced. The actor wed Jennifer Garner (with whom he shares kids Violet, 15, Samuel, 8, and Seraphina, 12) in 2005 before their split in October 2018.