How Ben Affleck ruined his marriage

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner were one of Hollywood's golden couples, so they shocked the world in 2015 when they announced their separation. It looked like they may be trying to work things out for a while, but in April 2017, Garner and Affleck filed for divorce. The general consensus? The split is, for the most part, Affleck's fault. What happened?

The marriage started on a faulty foundation

Affleck was engaged to Lopez when he first hit it off with Garner, who was married to actor Scott Foley at the time. The co-stars reportedly fell in love while filming Daredevil (2002). Garner appeared to openly flirt with Affleck during a taping of Dinner for Five in early 2003, and Affleck later admitted to Playboy, "[Daredevil is] where I found my wife. We met on Pearl Harbor (2001), which people hate, but we fell in love on Daredevil."

Of course, it takes two to tango, which means Garner isn't innocent here, but perhaps they both should have walked the straight and narrow path instead of pursuing their relationship full speed ahead.

He married someone his friends despised

Affleck married a woman his friends loathed, which rarely ends well.

Sources told OK! magazine that best bud Matt Damon never liked Garner, with one insider claiming Damon told Affleck that if his wife "'just loosened up a bit, things could have been different.' Matt believes Ben's marriage was in shambles way before the nanny. There was too much anger there …[Damon] wasn't pushing for Ben to end it, but he knows Ben will be happier with another woman."

Damon isn't the only Affleck pal that allegedly didn't see eye to eye with the Oscar winner's spouse. In July 2014, Kevin Smith told Yahoo Movies that Garner pretty much ruined his friendship with Affleck. "We're not f**king tight. I have not been [close with him] in decades," he griped. "That's old Ben. He's got a wife [Jennifer Garner] that don't [sic] care for me at all."

Smith also said during a Silent Bob Speaks tour stop the same month (via the New York Daily News), "Jennifer does not share the same sense of humor as me — she did not like my jokes. I was picking on Ben Affleck making fun of him because I've known him for a really long time…and Jennifer goes, 'You know, if you keep saying stuff about him, I'm going to kick your a**.'…She has a real girly sense of humor and didn't understand that I was kidding."

He's a big gambler

TMZ reported that a big catalyst for the split was Affleck's gambling habit. In May 2014, Affleck was actually banned from the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas for allegedly counting cards in blackjack, according to TMZ. eHe's reportedly amassed a ton of money on the blackjack circuit through the years, even winning $800,000 in just one night. However, Affleck denied being a compulsive gambler and said he's technically not banned from the casino as a whole, noting to Details (via People), "That's all bulls**t … I wish I could say they were afraid of me in every capacity, but they only said, 'No blackjack.'"

"I took some time to learn the game and became a decent blackjack player. And once I became decent, the casinos asked me not to play blackjack. I mean, the fact that being good at the game is against the rules at the casinos should tell you something about casinos," Affleck said. "…I don't play any other games of chance. I don't bet on football games, and I don't gamble at all, really, outside of that. But I knew with blackjack that there's a way you can improve your odds. And so I started trying to learn. And then I just got to a point in my life where I'm like, 'If I'm going to do something, I'm going to try and do it really well.' It was sort of presented like I did something illegal."

He relapsed with booze

Ben Affleck went to rehab to treat his alleged alcohol abuse in 2001, but sources say it didn't stick. Affleck even admitted to Details (via People) that in order to get into his "puffy, hungover" character of Nick Dunne in Gone Girl (2014) he would imbibe, despite knowing his own demons.

That method acting may have hurt him in real life: Affleck was spotted with a detox nurse in January 2017 and admitted in March 2017 that he quietly sought help for alcohol abuse. "I have completed treatment for alcohol addiction; something I've dealt with in the past and will continue to confront," he wrote on Facebook on March 14, 2017. "I want to live life to the fullest and be the best father I can be. I want my kids to know there is no shame in getting help when you need it, and to be a source of strength for anyone out there who needs help but is afraid to take the first step. I'm lucky to have the love of my family and friends, including my co-parent, Jen, who has supported me and cared for our kids as I've done the work I set out to do. This was the first of many steps being taken towards a positive recovery."

About a month after his rehab reveal, he and Garner formally filed for divorce.

His awkward Oscar acceptance speech

During his acceptance speech after winning Best Picture for Argo, Affleck thanked his wife for "working on their marriage for ten Christmases." Yikes. Even if that was meant to be some sort of compliment, the phrasing just sounds bad. Why not, "Thanks for your support, honey. I love you so much," or even "I couldn't have done this without you by my side." Those are guaranteed winners in the acceptance speech handbook, not: First, you thank God. Then your agent, and then maybe vaguely reference how marriage is kind of like maintaining a boat.

He may have gotten too close with his female co-stars

A source told In Touch Weekly that while Affleck was filming The Town (2009), "He hit on Blake Lively, but she was not interested at all." Rumor has it he also fawned over Lively in interviews.

