Ben Affleck Does Damage Control After Garner Comments

'I would never want my kids to think I would ever say a bad word about their mom'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2021 9:03 AM CST
Updated Dec 16, 2021 11:00 AM CST
Ben Affleck on Garner Marriage: 'We Tried,' but 'I Was Trapped'
Ben Affleck arrives at the premiere of "The Tender Bar" on Sunday at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Update: Ben Affleck is walking back comments he made about his former marriage to Jennifer Garner. "I would never want my kids to think I would ever say a bad word about their mom," he told Jimmy Kimmel Wednesday night, per People. Among other things Affleck suggested earlier this week that his marriage to Garner worsened his drinking. “I don’t believe that," Affleck told Kimmel. "It’s the exact opposite of who I am, what I believe." He blamed "clickbait" for the controversy, per Page Six, saying that people on social media cherry-picked comments he made to Howard Stern to make him look like the “worst, most insensitive, stupid, awful guy.” Our original story from Dec. 15 follows:

Ben Affleck has mostly left the past in the past, as evidenced by his renewed romantic relationship with Jennifer Lopez. It seems, though, that he's still getting some of that past out of his system, including via an interview with Howard Stern this week. The 49-year-old actor appeared on Stern's SiriusXM show on Tuesday, revealing more about his 13-year marriage to actress Jennifer Garner and the "horrible" media reports that swirled around their 2018 divorce. While People notes that the two are now on "good terms," even trick-or-treating together with their kids on Halloween, Affleck's chat with Stern shows it was pretty rough sailing at times. Some key quotes from that conversation, per Yahoo Entertainment and Vanity Fair:

  • What caused the breakup: "We grew apart. We had a marriage that didn't work. This happens, with somebody that I love and respect, but to whom I shouldn't be married any longer. Ultimately, we tried. We tried, we tried because we had kids."
  • Why it was for the best: "We probably would've ended up at each other's throats," Affleck said of what would've happened if he'd stuck it out with Garner. "I'd probably still be drinking. ... I was trapped. ... What I did was drink a bottle of scotch and fall asleep on the couch, which turned out not to be the solution."
  • His relationship with alcohol today: In short, there is none. "It was the worst day of my life," he told Stern of the day in 2018 he decided to start going to rehab. "But since that day ... I have not ever wanted to drink once."
  • On tabloid stories about the split: "During the divorce, they printed f---ing horrible lies. Horrible mean lies." Pressed by Stern on what those lies were, Affleck noted, "I don't even want to give voice to it. Anything you read about that was bulls---."
  • Acknowledging the rough road: "We did our best. Did we have moments of tension? Did we have disagreements over custody? Was stuff difficult for us? Did we get angry? Yes, but fundamentally it was always underpinned with a respect. I knew she was a good mom. I always hoped she knew I was a good dad. I knew I was."
  • Mental state: Affleck told Stern he feels "very lucky" to have found the right antidepressants to help him handle depression, but that he's "never once" felt suicidal.
  • On being a dad: "My responsibility to my children is my highest responsibility I have. I'm not doing anything that's painful or destructive to them if I can help it. That being said, I know that my life affects them."
(More Ben Affleck stories.)

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