Jennifer Lopez: Ben Affleck & I ‘both have PTSD’ from what we endured in 2002-03

2023 was a pretty quiet year for Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. They married in the summer of 2022 and they got a blitz of attention and media, then they just… focused on their work and figuring out their blended family. They’ve made appearances on each other’s red carpets and they’ve done a few events together, but their marriage has not been pap stroll after pap stroll. They’re older and wiser now – they know how to hide, they can insulate themselves with their money, and they’re both more comfortable in themselves and in their relationship. Well, J.Lo has This Is Me… Now coming out – an album and a short film – in February. To hype those projects, Jennifer chatted with Variety:

Jennifer Lopez admits not everyone in her camp initially supported the idea to document her romance with husband Ben Affleck in her upcoming “This Is Me… Now” album and companion film.

“As artists, we have to follow our heart and this is me following my heart and doing something that maybe everybody didn’t think was the best idea, but I had to do it,” Lopez tells me.

Lopez is set to drop “This Is Me… Now,” a new album that marks the 20th anniversary of “This Is Me…Then,” on Feb. 16. The Dave Meyers-directed companion short film will be released at the same time by Amazon MGM Studios.

Sure, Lopez has some worries about putting her and Affleck’s life in the spotlight because “we both have PTSD” caused by the media scrutiny they endured back when they first dated, she said, “but we’re older now. We’re wiser. We also know what’s important, what’s really important in life, and it’s not so much what other people think. It’s about being true to who you are.”

Asked if the film is a scripted feature or doc, Lopez explained, “You have to see it and you’ll have to experience it to understand it. That’s why I call it a ‘musical experience.’ Because there’s music, you can see it, you can hear it and then you’ll get to live it.”

A recent teaser for the film included a clip of Lopez saying, “When I was a little girl, when someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was always… in love.”

[From Variety]

“We both have PTSD” – I can see that, and they both went running in opposite directions for years after their split. I talked about this before, but when I watched J.Lo’s Halftime documentary, they included clips of the aggressively racist coverage of Bennifer 1.0 and it really was shocking to look back at it now. I lived through it and even I forgot how bad it was. Like, it was so normalized circa 2002-03, to refer to Jennifer as “the maid,” or Ben’s “spicy senorita” and no one was even doing dog-whistles, it was just blatantly vile sh-t. And I do think they’re older and wiser now. Their “revival” love story is great.

Photos courtesy of Backgrid, J.Lo’s Instagram.

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45 Responses to “Jennifer Lopez: Ben Affleck & I ‘both have PTSD’ from what we endured in 2002-03”

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  1. LaraK says:

    It really is hard to look that far back and see how we treated people and accepted how others treated them.

    But happy they found a balance the second time around.

    • Kitten says:

      The early aughts were truly a wild time.

      And yes, I remember how nasty the coverage was and how J Lo was treated. And I’m not saying that was the reason for the demise of the relationship the first time around but it had to have been a source of pressure and angst. I mean, the media treated her like she was Ben’s exotic pet–it was so dehumanizing and gross.

      I’m admittedly invested in Bennifer: The Sequel and I really hope these two kids make it.

    • Eleonor says:

      For them it has changed, luckily!
      As a latina myself unfortunately I must admit that racism and stereotypes are still there 🙁

      • Haylie says:

        Agreed, and Jennifer Lopez bore the brunt of the media attacks. When they split up and Ben married Jennifer Garner, a “nice white lady,” Ben was welcomed back into the fold with warm arms. Meanwhile, Jennifer Lopez had to pull a disappearing act to repair her reputation. It took a decade.

        I haven’t forgotten any of that.

      • Flamingo says:

        Jennifer went on to make hit movies and albums. She didn’t disappear at all. Let’s keep in mind he only married Jennifer Garner since she was pregnant, when they got married.

      • Sunshine says:

        Lol. Harry and Meghan exists. The media has not changed AT ALL.