The former Gossip Girl star isn't the only co-star Garner may have worried about with Affleck. A source told the National Enquirer that while Affleck filmed Gone Girl (2014), "Jen was so worried about Ben and Emily [Ratajkowski] that she asked her pal Neil Patrick Harris to keep an eye on them while on set."

He couldn't control his anger around the paparazzi

Even after successfully lobbying the California legislature to protect celebrities' children from overzealous photographers, Affleck had trouble hiding his contempt for the paparazzi, often appearing irritated or flat out furious in photos and videos. The problem with that is his entire family is usually present, so instead of looking like he wants to punt someone's telephoto lens into traffic, he comes off as a maniac who can't stand taking his wife and kids to the farmers market.  

He's had a few public disasters

On an episode of Real Time with Bill Maher, Affleck had an ugly meltdown over clashing political views between himself and another guest. Granted, political debates often get heated, but Affleck lost his cool in a dramatic way, causing the clip to go viral and leaving people with the impression that his temper may be a problem.

Shortly after that appearance and amidst the Sony hacking fiasco, leaked emails showed Affleck persuaded Finding Your Roots producers to scrub some supposedly unfavorable details about his ancestors from his episode. This actually resulted in a postponement of the whole series by PBS. Neither of these scenarios specifically points to marital problems, but they do showcase a guy who's quick to anger and who doesn't have qualms about backchanneling in order to keep secrets.

He put his career first...

In addition to working on his sobriety, Affleck also had to work, and he had a full plate while he was married. He starred as Bruce Wayne in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), made a cameo in Suicide Squad (2016), and filmed Justice League (2017) before he and Garner called it quits for good, and he began physical training for The Batman in spring 2017. He also wrote, starred in, and directed Live By Night (2016) and starred in The Accountant (2016) and is slated to appear in its sequel.

A source told People that Affleck had a "Mad Men mentality" and was "like a 50s dad … [He] thinks work is your priority and providing money for your family is your priority, and raising the kids day to day and making a nice house is the wife's priority. It leaves too much of the burden on Jen to be a mom and dad to the children when she also has a career. Ben is a good dad when he is around, but he has so many outside interests and personal issues to get beyond."

...and her career suffered

While Affleck pursued his film goals, including taking home a best director Academy Award for Argo (2012), Garner relegated herself to light fare, such as 9 Lives (2017), Valentine's Day (2010), Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009), and direct-to-VOD Butter (2012), which didn't do much for her resume.

In March 2015, 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."

Nannygate

Affleck reportedly hooked up with the family's former nanny, Christine Ouzounian, around the time he and Garner announced their separation. Despite the gossip, Garner told Vanity Fair in March 2016, "We had been separated for months before I ever heard about the nanny. She had nothing to do with our decision to divorce. She was not a part of the equation. Bad judgment? Yes."

However, where there's smoke, there's a Jude Law situation. "Jennifer was furious when she found out they were talking when the kids weren't involved," a source told Radar Online. "He admitted that they did have a meeting and that there was texting, an email relationship and a couple of phone calls, too. That set Jennifer off, and that's when the nanny got sent packing."

He may have cheated with his new girlfriend...

Ouzounian may not have been Affleck's only other woman. His current girlfriend, Saturday Night Live producer Lindsay Shookus, was allegedly in the picture before he and Garner. Radar Online reported that Shookus worked at SNL when Garner appeared with Affleck on the show in May 2013, and a source told People that Affleck and Shookus, who was married at the time, appeared to be flirting at a party in June 2013.

"Ben and Lindsay started their affair about three years ago, just a few months after she became a mom. They were not casually dating — they were having a full-blown affair," an insider told Us Weekly. "They were sleeping together, sending each other cute texts and meeting up whenever they could."

...and tried to hide it for a long time

A source told Radar Online that Affleck and Shookus tried to sneak around behind their spouses' backs before going public after they each split from their respective life partners. "They had secret meetings at hotels in New York and Canada, but never went out for fear of being photographed together. Whenever they met, Lindsay would go in one way and Ben went in another," an insider said, adding that they communicated through a secret email account and even hooked up abroad. "They were together on the set of Justice League (2017) in London where Ben was filming reshoots … Ben pledged to work on his marriage and the tension [with Garner] subsided, but he continued to see Lindsay in secret. She was the woman who ultimately ended any hope of reconciliation between Ben and Jen."

Garner reportedly confronted Shookus about the affair, but Shookus wasn't, er, shaken.

Even his collaborators hinted he may be a cheater

In the Gone Girl (2014) DVD commentary, director David Fincher warned that Garner may have her hands full with Affleck. "If I was his wife, I think I would be very suspicious, always, of whoever just called because he has a real gift at being able to insinuate a conversation," Fincher said of a particular scene (via the New York Daily News). "This is something that Ben is extraordinarily good at, when he has to cook up a phone conversation, when he has to hear somebody on the other end of the phone…He has to do these things in the foreground where he takes out his phone and looks at it and he puts it away so his sister doesn't see it. There are people who do that and it's too pointed. But Ben is very, very subtle and there's a kind of indirectness to the way he can do those things. Probably because he's so duplicitous."