Jennifer Lopez & Ben Affleck Broke Up Nearly 20 Years Ago—Here’s the Real Reason Why

Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez
Photo: MEGA.

Now that they’re “hanging out” again, many are wondering why Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck broke up in the first place. The good news is, while fans may not have gotten the full picture of what caused “Bennifer’s” split back in 2004, we finally know the real reason behind their breakup today. Keep on reading below to learn why.

When did Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck start dating?

Long before there was “Kimye” or “J-Rod,” there was Bennifer. Fans and tabloids alike came up with their couple name—the first celebrity portmanteau of its kind—when Lopez and Affleck went public with their relationship in early 2003.

The high-profile pair’s confirmation of their relationship came after months of dating speculation, as the couple had sparked romance rumors ever since meeting on the set of their film, Gigli, in 2002. At the time, however, Lopez was married to dancer Cris Judd. The “If You Had My Love” singer eventually filed for divorce from Judd in June 2002, just nine months after their wedding.

When did Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck get engaged?

Affleck secretly proposed to Lopez in November 2002 with a 6.1-carat pink diamond Harry Winston ring, worth an estimated $3.2 million. The couple planned to tie the knot in Santa Barbara in September 2003, but shocked everyone when they decided to postpone their nuptials just days before the wedding due to the “excessive media attention” they faced.

“We have decided to postpone the date,” they confirmed in a statement at the time. “When we found ourselves seriously contemplating hiring three separate ‘decoy brides’ at three different locations, we realised that something was awry. We began to feel that the spirit of what should have been the happiest day of our lives could be compromised. We felt what should have been a joyful and sacred day could be spoiled for us, our families and our friends.”

Why did Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck break up?

Bennifer called off their engagement and split for good in January 2004—just months after postponing their wedding due to concerns over constant media attention. A rep for Lopez confirmed the split at the time, saying, “At this difficult time, we ask that you respect her privacy.”

According to one insider who spoke to People at the time, the pressure of their highly-publicized relationship wore on the couple—and after postponing their wedding, Affleck got cold feet. “As the [wedding] date got closer, reality set in that this may not be the person Ben wants to spend the rest of his life with,” the source said. “He started getting scared…What’s worse—marrying someone you don’t want to marry or calling off the wedding before it happens?” Lopez gave [Affleck] ultimatums. He never followed through. She finally realized they were never going to get married.”

Affleck later admitted that he and Lopez were “too accessible” during their relationship. “I think Jen and I made a mistake in that we fell in love, we were excited and maybe too accessible,” he explained in a 2008 Latina interview. “I don’t think either of us anticipated the degree to which it would take on a world of its own.”

Lopez felt similarly. “We didn’t try to have a public relationship,” she told People in March 2016. “We just happened to be together at the birth of the tabloids, and it was like, ‘Oh my God.’ It was just a lot of pressure. I think different time, different thing, who knows what could’ve happened? But there was a genuine love there.”

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