This is how you've been freshly set up to hate Jennifer Lopez.

Once upon a time Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez were living out a fairytale romance.

 In the early 2000s they were the celebrity IT couple we all adored. After meeting on the set of the movie Gigli they soon fell in love and we fell for it all. A gal from The Bronx and a guy who grew up on the outskirts of Boston both made it big in Hollywood and we bought into their rags-to-riches love story hook, line and sinker.

Then in 2003 the dream crumbled and they went their separate ways.

However, almost twenty years later it was clear the romance still burned bright when whispers of a romantic reconciliation started circulating in 2021. Tongues started wagging when onlookers spotted the pair on what looked to be a romantic vacation in Big Sky, Montana.

Weeks later a source told Us Weekly that Ben and Jen had "always loved each other" and that those close to the pair "won’t be surprised if they end up together." At this point it was all semantics, but the public lapped it up, clearly eager for these rumours to come true.

It was our early 2000s celebrity romance fantasy getting a second shot and we weren't going to let this one go. By mid-2021 every media outlet was sharing photos of the 2.0 couple canoodling, social media feeds were buzzing with excitement of the reconciliation and Lopez seemed to be having a lot of fun alluding to her old/new relationship.

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez at the 81st Golden Globe Awards. Image: Getty.


This resurgence in popularity of Bennifer was coinciding with some pretty major professional moments for Lopez herself who was enjoying a return to the spotlight with big projects on the boil. 

Not only did she cultivate a huge amount of social impressions after re-wearing her infamous green Versace dress on a Milan Fashion Week runway but she was releasing new music, working on a world tour and a documentary.

In September 2021 the duo hit the red carpet together at the Venice International Film Festival, this time with Lopez by Affleck's side to support his new film The Last Duel


They were enigmatic on the red carpet and it was clear that they were promotional dynamite for each other. As they were falling in love again, the world watched on and hyped up their respective professional endeavours. It's just about as close as you'll get to a Hollywood fairytale and the media and public were falling for it all. 

How could you not?

In 2022 Lopez starred in a new romantic comedy called Marry Me and to celebrate the release she put out a remix version of her song "On My Way". The video clip was directed by Affleck and she very kindly shared it with the whole world while commenting on how struck she is by finding love with him again after all these years.

"I am going to share something very special and personal with you that normally that I would only share with my inner circle," she wrote in her official newsletter. "It’s an early Valentine’s Day present from Ben. Watching it made me think about the journey of true love, it’s unexpected twists and turns, and that when it’s real, it actually can last forever. This seriously melted my heart."

By 2022 their journey took an exciting turn when it was announced they were engaged again. In July of that year they bundled up their kids and got married in a low-key celebration at The Little White Chapel in Las Vegas.

"We did it. Love is beautiful. Love is kind. And it turns out love is patient. Twenty years patient," Lopez said at the time.


Image: OnTheJLo.

It was relaxed, free from airs and graces, it felt like the perfect high note after all these years.

And then came The Ick.

A month later they were married in a larger more lavish ceremony at Affleck's Georgia home which is for all intents and purposes a former plantation...not a great look. Then leaked footage from the nuptials showed Lopez (complete with a microphone and backup dancers) performing an exclusive song for her new husband with guests watching on. It ignited something underneath the online community with many calling the act "cringe". 


Had the shine already rubbed off their fairytale reconciliation? If the headlines and media coverage were anything to go by then — yes.

All of a sudden the script was switched with a number of tabloid publications running a similar storyline. 

The narrative had decidedly become about Affleck causing some sort of riff in their relationship. This story reached a fever pitch around the time of the 2023 Grammy Awards when the actor made headlines for his slightly unamused expressions which caused many to believe there was already trouble in paradise.

however bad of a day you’re having, I promise you’re not as miserable as Ben Affleck at the Grammys right now pic.twitter.com/OQxA54H9P1

— Spencer Althouse (@SpencerAlthouse) February 6, 2023

To clear up any rumours of unhappiness in the marital home Affleck joked with his friend Jimmy Kimmel during a taping of his late night show when he said he simply has "a very unhappy-looking resting face."

Now in 2024 there's a new villain in the relationship and the pendulum has swung out of Lopez's favour. 

In recent weeks the tabloid rumour mill has been in full force with many outlets speculating that the couple are headed for divorce. The reason? Apparently Lopez's full work schedule is getting in the way of the marriage. Yes a highly misogynist narrative but one that has stuck in media circles nonetheless. 

"The writing is on the wall—it’s over. They’re headed for a divorce—and for once, [Ben’s] not to blame!" read a report from InTouch. "He’s focusing on his work and his kids now. Ben already moved out and they’ll likely have to sell the dream house they spent two years searching for. They’ll never stop loving each other, but she can’t control him, and he can’t change her."


Us Weekly also set out to place blame on the alleged relationship breakdown on Lopez's upcoming world tour.

"Jen and Ben are having issues in their marriage," said an insider source who also added that things started heading south "a few months ago as Jen had started ramping up work commitments and prepping for her tour."

These reports were quickly followed up by online chatter with many commenters noticing that the couple hadn't been seen together on a red carpet (a place they weren't shy of flaunting their love) for some time. She walked the 2024 Met Gala red carpet solo and Affleck was nowhere to be seen at the premiere of Lopez's new film Atlas.

Over on social media Lopez's public image hasn't been fairing much better than the tabloid headlines with various posts alluding to her perceived demeanour coming through thick and fast.

@oliverlea98 #stitch with @Anika Reed ♬ original sound - Oliver

But public conjecture and tabloid coverage aside, Affleck and Lopez have put on a united front with the pair seen looking happy together out in public as recently as this past week. Both with weddings rings on and looking like a regular couple.

So is there actually any legitimacy to the divorce rumours or is this just seriously conflated story for public enjoyment?


The thing is, everyone was so happy to buy into the romance and fairytale of Bennifer 2.0 that as soon as the happy ending came people seemed to lose interest. As we all know from a good rom-com, nothing is ever perfect because where's the story in that?

We all know the public has a pretty good knack for building a story that suits a particular narrative (ahem, Princess Kate) and that's exactly what has happened here. We've been given the Bennifer fairytale on a platter before watching it get knocked down to size. First Affleck was the villain then came Lopez as the villain. Now throw a divorce rumour into the mix and this whole love story has gotten a lot more juicy for tabloids and social media feeds.

Listen to The Spill hosts discuss the photo that will change how you think of Jennifer Lopez. 

But what if none of it is true? What if this is just a couple going through the normal ups and downs like anyone else would in a marriage except this time those issues are magnified for public fodder?

While we will never know exactly what is going on behind closed doors with Affleck and Lopez, it's important to note that not all narratives we read are entrenched in reality.

However, their love story transpires we know that not all fairytales have to be perfect and not all headlines are factual.

Feature Image: Getty, Canva.

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