      • Caribbean says:


      • Lens says:

        @flamingo he married Jennifer garner because he loved her, he didn’t have to marry anyone since it’s not the 1950s. Anyway I think it’s ridiculous people can’t remember that the reason they were made fun of was because they literally were papped every single day of the 18 months they were together with no break. Sure jlo got the brunt of the hate but that was true of all the pop females of the early aughts – people have forgotten the horrible sexist interviews of Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson as well. Yeah it was gross and Ben has always gotten the best treatment and benefit of the doubt (see the belief he only married jg “because she was pregnant”) over any of his women not just jlo.

  2. TheOriginalMia says:

    Honestly, I’m not seeing how Ben was negatively affected by the media scrum. He and the press blamed her. It was her demands for the wedding. It was her “spicyness”. It was all her fault poor Ben had to drink and gamble. It was her fault Ben the Oscar winner had to do Gigli, like he wasn’t a fully involved person in the relationship. I know she loves the guy, but he was the cause of her pain. She’s a better person than me because I’d forgive but never forget. He wouldn’t get close enough to sniff my perfume.

    • Ameerah M says:

      Ben actually never said ANY of that. That was the media.

      • TheOriginalMia says:

        I remember that Diane Sawyer interview. He was a passive aggressive ass. He wasn’t the one doing the heavy lifting in that relationship back then. And when he finally got out of it through a passive aggressive stripper stunt, he continued throughout the Bennifer 2.0 years to make it seem that he and his art suffered through the Bennifer 1.0 years. I’ve yet to see the man defend either Jennifer against the media, when it’s been him all along.

      • Ameerah M says:

        I saw that interview too. The idea that he was one painting the narrative that everything regarding Gigli was or the wedding was her fault was not his narrative. It was the media’s. He talked about how his career as an actor took a hit during that time – and it DID. That’s just facts.

      • OnThisDay says:

        Yeah, he didn’t say that racist mess, but did he speak up and denounce it? Maybe he did and I don’t remember. If he didn’t publically speak out then he was complicit.
        It’s not too much to ask to be an ally, especially since he supposedly loved her. Instead all I remember is him talking about that stupid movie that she was only in for a few minutes.

      • Flamingo says:

        Ben goofing on his relationship with Jennier Lopez in an SNL opening was poor taste. But he was a lot harder on Jennifer Garner in his Howard Stern interview. Why these women fall over for him I will never understand. He must have BDE because he always looked Frankensteinsh to me.

      • Kitten says:

        Ben literally said this about J Lo on a podcast three years ago: “People were so f*cking mean about her—sexist, racist,” he said. “Ugly, vicious sh*t was written about her in ways that if you wrote it now you would literally be fired for saying those things you said.”

      • Ameerah M says:

        RIGHT. That’s my point. He wasn’t denying what she experienced.

      • tealily says:

        @Kitten that’s great but three year ago?

      • Kitten says:

        @ Tealily-I was just responding to “I’ve yet to see the man defend either Jennifer against the media, when it’s been him all along.”

        JS that he has.

        I don’t know if he said anything previous to that but I don’t think it was something he was ever asked about either. Again, at the time it was generally accepted to be blatantly racist and sexist. And no, I’m not saying that racism and sexism don’t exist anymore but anyone not acknowledging how insane the press was back then isn’t being honest. MeToo and other social justice movements have caused a shift, even if it’s not nearly as much of a shift as we’d like–which is honestly just a testament to how batshit crazy the paparazzi and the subsequent public reaction was back then.

      • tealily says:

        @Kitten Yeah, I think that would have held more meaning if he’d said it in the moment while the comments were being made. No one should have had to ask him about it directly.

    • Cali says:

      I think Ben was young, immature and weak. He should have stood up for Jennifer and he didn’t. He was no Prince Harry.
      But they did love each other. And he changed. He now recognizes and publicly states how hard working, talented and awesome she is.
      99 times out of a hundred I would agree with you and think that she shouldn’t have given Ben the time of day. But they seem happy together and he seems to be putting in the work so I am glad for them.

