Ben Affleck - Biography

"I'm always described as 'cocksure' or 'with a swagger', and that bears no resemblance to who I feel like inside," Hollywood heart-throb Ben Affleck once commented. "I feel plagued by insecurity."

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Horoscope : Capricorn

These days, though, with his asking price at $10 million per movie, an Oscar and a settled family existence, the actor must be feeling his life has shaped up rather well.

Benjamin Geza Affleck was born on August 15, 1972, in Berkeley, California. A year later his family moved to a working class neighbourhood in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Here, his father Tim worked as a mechanic, a bartender and a janitor at Harvard University – a job which would later inspire parts of the film Good Will Hunting, which Ben co-wrote.

Affleck senior's alcoholism put a strain on the family, however, and Ben's parents divorced before his 12th birthday. Father and son have since formed a solid friendship.

Ben caught the acting bug early on, appearing in ads for Burger King and public TV project The Voyage Of The Mimi. Convinced by his mother Chris, a schoolteacher, that college was the best plan, he enrolled at the University of Vermont. He lasted just one semester, however, before decamping to Los Angeles.

On the West Coast he enrolled in college again, but soon dropped out to focus on acting. He moved into an apartment with childhood pal Matt Damon and the two set about auditioning while developing a storyline Matt had started.

The script later sold for $600,000 and became the movie Good Will Hunting, which earned Ben, then 25, an Oscar.

After that, Ben was offered nearly every role in town. He said: "There's no shortage of parts for a leading man between 25 and 35; probably 80 percent of the movies are written with that guy as the protagonist.

"So I get comedies and action-adventure movies, superhero movies, weird independent movies, bad independent movies, good independent movies.

"I even get scripts where the lead is a black woman, but, 'We can change it and rewrite it if you're interested'."

Despite splashing out on million-dollar homes in Hollywood and New York's trendy Tribeca neighbourhood, Ben insisted he was still the guy from Massachusetts who loved his mum, Subway sandwiches, and hanging out with friends including his brother, actor Casey Affleck.

Meanwhile, his love life had become tabloid fodder as he had high-profile romances with his Bounce co-star Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez. Although, he presented the sultry Latina star with a hefty pink solitaire engagement ring the two eventually called it a day in early 2004.

"I should never have got engaged," he explained later. "I had to smile for the cameras but really I was in turmoil."

The angst was because he was becoming known more for his A-list girlfriends than his work. Films such as Gigli and Jersey Girl didn't fare well at the box office.  He then made comic-book action thriller Daredevil which was also poorly received.

It's doubtful he regrets making that movie, however. On set he began a relationship with co-star Jennifer Garner. This time round he wasn't about to make the same mistakes and kept their love life as low-key as possible. With none of the fanfare which accompanied his engagement to J Lo, he secretly wed the actress in June 2005.

When the intimate nuptials were revealed to the public, there was another surprise. A spokesperson confirmed the bride was pregnant with the couple's first child. On December 1 of that year, Jennifer presented the actor with a daughter, Violet Anne Affleck.

In 2006, Ben turned the tables on his flagging career with a portrayal of Superman actor George Reeves in Hollywoodland – walking away with the best actor award at the Venice Film Festival. He began directing his own movies, winning acclaim and yet more awards for thrillers such as The Town and Argo.

"I made the choice to change the kind of projects I wanted to work on," he said. And fatherhood seemed to have the right influence: "My daughter is going to have my name attached to her name, and I want her to like (what I do) even if it means that I am doing theatre or small character roles or directing."

In January 2009, Violet was joined by their second baby, Seraphina Rose Elizabeth. The family grew again with the arrival of Samuel born February, 2012.