We all love a celebrity romance, but there’s something even more fascinating about old flames reuniting. That’s exactly why fans more or less lost it when Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck went Instagram official with their rekindled relationship in July 2021, confirming months of speculation that they’d reignited their legendary love story. The rumours began fresh from JLo’s split with Alex Rodriguez in April 2021, and it seems Ben wasted no time in winning her back.
If you’re not familiar with the whole story, we cast our eyes back to 2001 when the pair first met. From here, we’ve covered all the major events over the last 17 years to catch you up to speed. It starts with a movie set meeting in 2002 and ends with an adorable blended family outing in 2023. Here’s everything you need to know about Bennifer.
1. Meeting On A Movie Set
Ben and JLo met on the set of a movie called Gigli in 2002. At this point they were both rising stars in their own right and Jennifer was married to her second husband, Cris Judd.
Unfortunately, the movie bombed at the box office but the sparks between the two were undeniable. Jennifer’s divorce from Cris was finalised in the same year and it wasn’t long before she and Ben went public with their relationship.
JLo spoke to People where she reminisced on her first encounter with Ben, “I felt like… ‘Okay, this is it.'”
2. ‘Bennifer’ Is Born
Unsurprisingly, the world collectively lost its mind when the couple went official. Their high-profile relationship sparked widespread media coverage, leading to the creation of their celebrity couple name, Bennifer.
The pair went on to make their first red carpet debut in December 2002, at the premiere of Lopez’s film Maid in Manhattan.
3. The ‘Jenny From The Block’ Music Video
This iconic music video has gone down in popular culture history, and it’s not hard to see why. Filmed in October 2002, the video featured a range of steamy shots of JLo in a pink bikini and Affleck in a white tank. The pair were seen canoodling on a yacht together and also addressed the paparazzi frenzy they had been experiencing.
The video made a few digs toward the tabloid frenzy, including surveillance footage and pap photos. In later interviews, JLo has admitted the media frenzy did put a strain on their relationship, amongst other things. Despite all this, she maintains there was genuine love between them.
“We didn’t try to have a public relationship,” Lopez told People in 2016. “We just happened to be together at the birth of the tabloids, and it was like ‘Oh my God.’ It was just a lot of pressure.”
4. The Engagement
Nobody can forget the spectacular pink engagement ring JLo debuted following the announcement of her engagement to Affleck. The singer confirmed the exciting news in an exclusive interview with Diane Sawyer in November 2002, saying, “It’s the most magnificent thing I’ve ever seen.” In this same interview, she gushed over her then-fiancé, describing him as “brilliantly smart … Loving. Charming. Affectionate.”
The 6.1-carat pink diamond reportedly cost Affleck $2.5 million and was made by esteemed American jeweller Harry Winston.
To the surprise of everyone, just two days before the couple were set to tie the knot in September 2003, they released a joint media statement announcing the postponement of their nuptials.
“Due to the excessive media attention surrounding our wedding, we have decided to postpone the date. When we found ourselves seriously contemplating hiring three separate ‘decoy brides’ at three different locations, we realized that something was awry. We began to feel that the spirit of what should have been the happiest day of our lives could be compromised. We felt what should have been a joyful and sacred day could be spoiled for us, our families and our friends.”
5. The Break Up
By January 2004 (and to the devastation of everyone), the couple were officially over. The two ended their engagement, with JLo confirming the sad news through her spokesperson.
“I am confirming the report that Jennifer Lopez has ended her engagement to Ben Affleck,” the statement read. “At this difficult time, we ask that you respect her privacy.”
Come September 2004, JLo married singer-songwriter and longtime friend Marc Anthony. The couple welcomed twins in 2008, daughter Emme Muñiz and son Max Muñiz. In 2014, the couple made the decision to separate.
In her 2014 book titled True Love, JLo reflected on this period in her life, hinting that it may have been an attempt to recover from her breakup with Affleck.
“Thinking back, maybe deep down I knew that this was a Band-Aid on the cut, that my wound hadn’t been stitched or healed,” she wrote. “But I pushed all that to the back of my mind. Because life takes unpredictable twists and turns, right? And you’ve just got to go with what you feel is best in the moment.”
As for Affleck, he went on to marry fellow actor Jennifer Garner in 2005, welcoming three children over the years daughters Violet and Seraphina Affleck, and son Samuel Affleck. The couple divorced in 2018.