      • BarbieDoll says:

        @Cali, ^^^^^ This 100%…I totally agree!!!

      • Ambrosia says:

        Ben’s interview for rolling stone in 2004 After the break up:

        “he says, although he suspects the hostility “had something to do with race and class. That pushed a button. This is a country that flew into a gigantic uproar about Janet Jackson’s breast. There’s still a heavy-duty puritan influence going on, and we still hold ourselves to a pretty chaste ideal, which includes, buried within it, the tradition of people being with people like them. We were thought of as two different kinds of people, not just racially but culturally.” Perhaps that’s why the tabloids have gone easier on Lopez dating singer Marc Anthony. Affleck lights another of his menthol Marlboro Lights. “Basically, it just came down to, Wow, I never thought those two would get together.’ “

        Ben for vanity fair when they were still together in 2003:

        “She’s had a much simpler, more easily explainable, more clean romantic history than I have. She can tell the whole story in 15 minutes, whereas I always preface the whole story with ‘It was complicated …’ I think this also has to do with race. There’s a kind of language that’s used about her—the spicy Latina, the tempestuous diva. She’s characterized as oversexed. I mean, the woman’s had five boyfriends in her whole life! She’s a deeply misunderstood woman, in my opinion.”

        “As one listens to the starry-eyed Affleck rhapsodize about his fiancee, it is difficult to reconcile his adoring view with Lopez’s flamboyant public persona”

        So he did speak up at the time

  3. girl_ninja says:

    Refer to Jennifer as “the maid,” or Ben’s “spicy senorita” I remember that shit and it was VILE. Now nothing is wrong with being a maid/housekeeper or a service worker, but those terms were used to denagrate Jen and SouthPark reveled in that.

    As soon as Jen confessed that she and Ben were engaged in that Diane Sawyer interview they were besieged with nonsense by the press and media.

    Same as Harry and Meghan.

  4. Kirsten says:

    I’m not sure how she went running in the other direction? She had a marriage and engagement to two VERY famous people and was constantly in the media. I’ll buy that she didn’t get the kind of attention she wanted the first go-round with BA but not that she didn’t want the attention.

  5. Emily says:

    These two getting back together is my Roman empire.

  6. Flamingo says:

    “Endure” are you kidding me, they put on a full court press tour of their relationship. They gave extensive interviews. She showed off her pink diamond ring in. He was in her videos. They were tacky as hell about it.

    God, Jennifer please. I do not have amnesia. I remember quite clearly how you hawked that relationship for free publicity. You wanted to be the next Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
    Girl, no. just no.

    Glad you’re happy and older now and learned to be lower key. I hope it works out.

    • GoldenMom says:

      Being a celebrity is so hard, you guys. You have no idea how much they suffer for fame.

      This kind of self-pitying bs is obnoxious, especially for people who have genuine PTSD. Stop talking, Jennifer, just stop talking.

      • Kitten says:

        The fact that being rich, famous, and powerful doesn’t insulate one from racism is kinda the point here.

      • Seraphina says:

        Thank you @Flamingo and @GoldenMom, Lopez knew exactly how to draw attention to herself. I am close to her age and I recall it well. She did it with Diddy too. I’m not knocking her for it, but do play the PTSD card. Was the racism harsh, sure but don’t cry PTSD.

      • rawiya says:

        Thank you for your last paragraph. It’s really annoying how people throw actual medical terms, like PTSD and OCD, around. I’m sure it was annoying then, but to claim PTSD? Girl.

  7. Margot says:

    PTSD? Oh please 🙄

    • sparrow says:

      I know. As someone with ex forces friends and a good three of those with PTSD and chronic insomnia and drink issues. Exactly, oh please. It really makes me wince.

      • Kristin says:

        I was just about to come here and say the same thing. PTSD? These two actively courted and sold their relationship in the public sphere. They advertised their relationship. This wasn’t something horrible that just “happened” to them and they’re still waking up in the middle of the night, drenched in sweat, from the nightmares that refuse to go away.

