Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez

Twenty years ago, there was no couple hotter than Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. The dashing actor and sizzling “I’m Real” singer —dubbed  Bennifer —became engaged in 2002 (remember that massive pink diamond?) and became tabloid media”s number one obsession.

Now, 17 year since their headline-making split, the Justice League star is looking back on the high-profile relationship, opening up to The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast about just how intense the attention was.

“There’s always a story of the month, and me dating Jennifer Lopez happened to be that tabloid story at the time when that business grew exponentially … they needed something to write about and we were that thing,” he recalled. “Still, to this day, [some] will go, ‘I see you out there in the paparazzi and the pictures!’ It’s like, ‘Yes, I left my house and took out the trash. It’s not like I’m trying to —’ And it’s still like, ‘You were taking a pap walk!’ As if, if you leave your house, you’re only doing so in the hope that you could be so lucky that you could end up as the sixth item in The Daily Mail. It’s absurd.”

Ben Affleck waits for Jennifer Lopez

The 48-year-old also remembered how that he and the Latina beauty faced a slew of vicious comments throughout their relationship.

“People were so f**king mean about her — sexist, racist, ugly, vicious s**t was written about her in ways that if you wrote it now you would literally be fired for saying those things you said,” he continued. “Now it’s like, she’s lionized and respected for the work she did, where she came from, what she accomplished — as well she f**king should be! I would say you have a better shot, coming from the Bronx, of ending up as like [Justice Sonia] Sotomayor on the Supreme Court than you do of having Jennifer Lopez’s career and being who she is at 50 years old today.”

"Maid in Manhattan" Premiere - Inside Arrivals

The soap-opera like romance of 18 months ran from 2002 to 2004. Affleck famously appeared in his JLo’s “Jenny From The Block” music video which some called “cringeworthy” and he later admitted was a mistake. They also starred together in the blockbuster bomb, Gigli, which was subsequently blamed on the amount of negative publicity they had received at the time.

“We reshot [Gigli’s] ending five times,” he revealed in the podcast. “[It was like putting] a horse’s head on a cow’s body. It was never gonna work, and the name was funny.”

“I was actually in the very worst position you can be in in this business, which is you can sell magazines but not movie tickets,” he mused “People were just saying, ‘You’re worthless. You’re talentless. You’re a hack. You’re a cad. You’re a nobody. You’re sh*t.'”

Gigli 2003

Following his split from Lopez, Affleck went on to marry his Daredevil co-star, Jennifer Garner, and have three kids: daughters, Violet and Seraphina, and son, Samuel. They divorced in 2018. He is now dating actress Ana de Armas, with whom he co-stars in the upcoming erotic thriller, Deep Water. JLo for her part married fellow singer, Marc Anthony and gave birth to twins, Max and Emme. They split in 2001. She’s currently engaged to former baseball pro Alex Rodriguez.,