Ben Affleck would like to set the record straight once and for all on whether or not he blamed his ex-wife Jennifer Garner for his alcohol addiction.
In case you don’t recall, the 50-year-old actor appeared on The Howard Stern Show in 2021 and opened up about his struggles with alcoholism. But rather than being praised for his vulnerability, Ben faced intense backlash after he said in the interview, “part of why I started drinking was because I was trapped” — in his marriage to Jennifer. Oof. He also said he would “probably still be drinking” if they were still together. Yeah…
These comments had many — including some of her friends — thinking he was holding the Alias alum responsible for his addiction. And considering Jennifer had been a big supporter during his journey to sobriety even after their divorce, fans were (understandably) not happy about the shadiness of that interview!
Related: Ben Affleck Finally Reveals What He Told J.Lo During Tense Grammys Moment!
The Good Will Hunting star later walked those words back, insisting on Jimmy Kimmel Live! that his comments were misconstrued and he’d “never want my kids to think that I would ever say a bad thing about their mom.” But that didn’t help end the controversy. Now Ben is looking back on the backlash he received after The Howard Stern Show conversation once again, this time in a new interview published by The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday.
While speaking about why he doesn’t use Instagram like his wife Jennifer Lopez, the filmmaker shared that he’s “become very guarded” after his comments about his addiction were taken the wrong way:
“I view these things as land mines, where if you say one wrong thing, your career might be over. I had a really painful experience where I did an interview where I was really vulnerable, and the entire pickup was something that was not only not right, it was actually the opposite of what I meant.”
He then made it clear he takes full accountability for his alcoholism during his marriage with the 13 Going On 30 star, saying:
“The idea that I was blaming my wife for my drinking. To be clear, my behavior is my responsibility entirely.”
Attempting to clarify his original comments, Ben explained that the point he was trying to make was “a sad one” about his divorce:
“Anyone who’s been through divorce makes that calculus of, How much do we try? We loved each other. We care about each other. We have respect for each other. I was trying to say, ‘Hey, look, I was drinking too much, and the less happy you become, whether it’s your job, your marriage, it’s just that as your life becomes more difficult, if you’re doing things to fill a hole that aren’t healthy, you’re going to start doing more of those things.’ I think I was pretty articulate about that.”
However, he complained publications “deliberately mischaracterized it in order to make it clickbait,” adding:
“It didn’t matter how many times I said, ‘I do not feel this way. I’m telling you, I don’t blame my ex-wife for my alcoholism.’ So, yeah. It’s hard.”
Look, it’s nice that Ben is saying he doesn’t actually feel Garner was to blame for his alcoholism — but you can’t deny everyone got it right what he said. Heck, even as he’s trying to clarify it, he’s still basically saying the same thing — he was sadder because of his marriage, and it caused him to drink more. It seems like it doesn’t matter how many words he uses, that’s the truth he’s getting at. He can call everyone’s inference from that “clickbait” if he wants, but no one “mischaracterized” it when he said to Howard Stern verbatim:
“We probably would’ve ended up at each other’s throats. I probably still would’ve been drinking. Part of why I started drinking was because I was trapped.”
So he really cannot blame anyone for how they took it! Just saying. But what do YOU think about his latest remarks on the matter, Perezicious readers? Let us know in the comments below! You can also ch-ch-check out Ben’s interview with The Hollywood Reporter HERE.
If you or someone you know is experiencing substance abuse, help is available. Consider checking out the resources SAMHSA provides at https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline or check out StartYourRecovery.org
[Image via MEGA/WENN, The Hollywood Reporter/YouTube]