Actor Ben Affleck has been very candid and honest about how devastating his divorce with Jennifer Garner has been to him following years of alcohol addiction. It’s something the Goodwill Hunting star has cited as ‘the biggest regret’ of his life.
His reliance on alcohol gradually increased during his marriage with Garner, leading to subsequent marriage problems, which weren’t addressed and only exacerbated by his substance abuse.
Affleck’s drinking problem also affected his relationship with his children, as he wasn’t always ‘there’ to be a father to them and do things that parents normally do with their kids. But the actor is taking ownership and trying to make changes to his life, something that Garner has noticed.
This past week, Affleck sat down for an interview with Brooks Barnes of the New York Times, sharing some of his thoughts on ‘difficult to talk about’ subjects, including his divorce with Garner and coping with alcoholism.
Affleck began the interview by sharing how the issues began for himself and Garner. “I drank relatively normally for a long time,” the actor said in the interview with the New York Times. “What happened was that I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart. This was 2015, 2016. My drinking, of course, created more marital problems.”
What a powerful interview.
2016-2017 was a tough period for #BenAffleck.
So many things going on personal and professionally at the same time. Good for him he has chosen to protect his life and mental health stepping away from all #Batman/#DCEU drama. https://t.co/T5p25NhKs2
— Luiz Fernando (@Luiz_Fernando_J) February 18, 2020
In his conversation with Barnes, Affleck expressed that while he does have massive regret for how he contributed to the demise of his marriage with Garner, he’s choosing not to live with shame. For the actor, shame is toxic and non-productive for moving forward in life.
“Shame is really toxic,” Affleck shared. “There is no positive byproduct of shame. It’s just stewing in a toxic, hideous feeling of low self-worth and self-loathing.” The actor also revealed that he never wanted to get divorced, but that it ultimately happened because of his reliance on alcohol and the circumstances and repercussions that were associated with his addiction.
In a revealing profile, #BenAffleck's struggles with alcoholism, his split from his ex-wife #JenniferGarner and the troubles he had shooting and promoting 2017's 'Justice League' all came to a head https://t.co/FguRW8XtYC
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) February 20, 2020
“I never thought that I was gonna get divorced,” he later said in an interview on Good Morning America. “I didn’t want to get divorced. I didn’t want to be a divorced person. I really didn’t want to be a split family with my children.”
Despite not wanting to cut ties with his wife, something he knew would ultimately affect his children, the proceedings were finalized. Still, Affleck is trying to change who he is as a person and win the battle against his addiction. The actor has relapsed several times since the divorce, but his situation is improving and Garner has taken notice, especially with him taking ownership of what happened to their failed marriage.
— People (@people) February 20, 2020
A source speaking to In Touch Weekly shared that Garner was ‘surprised’ by Affleck’s comment in the New York Times and on Good Morning America. But the source also shared that Garner was ‘touched by his honesty’. “She’s impressed he’s taken ownership of his mistakes and sees it as a sign that he’s made huge progress,” they revealed to the outlet. “It’s been a long hard process, but he’s finally on the straight and narrow, and she’s proud of him for staying strong.”
Regardless of what Garner thinks, though, Affleck is cleaning up his life and has the right mindset to do so. “It’s not particularly healthy for me to obsess over the failures — the relapses — and beat myself up,” the actor said. “I have certainly made mistakes. I have certainly done things that I regret. But you’ve got to pick yourself up, learn from it, learn some more, try to move forward.”