Jennifer Lopez Cozies Up to Ben Affleck in Birthday Photos: "Extremely Grateful"
If there's any proof that love can thrive a second time around, it's undoubtedly Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck's romance. The two were once the biggest duo of the early 2000s and arguably inspired the trend of celebrity couple names when they were dubbed "Bennifer" by fans. The pair split in January 2004 just before their intended wedding, meaning their whirlwind relationship only lasted two years. But true love never goes away, as they managed to find their way back to one another nearly 20 years later.
Bennifer came back in full force, with Lopez announcing on April 9, 2022, that the pair had gotten engaged. In her April 12, 2022, "On the JLo" newsletter, she revealed more details about the engagement. "Saturday night while at my favorite place on earth (in the bubble bath), my beautiful love got on one knee and proposed," she wrote of Affleck. "I was taken totally off guard and just looked in his eyes smiling and crying at the same time."
Lopez added that she was "trying hard to get my head around the fact that after 20 years this was happening all over again." She continued, "I was quite literally speechless and he said, 'Is that a yes?' I said, 'YES of course that's a YES.'"
Three months after announcing their engagement, Lopez and Affleck tied the knot in a small Vegas ceremony after obtaining a marriage license in Clark County, NV, on July 16, 2022. The former confirmed the news the following day, once again in her newsletter, writing, "We did it. Love is beautiful. Love is kind. And it turns out love is patient. Twenty years patient." The pair also got married in a second ceremony in Georgia the following month, where they were surrounded by friends and family.
From Affleck and Lopez's initial sparks on the set of the movie "Gigli" and the rekindling of their romance in 2021 to their surprise wedding, first event appearance as husband and wife, holidays together, and more, here's all you need to know about the couple's relationship timeline.
— Additional reporting by Alicia Geigel and Njera Perkins
December 2001: Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck Meet on the Set of "Gigli"
Affleck and Lopez first crossed paths in late 2001 on the set of 2003's "Gigli." The movie may have been a box office bomb, but sparks were definitely flying between the two stars off-set. At the time, J Lo was still married to her second husband, dancer Cris Judd, but as she later recalled during a 2016 interview with People, she knew she had something special with Affleck. "I felt like . . . 'Okay, this is it,'" she said.
July 2002: Jennifer Lopez Files For Divorce From Cris Judd
Just about six months after "Gigli" began filming, Lopez and Judd separated, and in July 2002, J Lo officially filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences, per People. Not long after, Bennifer was born, though Jennifer insisted nothing happened between her and Affleck until she'd ended things with Judd. When asked how they first fell in love during a 2003 interview with Dateline's Pat O'Brien, Lopez said, "You can't pinpoint it. We became friends first. That is the honest to God truth."
November 2002: Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck Announce Their Engagement
During a November 2002 interview with Diane Sawyer, Jennifer announced her engagement to Affleck and showed off her new six-carat pink diamond ring. When asked about the proposal, J Lo told Sawyer it was "traditional, but also in a very spectacular way, as of course Ben would do it . . . It was very, very beautiful." She also gushed to Sawyer about her and Affleck's similar upbringings and revealed how Affleck won over her mother.
Around the same time, the music video for "Jenny From the Block" debuted on "TRL." The video prominently featured Affleck in several raunchy scenes, and though it delighted fans, Affleck later admitted he regretted the move. "If I have a regret, it was doing the ['Jenny From the Block'] music video," he told Daily Record in 2008. "But that happened years ago. I've moved on."
September 2003: Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck Call Off Their Wedding
Just four days before they planned to say "I do" in Santa Barbara, Bennifer decided to delay the big day, shocking fans. "Due to the excessive media attention surrounding our wedding, we have decided to postpone the date," the couple confirmed in a statement. "When we found ourselves seriously contemplating hiring three separate 'decoy brides' at three different locations, we realized that something was awry. We began to feel that the spirit of what should have been the happiest day of our lives could be compromised. We felt what should have been a joyful and sacred day could be spoiled for us, our families and our friends."
January 2004: Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck Officially Announce Their Breakup
In January 2004, four months after postponing their wedding, Affleck and Lopez announced they'd called off their engagement for good. "I am confirming the report that Jennifer Lopez has ended her engagement to Ben Affleck," her rep said in a statement at the time. "At this difficult time, we ask that you respect her privacy." Though a reason wasn't provided, it was widely reported that the constant media attention became too much for Affleck.
A few weeks after the initial breakup reports emerged, a source close to the couple told People the relationship had been deteriorating for months. "It was hard to merge their two lifestyles," the insider claimed. "When you love someone, the media circus does not get in the way. You say, 'Okay, we'll figure it out. Let's do it.' Jennifer didn't realize it at that moment, but when [Ben] called [the wedding] off, the relationship was over. He got out of the trap and he wasn't going to get back in. He was looking for a graceful way to let it die."
