The media frenzy around Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez‘s relationship apparently played a huge role in their eventual split.
“I would say [media attention] was about 50 percent [of what destroyed our relationship]. The idea that people hate you and they hate you together and that being together is poison and ugly and toxic and the thing none of us want to be part of,” the Oscar winner said. “And, ‘Who the fuck would want to have them to dinner?’ And, ‘What the fuck are they doing together?'”
The couple first started dating in 2002, immediately becoming a target of tabloids and public opinion. They got engaged the following year before ultimately splitting in 2004.
Of their breakup, Affleck confessed, “I got fucking hurt and angry, and felt like a fool.”
Related article: Jennifer Lopez And Ben Affleck’s Official Relationship Timeline
The two reconciled earlier this year, though not without some hesitation on Affleck’s part.
“My responsibility to my children is the highest responsibility I have,” he said, referring to his kids—Violet, 16, Seraphina, 12, and Samuel, 9—whom he shares with ex-wife Jennifer Garner. “So I won’t do anything that’s painful or destructive to them if I can help it.”
He continued, “That being said, I know that my life affects them. I dropped my son off at school two days ago, and he’s the only one who will talk about it. He’s nine years old, and there’s a bunch of the older boys out there doing some toy drive or something, and I heard them go, ‘Oh, Ben Affleck, Ben Affleck.’ And my kid looks at me and goes, ‘Hashtag welcome to my life.'”
Before they split, Affleck and J.Lo released a joint statement explaining why they were postponing their wedding, blaming the media frenzy surrounding the occasion.
“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.”
Today, the newly reunited couple seem to be stronger than ever.
“I can say that it’s definitely beautiful to me,” the actor said. “It is a good story. It’s a great story. And, you know, maybe one day I’ll tell it. I’ll write it all out. And then I’ll light it on fire.”
This article originally appeared in Harper’s BAZAAR US