Ben Affleck is an actor and screenwriter best known for his appearance in the Academy Award-winning film Good Will Hunting, which he co-wrote with his childhood buddy Matt Damon. In 1998, he appeared in the blockbuster Armageddon and was cast in the Academy Award-winning picture Shakespeare in Love.
After appearing in a variety of other projects, Affleck went on to direct and co-write the critically praised 2007 film Gone Baby Gone. He directed, co-produced, and starred in the 2012 film Argo, which garnered him a Golden Globe for best director and a Best Picture Oscar in 2013. He made a comeback with the thriller Gone Girl (2014) and played the Dark Knight in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016).
Early Life & Career
Benjamin Geza Affleck was born in Berkeley, California, on August 15, 1972, to Chris and Tim Affleck. His parents split when he was 11 years old, shortly after his birth. Following the divorce, Affleck and his siblings relocated to Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Affleck’s first acting role was at the age of seven in The Dark End of the Street (1979), an independent film made by a family friend. Affleck made his television debut in The Voyage of the Mimi when he was eight years old. That same year, he met Matt Damon, a 10-year-old who lived two blocks away and became his future best buddy. The brothers eventually went to Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, where they both studied acting. Affleck participated in several network TV programs while still in high school.
Early Films: ‘School Ties,’ ‘Dazed and Confused’
Affleck briefly attended the University of Vermont and Occidental College in California before leaving to pursue his acting dreams in Hollywood. School Ties (1992), starring Damon and Brendan Fraser, was his first significant film. Affleck went on to play a bully in the cult masterpiece Dazed and Confused (1993). He then appeared as part of the ensemble cast in director Kevin Smith’s Mallrats (1995) and as the romantic lead in Smith’s Chasing Amy (1996). (1997).
Big Break: ‘Good Will Hunting’
Affleck and Damon wrote Good Will Hunting, a screenplay about a disturbed adolescent math genius, in 1992. Miramax obtained the film’s rights in 1996, after a long effort to get the script made. Good Will Hunting, starring Damon, Affleck, and Robin Williams, was released in 1997 to critical and popular success. Affleck and Damon received Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for best original screenplay, catapulting the buddies into the spotlight.
Following his Oscar victory, Affleck landed many high-profile film roles. He co-starred with Bruce Willis and Liv Tyler in the blockbuster catastrophe film Armageddon (1998), which became the year’s second highest-grossing film, grossing over $550 million worldwide. The same year, he received a supporting role in Shakespeare in Love, which won a number of Academy Awards, including best picture.
Affleck made waves when he began dating Shakespeare in Love co-star Gwyneth Paltrow. The pair split up in late 1998, but they remained close friends.
A year later, Affleck co-starred with Damon, Chris Rock, Janeane Garofalo, and Alanis Morissette in Kevin Smith’s irreverent comedy Dogma. That same year, he co-starred in the mediocre romantic comedy Forces of Nature, alongside Sandra Bullock.
‘Pearl Harbor,’ ‘Sum of All Fears’ and ‘Daredevil’
In 2000, Affleck appeared in the slick stock-market drama Boiler Room and starred in the fast-paced action thriller Reindeer Games, co-starring Charlize Theron and Gary Sinise. He also appeared in the romance drama Bounce alongside Paltrow.
Affleck reunited with Armageddon director-producer team Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer in the summer of 2001 for the blockbuster action film Pearl Harbor, co-starring Kate Beckinsale, Josh Hartnett, and Cuba Gooding Jr. Affleck entered himself into an upscale rehabilitation center in Malibu, California, shortly after the film’s release to get treatment for alcoholism. Affleck, the son of an alcoholic, stated via a representative that he “determined that a fuller life awaits him without alcohol.”
Affleck made his television debut in the fall of 2002, co-producing the ABC mystery series Push, Nevada. The show offered a $1 million cash prize to the viewer who solved the mystery, but it was canceled just a few weeks into the season. Affleck and Damon also re-joined forces to form the production business LivePlanet. The couple created the documentary series Project Greenlight, which allowed young screenwriters to realize their creative ambitions. The show received three Emmy nominations for reality programming.
During same year, Affleck returned to feature films as Tom Clancy’s teenage Jack Ryan in The Sum of All Fears. The film did well at the box office, solidifying Affleck’s status as an action star. Daredevil (2003), a comic book action-adventure film, followed suit, smashing a box office record for its Presidents’ Day weekend opening.
Engagement to Jennifer Lopez
Following his treatment journey, Affleck found love with actress and musician Jennifer Lopez. Their relationship thrust Affleck back into the spotlight, earning the couple the nickname “Bennifer.” Affleck proposed to Lopez in November 2003, and she began wearing a $3.5 million ring. He then co-starred in the highly anticipated film Gigli with his fiancee. Despite the hoopla, the film’s opening weekend box office sales were barely $3 million. The failure signaled the start of a rough period in Affleck’s professional and personal life.