        My mom had a close friend from high school who sent to Vietnam. The before/after with that guy was tragic. He was, sadly, known as the “town looney”, because back then they didn’t even acknowledge PTSD. Sometimes it was referred to as “shell shock”, but there was no treatment, no support. And he just declined more and more every year, until he was finally institutionalized. Mom talked about him being class Valedictorian, so smart and sweet, but poor and had no money for college and was unable to avoid the draft. He came back destroyed. I think it’s insulting for people like the family of my mom’s friend to hear people like J Lo throwing around terms like PTSD to describe their own situation, one largely of their own making.

      • Torttu says:

        Kristin, THANK YOU. I’m so sick of Lopez and the endless me me me.

  8. Nicole says:

    Yah I remember the early aughts and Bennifer 1.0. The press was was crazy racist. I wasn’t a huge fan of either actually, but I was pretty disgusted at how JLo was treated in the press. I really think that was a major contributor to their break up. I know Matt is supportive of their relationship now, but weren’t a lot of his homies sabotaging that, in addition to Ben’s addictive behaviors?

  9. Haylie says:

    I see the Jennifer Hate Brigade has arrived on time. How dare a woman show off her engagement ring and be happy about her planned wedding! Why can’t she just disappear? How dare she talk about the racist press backlash while having money!!! She marched her relationship with Ben!

    This grand of Karenism reminds me of another popular target of this kind of “How dare that colored try to rise above a lowly station” nonsense that oozes from the pores of the truly miserable.

  10. kelleybelle says:

    As someone who has a lot of experience with PTSD – I used to work in a clinic that treated the military for it; my partner also has it – I think she’s completely full of it. She hasn’t a clue what real PTSD is. Come off it.

  11. Tursitops says:

    I strongly suspect that she has an incomplete and inaccurate understanding of PTSD. If this is correct, then she should not be flippantly throwing around a medical diagnosis to garner sympathy.

    • sparrow says:

      Exactly. See my post above about PTSD and my friends who have come out of the forces. PTSD is so overused and it is becoming diminished.

  12. QuiteContrary says:

    Racism and cruelty are never OK, no matter the target. They dehumanize and demoralize people.

    That said, I’m also wary of the term PTSD being applied to two super-wealthy people with all the resources in the world to help them cope. Their plight is not the same as that of military veterans or kids who have suffered through adverse childhood experiences.

    PTSD has become shorthand for all kinds of trauma. We should just be careful how we use it, so, as sparrow points out, its seriousness isn’t diminished.

  13. CityGirl says:

    Maybe it’s not the correct medical term but I think it well within her right to state that she was terribly affected by the racism back in the day, in the current day, and still feels, any kind of negative anything about racism and its impact she experienced.

  14. Carolnr says:

    They both were constantly in the tabloids because they promoted their relationship everywhere. We all saw Ben & the dumb video they made together Social media did not exist then. Can you imagine if it did? We all read or heard how Ben proposed with that pink diamond. They did not keep their relationship private. And with this new album & short film, she is repeating the same mistakes & putting their relationship back out there for the public to scrutinize. Alot of famous couples are able to keep their relationships private…she needs to take a cue from them…

  15. February pisces says:

    I remember bens acting career suffering at the time, mostly because he was making bad decisions, but all the blame was dumping on Jennifer. If funny how all he had to do was ditch her and marry a plain Jane like Jen garner and all is forgiven. He did her no favours during that time. I just hope he’s grown and apologised to jlo.

    • Lens says:

      You really believe it all has to do with the women he was with? Not at all. He got millions of chances and was given all kinds of high paying leading man roles which tanked at the box office. So his career went in the toilet not just because of the two he did with Lopez but surviving Christmas, paycheck, pearl harbor, daredevil. He then stopped acting for a couple of years and just directed and choose films that he could act in as well like the town and Argo.