We definitely didn’t expect the latest early-’00s pop culture throwback to be a possible rekindling between famous exes Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, and yet, here we are! The couple formerly known as “Bennifer” was a Hollywood staple in the early 2000s, and it’s been so long that you might not even remember how they met in the first place.
Lopez and Affleck first met in 2001 when they were both cast in Gigli, a rom-com released in 2003. Affleck starred as Larry Gigli, a low-level Los Angeles mobster with an inflated sense of his own importance, opposite Lopez as Ricki, a woman hired by Larry’s boss to make sure he gets his latest job done right. At the time they met, Lopez was still married to her second husband, dancer Cris Judd, but rumors about her chemistry with her costar Affleck picked up pretty quickly. Once she and Judd publicly split, she and Affleck went public.
“I felt like . . . ‘Okay, this is it,'” Lopez told People in 2016, reflecting on her and Affleck’s initial meeting. “I think different time different thing, who knows what could’ve happened, but there was a genuine love there.” She also recalled the pressures of being a high-profile celebrity couple during that era. “We didn’t try to have a public relationship. 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.”
As it turned out, neither the couple nor the movie they met on lasted the test of time. After getting engaged in late 2002, Lopez and Affleck postponed their wedding a day before the ceremony in September 2003, then broke up in January 2004. Gigli, meanwhile, was a massive flop at the box office and has gone down in history as one of the worst movies of all time (it sits at an incredibly low 6 percent on Rotten Tomatoes). Lopez went on to date longtime friend Marc Anthony, who she married in 2004 and had twins with in 2008; their relationship ended in 2011. Affleck, meanwhile, began dating Jennifer Garner. They married in 2005 and had three children together before their divorce in 2017.