Lopez and Affleck were previously engaged for two years before calling it off in 2004

A lot has changed between Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck in 18 years.

The singer/actress, who is on the cover of Rolling Stone’s March 2022 issue, reflected on the intense media scrutiny the pair faced during the early years of their relationship.

“It’s funny because Ben and I were together, and we were so in love,” the 52-year-old explained. “It was one of the happiest times of my life. But also, there was this other thing happening where we were being criticized, and it really destroyed our relationship from the inside out, because we were just too young to understand at that time what were really the most important things in life.”

The outlet noted how the press mocked her Latin heritage. One outlet described how “Ben Affleck sleeps with the help,” following her 2002 romantic comedy “Maid in Manhattan.” While “South Park” called her a “mean-spirited b—h,” Conan O’Brien said that he’d cast “our script intern” as Affleck and “our cleaning lady” as Lopez for a sketch.


Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez attend the red carpet of the movie ‘The Last Duel’ during the 78th Venice International Film Festival on September 10, 2021, in Venice, Italy. (Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

“It was brutal,” said Lopez. “It’s one of those things that you bury very deeply, so you can move on and get about your business.”

The “Hustlers” star, 52, and “Argo” director, 49, were previously engaged for roughly two years. The two split in 2004, and Affleck later married actress Jennifer Garner in 2005. Affleck and Garner, who share three children, divorced in 2018.

Lopez shares her two children with ex-husband Marc Anthony. She and the singer, 53, were married from 2004 until 2014.


Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, known as ‘Bennifer’ in the press, originally called off their engagement in 2004. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Affleck and Affleck spent the last summer enjoying each other’s company on multiple European vacations. The couple walked the red carpet together for the first time as a rekindled couple in September at the Venice International Film Festival for the premiere of “The Last Duel.”

Lopez noted that has a parent, she’s “become much more spiritual.” She prays often, repeats positive affirmations throughout the day and has gone to therapy.

“I try to always live from a place of gratitude,” Lopez explained. “But today, especially, if you ask me what my first thought was, it was, ‘Thank you. Thank you, God, for this day. Thank you for my life, what it is.’”

“I’m really happy, probably more than I’ve even been in my whole life,” Lopez added.

Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez said “the game has changed” when it comes to getting “a second chance at real love.” (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for 20th Century Studios)

For the couple, the past has provided important lessons on how to navigate their relationship today. Having “a second chance at real love” is “nice,” said Lopez, revealing “we know what’s real, what’s not real… the game has changed.”

And when it comes to the future, Lopez said she doesn’t see another public breakup with Affleck.

“I don’t think we would have got back together if we thought that was where it was headed,” said Lopez. “We feel like what we found again is so much more important, and how we protect that and how we live our lives — what to share, what not to share — is the balance that we have now, the benefit of experience and the wisdom that we gained over the years.”