Ben Affleck talks about alcoholism and his divorce from Jennifer Garner in New York Times interview
Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner finalized their divorce at the end of 2018, more than three years after they first announced their separation, and although the public made their assumptions about the truth behind their split, Affleck hasn’t been this candid about their relationship until now. In a new interview with The New York Times, Affleck got real about the effect that his alcohol dependency has had on his life — and specifically, his marriage — calling his divorce from Garner, “The biggest regret of my life.”
“I drank relatively normally for a long time,” Affleck admitted. “What happened was that I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart. This was 2015, 2016. My drinking, of course, created more marital problems.”
The couple wed in 2005 and announced their “decision to divorce” in 2015, finalizing it in 2018. Late last year, Affleck opened up about his sobriety online, but shortly after was caught on camera seemingly relapsing at a Halloween party. “I really wish it wasn’t on the internet for my kids to see,” Affleck said. “Jen and I did our best to address it and be honest.”
Through all this, Affleck insists that “the biggest regret of my life is this divorce,” adding that “I have certainly made mistakes. I have certainly done things that I regret. But you’ve got to pick yourself up, learn from it, learn some more, try to move forward.”
One of the reasons Affleck is opening up now is that he’s playing an alcoholic with marital problems in the upcoming film The Way Back. In one of the scenes, he confronts his wife and says “I failed you. I failed our marriage.” Affleck says that playing a character that’s going through similar problems as his own was “very therapeutic.”
Affleck says that honesty is one of the major tenants he’s walked away with since going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and that it took a “long time” to admit he had a drinking problem.
“It took me a long time to fundamentally, deeply, without a hint of doubt, admit to myself that I am an alcoholic,” Affleck said. “The next drink will not be different.”