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Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck's 20-year relationship timeline: splits, reunion, wedding, divorce speculation, and more

The Gigli co-stars have a love story 20 years in the making

Beatriz Colon
Beatriz Colon - New York
New York WriterNew York
Updated: May 22, 2024
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True to their Hollywood nature, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck have a years-in-the-making romance straight out of a movie script.

So ingrained is their romance in Hollywood history, that they've even been credited for popularizing portmanteau nicknames for couples, after their Jersey Girl director Kevin Smith officially coined them Bennifer (and the likes of KimYe, Brangelina, and Speidi followed).

However, much as they appeared destined to grow old together after reuniting 20 years after calling off their wedding, just two years after finally making it down the aisle, reports have swirled that there's tension in their marriage, leading netizens to wonder if the two are headed for divorce.

Below, take a trip down memory lane and revisit the actors' love story, from their first meeting, to when the newest split rumors began.

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez during Gigli California Premiere at Mann National in Westwood, California, United States - July 27, 2003© Getty
Gigli premiere, July 27, 2003

When Jen and Ben Met

Jennifer and Ben first met in early 2002, when they were cast in the romantic crime comedy Gigli –– which bombed at the box office when it was released the following year.

MORE: Ben Affleck hints at status of his marriage to Jennifer Lopez in new photos

At the time, the actress was married to her second husband, Cris Judd; their marriage lasted from 2001 to 2003, and came after her 11-month marriage to Cuban-born actor Ojani Noa, which ended in 1998.

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez are seen on August 02, 2002 in Los Angeles, California© Getty
August 2, 2002

Friends to Lovers

Jennifer officially filed for divorce from Cris in July of 2002, citing an early June separation in the documents, and she and Ben began dating shortly after.

During their first joint interview together in 2003 to promote Gigli, after they'd confirmed their romance, Dateline's Pat O'Brien asked when the two fell in love, to which Jennifer replied: "You can't pinpoint it! It was like, we became friends first, that is the honest to God truth."

MORE: Jennifer Lopez makes cryptic comment about trust amid divorce rumors

Ben added: "Yeah it is the truth. The scenes were really good," and Jennifer quipped: "It felt like we had good chemistry."

A New York City taxi advertising the engagement of singer Jennifer Lopez and actor Ben Affleck is shown November 6, 2002 in New York City© Getty
NYC cab announcing the Bennifer engagement, November 6, 2002

Their "Traditional" Engagement

Ben proposed in November of 2002 with a six-carat pink diamond ring, and Jennifer later told Diane Sawyer of the proposal: "[It was] traditional, but also in a very spectacular way, as of course Ben would do it," adding: "It was very, very beautiful."

MORE: Jennifer Lopez gets emotional as she speaks about her engagement ring on Jimmy Kimmel

Ben Affleck kisses co-star singer Jennifer Lopez during the filming of "Jersey Girl" November 7, 2002 in New York City© Getty
Filming Jersey Girl, November 7, 2002

Tabloid Frenzy

The Bennifer romance peaked just as the Y2K tabloid frenzy did, and both of them have credited the intense scrutiny and speculation into their relationship as part of what led to their break-up.

During a January 2021 appearance on The Hollywood Reporter podcast, Ben recalled: "People were so [expletive] mean about her — sexist, racist. Ugly, vicious [expletive] was written about her in ways that if you wrote it now you would literally be fired for saying those things you said."

MORE: Jennifer Garner visits ex Ben Affleck amid divorce rumors

Jennifer also reflected on their break-up during a recent interview with Variety promoting her semi-autobiographical film This Is Me… Now: A Love Story. "Our relationship crumbled under the weight of the pressure," she said, adding: "We lost a sense of ourselves, and we needed to separate because we didn't know how to survive it. I had to figure myself out, and he had to figure himself out."

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are seen on September 10, 2003 in Los Angeles, California, the day they announced they were postponing their September 14, 2003 wedding© Getty
The couple on the day they called off their wedding, September 10, 2003

Wedding Postponed –– and Called Off

In September of 2003, just days before they were set to tie the knot in Santa Barbara on Sunday, September 14, Jennifer and Ben issued a statement announcing they had decided to postpone the wedding. "Due to the excessive media attention surrounding our wedding, we have decided to postpone the date."

They even shared: "When we found ourselves seriously contemplating hiring three separate 'decoy brides' at three different locations, we realized that something was awry."

MORE: Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck put on a united front as they are photographed for the first time since split rumors

"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."

A photo of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner wearing black evening wear© Getty
Ben moved on with Jennifer Garner, with whom he has three kids

The Break Up

Jennifer and Ben initially briefly split right when they called off their wedding, and though they had made amends, they officially broke up in January of 2004.

MORE: Why Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck have not been photographed together for over six weeks

A rep for Jennifer said at the time: "Jennifer Lopez has ended her engagement to Ben Affleck. At this difficult time, we ask that you respect her privacy," with Ben's adding: "I am not going to confirm anything about his personal life. We don't want to get dragged into quicksand. Everybody wants a war. It's not happening from our side."

jennifer lopez with twins max and emme© Instagram
Jennifer had twins Max and Emme with Marc Anthony

Going Their Separate Ways

In their almost 20 years apart, both of them married and/or dated different people, and had children of their own. 

MORE: Jennifer Lopez and Emme Muñiz step out in matching baggy jeans

Jennifer was married to Marc Anthony, with whom she welcomed twins Max and Emme, 16, from 2004 to 2014, while Ben was married to Jennifer Garner, with whom he welcomed kids Violet, 18, Fin, 15, and Samuel, 12, from 2005 to 2018. Jennifer was also briefly engaged to Alex Rodríguez, while Ben dated Ana de Armas.

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez© Stephane Cardinale - Corbis
Their second red carpet debut, September 10, 2021

The Reunion

Though they reportedly remained friends through the years, Jennifer and Ben officially reunited romantically in April of 2021, when they were spotted spending time together on multiple occasions.

MORE: Jennifer Lopez hints at huge news for twins Emme and Max's future: 'I'm excited'

That July, they went Instagram official when Jennifer shared a tribute to Ben in honor of his 52nd birthday, and in September, they made their second red carpet debut as a couple again during the Venice Film Festival.

J.Lo's insight into wedding with Ben© Instagram

Official For Real

Ben proposed for a second time in April of 2022, one year after they first rekindled their romance. This time around, he proposed not with pink diamond but with a green, eight-carat diamond, one of the most rare diamond hues in the world.

Rather than a postponed wedding, of course, they had not one but two ceremonies, first with an impromptu Las Vegas wedding in July, followed by their official wedding weekend in Georgia in August.

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