October 2008: Ben Affleck Opens Up About His Split With Jennifer Lopez
The breakup remained a mystery for years until Affleck opened up about the split during a 2008 appearance on the British TV show "Live." According to him, the constant media scrutiny did put a strain on the relationship, as fans suspected. "I think Jen and I made a mistake in that we fell in love, we were excited and maybe too accessible," he explained. "I don't think either of us anticipated the degree to which it would take on a world of its own."
March 2016: Jennifer Lopez Says Tabloid Attention Affected Her Relationship With Ben Affleck
Almost seven-and-a-half years after Affleck's interview, J Lo told her own side of the story during a 2016 interview with People. She expressed a similar sentiment, saying pressure from the public made the romance unsustainable. "We didn't try to have a public relationship," she said. "We just happened to be together at the birth of the tabloids, and it was like 'Oh my God.' It was just a lot of pressure . . . I think different time different thing, who knows what could've happened, but there was a genuine love there."
She reflected on the demise of their relationship again during her December 2017 Vanity Fair cover interview, where she revealed the breakup with Affleck had been devastating. " . . . my relationship [with Ben] self-destructed in front of the entire world," she said. "It was a two-year thing for me until I picked myself up again."
February 2020: Ben Affleck Compliments Jennifer Lopez's Performance in "Hustlers"
Many fans were bummed when J Lo didn't receive an Oscar nod for her work in 2019's "Hustlers," and apparently, Affleck was equally disappointed. "She should have been nominated," he told New York Times reporter Brooks Barnes soon after the nominations were released. "She's the real thing. I keep in touch periodically with her and have a lot of respect for her. How awesome is it that she had her biggest hit movie at 50? That's f*cking baller."
Just about a year later, when he was interviewed for Lopez's May 2021 InStyle cover story, Affleck praised his then-ex once again while reflecting on their time working together on "Gigli" and on their 2004 film "Jersey Girl." "She remains, to this day, the hardest-working person I've come across in this business," he said. "She has great talent, but she has also worked very hard for her success, and I'm so happy for her that she seems, at long last, to be getting the credit she deserves."
April 2021: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez Spark Reconciliation Rumors
In April 2021, not long after J Lo announced her split from ARod, reports emerged claiming she was hanging out with Affleck again. A source for People claimed Lopez and Affleck had been spending time together since J Lo's breakup, with Affleck even visiting Lopez at her Los Angeles home on April 30. "They are friends. They have always been friends and they have seen each other through the years," another source told the outlet.
May 2021: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez Turn Up the Heat
May 2021 was a busy month for Lopez and Affleck. The two continued to spark rumors they were rekindling their romance after Lopez was seen with Affleck near the Big Sky resort in Montana. A source told People at the time, "[Jennifer] spent several days with Ben out of town. They have a strong connection. It's all been quick and intense, but Jennifer is happy." Later in May, the pair were seen in Miami, with Affleck visiting the singer while she was working, according to Page Six.
On May 26, just two days after they were seen in Miami, a source confirmed to Us Weekly that all the speculation was true. "Jen and Ben are both very happy with each [other] and are excited to see where the relationship goes," the source said. "They are full-on dating and very happy together."
July 2021: Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck Are Instagram Official
In June 2021, Lopez finally confirmed her rekindled relationship with Affleck herself. The "Marry Me" star shared a post on Instagram celebrating her 52nd birthday, looking as amazing as ever in a bikini adorned with gold jewelry. The post contained multiple pictures, the very last one being a photo of her and Affleck kissing. Her caption read, "5 2 … what it do . . ." with a pink heart emoji.
To think there was no such thing as becoming "Instagram official" when this pair first dated back in 2001!
September 2021: Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck Make Their Red Carpet Debut 2.0
Throughout the summer of 2021, Lopez and Affleck were seen together in public many times, but it wasn't until September 2021 that the two made their red carpet debut since they rekindled their relationship. The pair were pictured PDA-ing, sharing a kiss, and being generally flirty together. Lopez joined Affleck at the Venice International Film Festival in support of his film "The Last Duel" in which he starred with Matt Damon and Adam Driver.
February 2022: Jennifer Lopez Raves About Ben Affleck in People
Throughout the remainder of 2021, Bennifer's relationship was going strong, and by February 2022, the singer opened up to People about just how happy she was with her new beau. "I feel so lucky and happy and proud to be with him . . . It's a beautiful love story that we got a second chance," she said.
Lopez also reflected on how their relationship is much different from their initial romance nearly 20 years ago. "We're older now, we're smarter, we have more experience, we're at different places in our lives, we have kids now, and we have to be very conscious of those things. We're so protective because it is such a beautiful time for all of us," she shared.
March 2022: Ben Affleck Makes a Surprise Appearance in Jennifer Lopez's “Marry Me” Music Video
In February 2022, Lopez's film, "Marry Me," hit theaters. The film centers on finding love in unusual places and following your heart, which couldn't be more in line with the actor's rekindled relationship with Affleck. The following month, the music video for one of the film's songs, "Marry Me," dropped, and the internet immediately picked up on Affleck's appearance in it.