6. New Rumours
Roll on 2021 and the pair were clearly not quite finished with each other. Rumours began swirling in April 2021 after JLo announced the end of her engagement to Alex Rodriguez and Ben Affleck split from Ana de Armas. It seems they both found themselves single at the same time.
It didn’t take long before the pair were spotted hanging out, with Page Six reporting that Affleck was seen visiting JLo’s LA home multiple times. The pair also went on a weeklong vacation to Montana following their appearances at Global Citizen’s Vax Live benefit concert.
Then, in late July 2021 all the rumours (and sheer hope from fans) was confirmed. On JLo’s 52nd Birthday, she shared a series of snaps from a sunny day out on a yacht. And lo and behold, the image we’d been waiting for: Ben and Jen sharing a kiss.
An insider reported to E! News that the two stars have kept in touch over the years and maintained a friendly relationship.
“They have been in touch here and there throughout the years. Ben reached out to her to see how she was doing and they had dinner together a few times within this last month. It’s natural between them and the chemistry is unreal. They picked up where they last left off and are enjoying each other’s company right now” the source said.
Now that we know their spark never quite faded and their relationship is out in the open, JLo and Affleck have certainly reignited our global obsession with them together, proving that even with the passing of time, some things never change.
7. PDA central
Their relationship now out in the open, J Lo and Affleck spared no moment to prove just how loved up they were. Whether it was a red carpet event or a casual stroll, the couple puckered up everywhere they went.
“I love public displays of romance,” she told the hosts. “I don’t know if I would love a proposal, I think that that’s a more intimate thing between two people. But I have no problem with PDA, like people say, I actually, I’m all about it! If you really feel it.”
8. Engaged again
In April, J Lo and Affleck revealed they were engaged, 20 years after announcing their first engagement.
Sharing the news in a video via her newsletter, On The JLo, she debuted a huge green diamond ring.
Wiping away tears of joy. “You’re perfect,” she said in a voiceover.
Later, the Marry Me star explained the sweet hidden meaning behind the ring.
“I always say the colour green is my lucky colour,” Lopez wrote. Then, in reference to her iconic green Versace dress from the 2000 Grammy Awards, she added, “maybe you can remember a certain green dress”.
She continued, “I’ve realised there are many moments in my life where amazing things happened when I was wearing green.”
9. Married, finally
In July 2022, Lopez and Affleck finally tied the knot in a last-minute Las Vegas ceremony. According to the official marriage documents, JLo changed her surname to Affleck, making her legally Jennifer Affleck.
Once again, she took to her newsletter to provide some insight on the big day, which included a late night ceremony, a borrowed blazer and pure, spontaneous fun.
“We did it. Love is beautiful. Love is kind. And it turns out love is patient. Twenty years patient.”
“So with the best witnesses you could ever imagine, a dress from an old movie and a jacket from Ben’s closet, we read our own vows in the little chapel and gave one another the rings we’ll wear for the rest of our lives.
“They even had Bluetooth for a (short) march down the aisle. But in the end, it was the best possible wedding we could have imagined. One we dreamed of long ago and one made real (in the eyes of the state, Las Vegas, a pink convertible, and one another) at very, very long last.
“Stick around long enough and maybe you’ll find the best moment of your life in a drive-through in Las Vegas at twelve-thirty in the morning in the tunnel of love drive-through, with your kids and the one you’ll spend forever with,” Lopez concluded. “Love is a great thing, maybe the best of things-and worth waiting for.”
Signing off, JLo simply wrote: “Mrs. Jennifer Lynn Affleck.”
10. Blending families
The newlyweds have five children between them: JLo’s 14-year-old twins Emme and Mex, and Affleck’s three children, Violet (17) Seraphina (14) and Samuel (10).
Since tying the knot in July 2022, the newlyweds have spoken openly about the process of blending their two family units into one. “We moved in together. The kids moved in together,” Lopez said in an interview with TODAY. “It’s been, like, a really kind of emotional transition, but at the same time all your dreams coming true.”
Everything certainly seems to be going well for the newly blended family, who were spotted in January 2023 taking a family outing in LA. The loved-up couple, who were holding hands, were accompanied by kids Seraphina, Samuel and Emme.
By the looks of things, their married life is off to a perfect start.