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The couple, dubbed "Bennifer," began dating in 2002 and quickly became engaged, but they split two years later in 2004. The backlash wasn't pretty, and Affleck, now 40, was labeled the bad guy in the situation. Though he's since married Jennifer Garner and had three children with her, the low point in his life after the J.Lo breakup has stuck with him.
"At the time, I knew on some level, ‘This is insane,'" he tells GQ. "What was that guy’s name who killed his wife and dumped her off the side of a boat? Peterson. I remember thinking he actually gets slightly better treatment than I do in the press. At least they had to say 'alleged killer.'"
Affleck adds that he was the person the media wanted to kick when he was down and compares the situation to videos of people getting beat up by gangs on YouTube. "I was the designated person to loath," Affleck remembers of the time. Of course, it didn't help that his movies released around that period -- Daredevil, Gigli and Jersey Girl -- were all panned by critics.
“I knew how disastrous it was. It was the last thing I wanted, and I could tell how it was damaging me, but there was still this idea: This is what this guy wants, he’s a shallow guy, a camera whore or whatever. And there was no convincing people that that wasn’t the case," Affleck says.
At least some good came out of the situation. Beyond starting up his relationship with Garner, Affleck reevaluated what he wanted to do with his career and decided to move into directing. He has since directed three increasingly successful films -- 2007's Gone Baby Gone, 2010's The Town and this year's Argo -- and is expected to be a shoe-in for a Best Director Academy Award this year.
Perhaps his low point post-Bennifer was actually the motivation he needed to kickstart his career!