The first "Bennifer" period of Ben Affleck's life may be one he'd like to forget — remember when he kissed Jennifer Lopez's famous backside in her "Jenny From the Block" music video?! — but he doesn't look back at it with regret. "There was only one way to handle a situation like that: Go straight through it," the "Argo" director, who is now married to another Jennifer (Garner) and the father of three beautiful kids, tells The Hollywood Reporter.
Although he has redeemed himself from "Gigli"-gate (the 2003 J.Lo project that earned a paltry $7 million at the box office and earned itself a spot at the top of Yahoo! Movies' Bottom Rated Movies of All Time list) and successfully carved out a respectable career as both an actor and director, he hasn't turned his back on his tabloid-fixture past — or the woman responsible for it. In fact, Affleck, 40, admits that he and Lopez still talk.
"We don't have the kind of relationship where she relies on me for advice," he says, "but we do have the kind of relationship where there'll be an e-mail saying, 'Oh, your movie looks great.' I remember when she got 'American Idol.' I said: 'This was really smart. Good luck.' I touch base. I respect her. I like her. She's put up with some stuff that was unfair in her life, and I'm really pleased to see her successful."
The Ben Affleck the tabloids reported on constantly a decade ago after he had gone from dating Gwyneth Paltrow to J.Lo is not who he truly was, insists his childhood pal-turned-Hollywood megastar Matt Damon. "To watch the entire world have the totally wrong idea about somebody you care about and admire was painful, just as his friend," the "Bourne" trilogy actor tells THR. "I can't imagine what it felt like to him. I remember Ben calling and saying: 'I can sell magazines and not movies. I'm in the worst possible place I can be.'"
Clearly, all that has changed in the years since. This Friday, Affleck releases "Argo," a political thriller about the rescue of American diplomats during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, which is already garnering Oscar buzz. Eight years ago after yet another flop with Kevin Smith's "Jersey Girl," Affleck says, "I made the decision: 'I'm never, ever, ever going to do anything where I don't absolutely kill myself to get it right.'"
Do you stay in touch with your exes?