Ben Affleck Talks Bennifer: Convicted Murder Scott Peterson Had 'Better' Press
Like any Hollywood A-lister, Ben Affleck is used to bad press. But there's one period of his personal life that drew a particularly poisonous breed of disdain from the press — his two-year relationship with former fiancée Jennifer Lopez.
"At the time, I knew on some level, 'This is insane,'" Affleck recalls in the latest issue of GQ of hateful headlines about the romance. "What was that guy's name who killed his wife and dumped her off the side of a boat?" he asked, referring to Scott Peterson, who is now on death row for murder of his wife Laci and unborn son Conner. "I remember thinking he actually gets slightly better treatment than I do in the press. At least they had to say 'alleged killer.'"
After shooting to fame following 1997's Good Will Hunting, Affleck became the toast of the town, as press and fans alike fawned over his and Matt Damon's success story — childhood pals from Cambridge, Mass., who quickly garnered Hollywood glory after writing and starring in the Oscar-winning film.
But all the accolades were silenced just a few years later. After starring in a string of box office bombs — Daredevil, Paycheck and critically panned Gigli — Affleck sparked a relationship with Lopez in 2002. It was a perfect storm that turned the media against him.
"Unfortunately there’s an aspect of that that’s like one of those fights you see on YouTube where one of them falls down and then a bunch of people who were standing around come over and kick the person," Affleck explains of the endless ridicule he endured during Bennifer, the pseudonym given to the celebrity couple. "They don't know them, they have no involvement in the fight, but they recognize a moment that they can get a free shot in, and for some people it's just too much to resist. And that was definitely me at that point. I was the guy. I was the designated person to loath."
And Affleck knew that his once-shiny reputation was being smeared. "I knew how disastrous it was," he says. "It was the last thing I wanted, and I could tell how it was damaging me. But there was still this idea: This is what this guy wants, he's a shallow guy, a camera whore or whatever. And there was no convincing people that that wasn't the case."