Everyone has an opinion on Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez getting back together. Some people think it’s a soft place for her to land after whatever it is that ARod did to her, that Ben is familiar and a high profile way to rebound to take up the spotlight, to distract from a broken engagement. Then again… maybe it’s really not about ARod. Like, sure, his social media creeping on Madison LeCroy, and whoever else, possibly, may have been the impetus for her to pull the trigger but now that Bennifer is once again on the gossip front page, and we can compare it to four years of JRod, was there any heat there?
JLo and ARod made a lot of sense, on paper. And they certainly shared business interests. And it was indeed a power couple situation. But was it power and PASSION? Bennifer is giving us a lot of nostalgia, and there was next level infatuation happening between those two back in those days. She was giddy, he was giddy, they were both horny. And I don’t think there was anything between her and ARod that approached that energy.
So, yeah, it may be a soft place to land but it may also be that, given their history, it’s not as much about getting back at ARod as is about picking up a thread that was never resolved. You remember what JLo said in True Love, her book that came out a few years ago? This is what she wrote about her marriage to Marc Anthony:
“Marc came back into my life three days after I should have been at the altar saying 'I do' to another man. Thinking back, maybe deep down I knew that this was a Band-Aid on the cut, that my wound hadn't been stitched or healed. But I pushed all that to the back of my mind.”
Band-Aid on the cut…
Wasn’t there always going to be a sequel to this cliffhanger? Regardless of ARod? Let’s stop pretending that ARod matters here and not assign him any more significance than he deserves. Because for all the people saying that she’s doing it to get back at ARod – that’s giving him too much credit and not appreciating the power, both external and evidently internal, of the Bennifer mystique. They dominated an entire era of gossip. And they may be starting a new one.
If there is an issue of perception, then, that too is external and internal. Externally, there are those who are like, Ben Affleck in 2021 is a downgrade for Jennifer Lopez. She’s JLo with the eternal glow. She’s a bigger deal now than she was then, when they were engaged. She has an empire. She is …well… look at her, the woman is ridiculous. And then there’s Ben. Where once upon a time he was the Oscar winner and Hollywood’s Boy Wonder, Ben’s taken some blows. He’s been a punchline. He’s been a meme, several memes in fact. And, um, that tattoo.
So from the pop culture audience point of view, yeah, Ben’s status in these times may not be on par with hers, at least from the outside. On the inside, though, in Hollywood, he’s actually got a big year ahead. Ben just wrapped on a George Clooney film, The Tender Bar, that could be a contender during award season. He’s starring with Matt Damon and Adam Driver in Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel, expected at the end of the year. And he’s still getting his projects financed, as he’s lined up his next directorial feature about the making of Chinatown which so many headliners in Hollywood will want to be a part of. So if we’re talking about perception, from the industry perspective, Ben’s not a downgrade at all for JLo based on the internal criteria of the Hollywood ecosystem. In fact, if they can make it work, by all measures in that space, they are a major power couple. If he can stay out of his own way. That’s always been Ben Affleck’s problem.
Finally… one more thought…
I just listed several of Ben’s upcoming projects – save one: Deep Water…with Ana de Armas. Deep Water isn’t scheduled for release until January 2022, so all of this is way premature. Like, we don’t even know if Bennifer 2021 will make it to next month, let alone next year. But if that’s even a possibility, well, that red carpet just got even more interesting.
And the thing is, let’s not forget that with Ana, Ben was the dude was dating one of the hypest girls in the game. And don’t think that JLo didn’t notice. In her mind, I wonder if that looked good on him. In her mind, and maybe in a certain convenient narrative, I wonder if they tell each other that Ana was a placeholder for the one from way back.