Though you never see his face, Affleck's side profile, including his neck and arms, is seen as he embraces Lopez on a bed. This is not the first of Lopez's music videos that Affleck has appeared in. Remember, he was the love interest in the singer's 2002 "Jenny From the Block" music video! (But let's hope he never comes to regret appearing in this one!)
April 2022: Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck Get Engaged . . . Again!
They say true love is worth waiting for, and for Lopez and Affleck, that couldn't be more true. Almost 20 years after they broke off their engagement in January 2004, the singer announced in her newsletter, "On the JLo," that she and Affleck were once again engaged, calling it "her biggest dream come true."
In the newsletter "How It Went Down," J Lo described how Affleck romantically proposed to her. "Saturday night while at my favorite place on earth (in the bubble bath), my beautiful love got on one knee and proposed," she said via People. "I was taken totally off guard and just looked in his eyes smiling and crying at the same time trying hard to get my head around the fact that after 20 years this was happening all over again, I was quite literally speechless and he said, 'is that a yes?' I said YES of course that's a YES."
Lopez went on to say that the proposal was "nothing fancy at all, but it was the most romantic thing I could've ever imagined" and called her and Affleck "two very lucky people who got a second chance at true love."
July 2022: Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck Get Married
Nearly 19 years after calling off their first wedding, Lopez and Affleck finally tied the knot in a small ceremony at Las Vegas's Little White Wedding Chapel, shortly after obtaining their marriage license in Clark County, NV, on July 16. Per the marriage license obtained by POPSUGAR, Lopez will legally change her name to Jennifer Affleck.
Lopez confirmed the couple's nuptials to her fans in her July 17 "On the JLo" newsletter. "We did it. Love is beautiful. Love is kind. And it turns out love is patient. Twenty years patient," she wrote. "Exactly what we wanted. Last night we flew to Vegas, stood in line for a license with four other couples, all making the same journey to the wedding capital of the world . . . When love is real, the only thing that matters in marriage is one another and the promise we make to love, care, understand, be patient, loving and good to one another. We had that. And so much more. Best night of our lives."
The new bride also shared photos from the pair's wedding night, including selfies with the groom and snaps of their outfits (Lopez wore two dresses).
October 2022: Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck's First Event Appearance as a Married Couple
While the newly married couple has been spotted several times while out and about since their July wedding, they made their first appearance as husband and wife at an official event on Oct. 13, posing for a coupley photo opp at the Ralph Lauren Spring 2023 ready-to-wear runway show in California. The couple looked as smiley and in love as always.
June 2023: Jennifer Lopez Wishes Ben Affleck Happy Father's Day
In honor of Father's Day, Lopez shared a "daddy appreciation post" on Instagram for Affleck, writing alongside a shirtless pic of him, "Happy Father's Day Papa." She added in her June 18 post, "And Happy Father's Day to all the amazing Papas out there!! We love you and appreciate you more than you will ever know 🤍."
July 2023: Jennifer Lopez Celebrates 1-Year Wedding Anniversary With Ben Affleck
On July 18, Lopez commemorated the one-year anniversary of her surprise Las Vegas wedding to Affleck by teasing the song she wrote about it, "Midnight Trip to Vegas," which appears on her upcoming "This Is Me... Now" album. "One year since our Midnight Trip To Vegas . . . 🤍♠️❤️ Go to On The JLo for a special surprise . . . #ThisIsMeNow," she wrote on Instagram, also posting two photos of her wearing a special anniversary dress. Per photos obtained by People, the singer was spotted wearing it on July 16 to her dinner date with Affleck at the Giorgio Baldi restaurant in Santa Monica, CA.
To further celebrate her wedding anniversary, Lopez also shared the full lyrics to "Midnight Trip to Vegas" in her "On the JLo" newsletter on July 18. The update also included a snippet of her singing along to the song, mouthing lyrics like, "Then you whispered in my ear / Said let's get out of here / We can disappear tonight / What about a / Midnight trip to Vegas / Just me and you baby / Throw the kids in the back / Of the pink Cadillac / And us in the bathroom changing."
July 2023: Jennifer Lopez Celebrates Her 54th Birthday Party With Ben Affleck
Lopez turned 54 on July 24, and a few days later, she shared a window into the celebration via her newsletter, "On the JLo" — and included a few photos of herself cozying up to Affleck while sporting a glamorous silver gown.
"Thank you all for the birthday love," she wrote in the newsletter. "Here's a lil peek into my party. Ben hosted it at our new house with our closest family and friends. All the kids were there, it was a gorgeous day full of sunshine and perfect for a pool party!! I felt so appreciated and acknowledged by my loved ones, and I'm extremely grateful to be where I am today at this point in my life's journey with so many beautiful, caring people to share it all with. Wishing you all the same love and happiness on your birthday and always!!!"