In early 2004, Affleck and Lopez put off their wedding, citing too much media attention as the reason for the breakup. They rekindled their romance and got engaged in April 2022; they remarried in August 2022.
‘Hollywoodland’ and ‘Gone Baby Gone’
Affleck starred in the sci-fi thriller Paycheck in 2004, which bombed at the box office and was slammed by critics. His following two films, Smith’s Jersey Girl (2004) and the comedy Surviving Christmas (2004), both struggled to attract audiences’ attention.
Affleck was busy in Hollywood, appearing in Smokin’ Aces (2006), Hollywoodland (2006), the Smith-produced Clerks II (2006), and Man About Town (2006), all of which did well at the box office.
In 2007, Affleck took a turn behind the camera as the director and co-writer of the film Gone Baby Gone. Critics praised the Boston-based criminal drama, which starred the director’s brother Casey Affleck. Affleck returned to acting in 2009 with the box office blockbuster He’s Just Not That Into You, as well as the action thrillers State of Play and Extract.
Oscar Win for ‘Argo’
Argo, a film about former CIA operator Tony Mendez, who guided six American citizens to safety during the Iran hostage crisis in 1979, was one of Affleck’s best achievements both in front of and behind the camera. Affleck directed, co-produced, and played Mendez in the film.
Affleck won a Golden Globe for best director for his work on Argo. The film also received a Golden Globe for Best Drama Film and an Academy Award for Best Picture in 2013. Argo received six further Academy Award nominations, including Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Alan Arkin.
‘Gone Girl’ and ‘Batman v Superman’
Following his enormous success with Argo, Affleck embarked on a diverse range of projects. He co-starred with Justin Timberlake and Gemma Arterton in the 2013 thriller Runner Runner.
Affleck also appeared in Gone Girl (2014), a film adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s best-selling novel. He plays a husband who becomes involved in the disappearance of his celebrity wife, Rosamund Pike.
Affleck made waves in August 2013 when he agreed to play Bruce Wayne/Batman in Batman v Superman, opposite Henry Cavill as the Man of Steel. Batman fans reacted angrily to Affleck’s casting, with some even beginning a petition to have him removed from the role. Yet, Affleck received significant support from the Hollywood community, including filmmaker Joss Whedon and Val Kilmer, who featured in Batman Forever.
Although the film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice earned mostly unfavorable reviews, Affleck’s portrayal of Batman was hailed by critics. Affleck also played Batman in the smash hit Suicide Squad (2016) and repeated the role in Justice League (2017).
Originally planned to direct a Batman film, Affleck dropped out in 2017. He announced in early 2019 that he would no longer be playing the Caped Crusader on the big screen.
‘The Accountant’ and ‘Live by Night’
Aside from playing the Dark Knight, Affleck has played an autistic accountant in The Accountant (2016) and a gangster in a film adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s novel Live by Night (2016), which he also wrote and directed.
In August 2018, shortly after The Daily Beast reported on a long-running scheme involving the rigging of McDonald’s annual Monopoly promotion, Fox announced that it had won a bidding war for the film rights to the story, with Affleck attached to direct and Damon attached to star as the security officer who orchestrated the racket.
In 2019, Affleck starred as a down-on-his-luck military veteran who is recruited for a lucrative mission to take out a South American drug lord in Netflix’s Triple Frontier. He next appeared in Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (2019), before portraying a diplomat alongside Anne Hathaway’s damaged journalist in The Last Thing He Wanted (2019). (2020).
Relationship With Jennifer Garner and Alcohol
Following his split from Lopez, Affleck began dating Daredevil co-star Jennifer Garner. After nine months of dating, the couple got engaged and married on June 29, 2005. Violet Anne, their first child, was born on December 1, 2005.
Seraphina, the couple’s second daughter, was born in January 2009. Samuel, the couple’s son, was born on February 27, 2012.
After significant media criticism of their marriage, Affleck and Garner announced their divorce in 2015. Their divorce was announced just after their tenth wedding anniversary in June. Nevertheless, People magazine reported in March 2017 that the couple had called off their divorce to work on their marriage. In March, Affleck announced on Facebook that he had completed alcohol addiction treatment.
“I have completed treatment for alcohol addiction; something I’ve dealt with in the past and will continue to confront,” he wrote. “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.”
In April 2017, the couple filed for divorce. They reportedly divorced amicably and petitioned for shared legal and physical custody of their children. On October 5, 2018, their divorce was completed.
Affleck announced his new relationship with Saturday Night Live producer Lindsay Shookus in mid-2017. By August 2018, it was widely assumed that the pair had broken up, with Affleck said to be dating Playboy model Shauna Sexton.
Around that time, it was rumored that Affleck was seeking therapy for his alcoholism once more. Garner was photographed arriving at her ex-house, husband’s from which she transported him to a treatment facility in Malibu.
Affleck addressed up about his family’s past with alcoholism and mental illness in a candid interview with The New York Times in February 2020. He also blamed his drinking for hastening his divorce from Garner, calling the split his “greatest regret” in life.