If you’ve followed his career with any interest, then you’re probably aware that Ben Affleck has struggled with alcoholism for much of his adult life.
These days, he says he’s sworn off the hooch for good, and we applaud him for this remarkable achievement.
There are many factors that might have contributed to Affleck’s alcoholism — genetics, issues with emotional regulation, the fact that he’s from Boston (just kidding, Beantown!).
But many feel that in his new interview with Howard Stern, Affleck unfairly blamed his troubles with booze on his ex-wife, Jennifer Garner.
“I’d probably still be drinking. It’s part of why I started drinking … because I was trapped,” Affleck said when Stern questioned him about his first marriage.
“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, we feel it’s pretty clear that Affleck wasn’t blaming Garner for his addiction, so much as he was explaining that the feeling of being “trapped” in an unhappy situation was causing him seek solace in the company of Johnnie Walker.
Despite rumors that Garner divorced Affleck because of his drinking, the Oscar winner — who appeared on Stern to promote his new film The Tender Bar — says the reality of the situation was far more complicated than the tabloids made it seem.
“The truth was, we took our time, we made the decision … We grew apart,” he said.
“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,” Affleck 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.”
These days, of course, Affleck is back together with Jennifer Lopez, which is one of the few developments of the Pandemic Era that everyone can get behind.
(Well, everyone except for Alex Rodriguez.)
Insiders say both parties have never been happier, and there have been no recent reports of Affleck falling off the wagon.
Although we’re sure Ben would be the first to emphasize that his sobriety is less of a challenge these days not because his current partner is superior to any of the previous ones, but because he’s generally in a happier, healthier place in his life.
Affleck’s career is on fire at the moment (his role as a boozy count in The Last Duel has garnered considerable Oscar buzz), and it’s easy to forget that he weathered a string of flops and premature “has-been” chatter not all that long ago.
The actor admitted to Stern that the daily criticism he endured in those days had a negative effect on his emotional state, and he shared an anecdote that illustrated his favorite coping mechanism.
Ben recalled that prior to one of his SNL hosting gigs, he caught wind of the fact that a male cast member on the show had taken a strong disliking to him
“There’s an actor on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ I’ve hosted a few times, I know the guy talks s— about me all the time because everyone tells me, ‘This guy thinks you’re an a——, this guy f—ing hates you.’ I’m like, alright, it happens,” Affleck told Stern.
Ben revealed that rather than initiate a confrontation, he decided to kill the guy with kindness.
“I went up to him on the set when I got there, like, ‘Hey Man, I gotta tell you, I love what you do on this show. You carry this f—ing thing. It’s so good, I love that sketch,'” he said.
“Guy completely, I watched his face, he looked at me like, ‘Maybe he does have good taste.'”
Ben has only hosted the show once since the string of box office flops that he referenced in the interview.
That was in 2013, when there were quite a few heavy-hitters on the show, including Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, Jason Sudeikis … and Seth Meyers.
It’s worth noting that Affleck has never appeared on Meyers’ late night show.