How Ben Affleck Ruined Jennifer Garner

Ben Affleck had a career resurgence when he married Jennifer Garner in 2005. Meanwhile, Garner saw her own career begin to flail in favor of being the token doting trophy wife for the oft-troubled actor. After a decade of being in the Oscar winner's shadow, it may be too late to fully emerge as a star in her own right.

He sidelined her potential action stardom

Before she got involved with Affleck, Garner was an onscreen buttkicker, playing action roles in Alias and doing many of her own stunts for Daredevil (2003) and Elektra (2005). While neither film was particularly blockbuster material, Garner had established herself as a capable, athletic starlet with more talent than her fellow sporty celeb Jessica Biel, and a more wholesome alternative than Angelina Jolie...and then she pretty much vanished from that realm once she and Affleck were together.

She became a housewife

Garner admits that her relationship with Affleck and her motherhood made her work in general take a backseat. While Affleck pursued his acting and directorial goals, including winning an Oscar for Argo (2012) and becoming Batman, Garner was raising their three kids and taking roles that required much less commitment in ensembles like Valentine's Day (2010), Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past (2009), and indie bombs like direct-to-VOD Butter (2012).

In March 2015—months before the divorce announcement, but during their secret separation—she told Us Weekly, "Ben is super busy and I'm super happy for him. I chose to stay home this year and just said, 'Go for it babe. Do it all. Do Gone Girl, do Batman, do The Accountant. Do everything.' I want that for him and I'm happy for him. And he says the same to me. Except that he's really busy. But he understands that when I really have to do it, we figure it out."

She also told Access Hollywood, "I have this internal battle between, I need to work, I need to work, I need to work and I need to be home with my kids. And the kids win." Had there been a better work-life balance for the couple, she may have had better luck and less guilt in taking on meatier roles while she and Affleck were married, establishing herself as a bigger force in Hollywood.

She's relegated to mom roles now

Garner is in her 40s. As stunning and as youthful as she appears, that's pretty much a death knell for leading lady roles in Hollywood, a notoriously ageist town. With the exception of an impressing turn in Dallas Buyers Club (2013), her performances haven't been the greatest at the box office. At her age, she's unlikely to be cast as even a romantic lead anymore, instead playing mothers in Miracles From Heaven (2016) and Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014). Part of why she's typecast in these parts is because she's choosing them—but a big reason why they seem to be the only offers given to her is because of the public persona she has of being America's mom, courtesy of Affleck.

She's pitied, not necessarily admired

Post-split, Garner put on a charm offensive to the public, giving teary interviews as well as a shade-filled profile in Vanity Fair. She wouldn't have had to do that if Affleck hadn't, you know, allegedly cheated on her a bunch of times while they were married and hooked up with the nanny afterward (or during, depending on which outlets to believe). Now, instead of being seen as formidable, strong, and sexy, the world sympathizes for her. Sympathy doesn't lead to ticket sales. Here's hoping she eventually can carve out a niche of her own.