Ben Affleck would like to clear a few things up.
Earlier this week, the Oscar winner appeared on Howard Stern and gave one of the most candid interviews of his career.
Affleck has struggled with alcohiolism throughout his adult life, and at one point in the interview, he mused on the circumstances that might have contributed to his most recent relapses.
And in doing so, he learned a hard lesson about attempting to have nuanced conversations in the public sphere in 2021.
“I’d probably still be drinking. It’s part of why I started drinking … because I was trapped,” he admitted.
“I was like ‘I can’t leave ’cause of my kids, but I’m not happy. What do I do?’ What I did was drink a bottle of scotch and fall asleep on the couch, which turned out not to be the solution.”
Now, in the context of the interview, it’s clear that Ben was saying he was in an unhappy situation and because he felt trapped, he turned to alcohol for an escape.
But because “Ben Affleck Confirms That Alcoholism Is a Complex Disease With Myriad Contributing Factors” doesn’t make for a very eye-catching headline, many media outlets chose to interpret his comments in the least generous way possible.
The most common misinterpretation was that Affleck had blamed Garner for his drinking problem.
That’s in no way consistent with what he said of course.
But thankfully, Ben is promoting a new movie at the moment, which means he’s giving lots of interviews, which means he was able to set the record straight on any even larger platform.
The next stop on Affleck’s The Tender Bar promo tour was Jimmy Kimmel Live, where the actor clarified that he in no way intended to blame Garner for his addiction.
“I would never want my kids to think I would ever say a bad word about their mom,” Ben explained.
Affleck complained that the media had “taken the conversation” and “made it seem as if I was doing the exact opposite of what I said”
“I had gone on and said how much we respect each other and cared about each other and cared about our kids and put them first,” he said.
Affleck added that the out-of-context quote that made the rounds on social media “just made me out to be the worst, most insensitive, stupid awful guy.”
Ben said that while he’s gotten used to the idea of his interpersonal drama becoming tabloid fodder and moments from his life being repurposed as memes, he cannot allow the idea that he gleefully slandered his ex to be perpetuated.
“I have to draw a line, and be clear,” he told Kimmel.
“That’s not true. I don’t believe that. It’s the exact opposite of who I am, what I believe.”
Anyone who listens to Affleck’s interview with Stern in its entirety — or even reads quotes from it aside from the one that made all the headlines — can see that Ben is right to be upset.
“The truth was, we took our time. We made the decision … We grew apart,” Affleck explained of his divorce.
“We had a marriage that didn’t work, this happens, with somebody that I love and respect, but to whom I shouldn’t be married any longer,” he continued.
“Ultimately, we tried, we tried, we tried, because we had kids. Both of us felt like we don’t want this to be the model that our kids see of marriage.”
Hopefully, this matter can be put to rest, especially since Ben never did anything close to what his critics so eagerly accused him of.
As for making candid moments from Ben’s life into hilarious memes — well, we don’t think he can ask us, in good conscience, to stop doing that.
The internet would never recover.