WHY MICHAEL VARTAN'S STILL HEARTBROKEN OVER JEN

While Jennifer Garner's star is on the rise with a new film Elektra and a red-hot romance with Ben Affleck, her ex-beau and Alias co-star, Michael Vartan, can't get over their brutal breakup. Even worse, he's still having to film steamy love scenes with Jen -- the woman who friends say he asked to marry, but who instead dumped him in June 2004, before taking up with her Daredevil co-star Ben Affleck just weeks later!

SPARKS FLEW

Jen, 32, met Vartan on the set of their ABC hit series Alias in 2001. Although Garner had been married the previous year -- to her husband, Felicity star Scott Foley, 32 -- sources say she and Vartan clicked immediately. In April 2003, Jen and Foley split. A month later, she was stepping out with Vartan. And shortly after they came out as a couple. Then, just one year later, Vartan found himself in the unfortunate position Foley had been in the year before: Jen left him in June and by August was dating Affleck (reportedly she developed a crush on him when they worked together on the film Daredevil back in 2002).

Jen isn't the first woman Michael's asked to marry. The French-born Vartan was engaged to a woman named Shannon Gleason for ten years before they split five years ago. "Michael would rather be with one woman he loves than be part of the Hollywood dating scene," says a friend. In contrast to Ben, who spends his free time playing poker and partying, Michael plays guitar, paints and has a passion for hockey. "He's a sincere, quiet, very kind guy who is loved by everyone," his friend says.

STILL IN LOVE WITH JEN

While Jen's moved on, Michael can't even imagine a new romance right now, according to his pals. One insider who saw Vartan at Justin Timberlake's L.A. club Chi on Jan. 11, tells Star that Vartan had girls coming up to him all night, but he showed no interest.

"Michael and some guy friends were seated next to Timberlake and some of his friends, so there were girls all over them," says the insider. "Actresses, models and other gorgeous women, but Michael wasn't interested and didn't take any of the phone numbers they offered him." Though it's been several months since the split, Vartan's pals say he's still hurting. "He was devastated when she called it quits," the insider says. He'd asked her to marry him, so you know he was in love, claims a friend. What's worse is that Vartan and Garner still have to work together. "There are times when he's had to kiss her during a scene, and it makes the crew cringe because they know how much he still loves her," says the friend. The insider says, "Having to work alongside her on Alias is one of the hardest things he's ever done. And there isn't a day that goes by that his heart doesn't break knowing she's leaving the set to go home to Ben Affleck."


-- MAGGIE HARBOUR

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