Ben Affleck's Early Life
Ben Affleck was born on August 15, 1972 in Berkeley, California and soon moved to Massachusetts, where his brother Casey (now an Academy Award-winning actor himself) was born. His father struggled with alcoholism while his mother encouraged the brothers to engage with the arts and film.
Affleck was interested in acting and production since he was a child, often auditioning for local commercials and productions with his brother and childhood friend Matt Damon. The family spent a year in Mexico, where he learned Spanish and was one of the stars of the PBS children's series The Voyage of the Mimi at the age of 12. Damon and Affleck eventually moved to New York City in search of better roles and opportunities.
Ben Affleck's Career and Rise to Fame
Affleck began making uncredited and supporting appearances in several projects throughout the early '90s, most notably Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused (1993). His breakthroughs came with starring roles in 1995's Glory Daze and 1997's Chasing Amy, eventually skyrocketing to fame with Good Will Hunting that same year, which he co-write and co-starred in with Damon. The film was a box office smash and won them the Oscar for Best Screenplay, with Affleck still the youngest person to date to win at age 25.
He became a major box office draw thanks to films like Armageddon, Shakespeare in Love (both 1998), Dogma (1999), Pearl Harbor (2001), and Daredevil (2003), but experienced a slump in the mid-aughts. He received acclaim for his comeback with 2006's Hollywoodland and achieved further success with films like He's Just Not That Into You (2009), Gone Girl (2014), The Accountant (2016), The Way Back (2020), and The Tender Bar (2021).
His biggest commercial successes came thanks to his involvement with the DC film universe as Batman, starting in 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, continuing till his 2023 cameos in The Flash. As a director, Affleck made his debut with 2007's Gone Baby Gone, which received acclaim. He also directed 2010's The Town and 2012's Argo, with the latter emerging a huge success and winning the Oscar for Best Picture. He received further acclaim for directing and co-starring in 2023's Air alongside Damon.
Ben Affleck's Personal Life
Affleck's personal life has often been highly publicized and scrutinized, spanning across his efforts as an activist and philanthropist as well as his political views and noted celebrity friendships.
He sporadically dated co-star Gwyneth Paltrow from 1997-2000, TV producer Lindsay Shookus from 2017-19, and Deep Water co-star Ana de Armas from 2020-21. In 2005, he married Jennifer Garner, whom he'd met on some of his previous projects and began dating the year prior. They welcomed children Violet (born 2005), Seraphina (2009), and Samuel (2012). They announced their separation in 2015 and were divorced by 2018, although have remained friends and continue to co-parent their children.
From 2002-04, Affleck was involved in a very public relationship with Gigli co-star Jennifer Lopez, announcing their engagement in November 2002. However, the excessive media attention put a strain on their relationship, leading them to call off the engagement. However, they remained in contact as the years went on and stayed friends before resuming their relationship in April 2021. They were engaged a year later and eloped to Las Vegas in July, with Affleck now the step-father of her twins Max and Emme.
Affleck also suffered a very public battle with addiction, and has been open about his struggle with anxiety and depression, taking antidepressants since the age of 26. He developed a dependency on alcohol in his teens due to his father's ongoing alcoholism, a struggle which continued into his adulthood. He was admitted to in-patient treatment multiple times, primarily through the support of Garner both during and after their marriage. While he now embraces sobriety, he refrains from discussing the matter to a large extent in the public eye.
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