Last week was probably the most publicly challenging for Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez since getting back together in April, following his overblown controversial interview with Howard Stern. Ben defiantly pushed back on Jimmy Kimmel against the backlash over his comments, counter-criticising the media for taking his remarks out of context, and despite the fact that it was reported that JLo was pissed at him for what he said, she joined him backstage for the appearance, making sure to be photographed with him arriving at the studio, which should have been enough to downplay the situation and change the conversation. It’s not like both of them don’t know how. And, besides, as I wrote last week, JLo is ride-or-die, I wasn’t buying that at this stage of their relationship, she was anything less than 100 on support for him.
So much so that she decided to double down on her public show of solidarity by releasing an exclusive statement to PEOPLE this weekend:
“Despite media reports that Lopez took offense at Affleck's comments related to his ex-wife, Jennifer Garner, during a recent interview with Howard Stern, the On My Way singer says the rumors are utterly off-base.
"This story is simply not true," Lopez tells PEOPLE exclusively. "It is not how I feel."
She adds of Affleck, with whom she rekindled a romantic relationship earlier this year, "I couldn't have more respect for Ben as a father, a co-parent, and a person."
I mean, got it, but also… unnecessary? “A picture is worth a thousand words” is the cliché, but those pictures of her with Ben last week at Kimmel already said what she repeated to PEOPLE – and these two are such a heatscore, there are always going to be rumours about them while they’re together, and if they’re no longer together. Offering up a comment like this only extends the life of this story, which was already starting to wane. Strategically, I don’t see what the additional gain was to put more energy into it. In fact, it may even be a loss, since it would only give skeptics more reason to throw down a “the lady doth protest too much”. It does kinda take the glow off.
On the other hand, if you favour the Bennifer side of things, you could argue that they’re so adamant about correcting this because, as Ben said on Kimmel, he doesn’t give a sh-t if you want to mock him over his tattoos, turn him into a sad meme, but he draws the line at his kids, at accusations of bad parenting, because that is a sensitivity, probably for most parents. So they want it on the record that all of this was bullsh-t, not just to correct media inaccuracies but probably for his kids’ and their experience. They’re old enough to be online now and to have their peers and their parents hear about the drama. That, I would imagine, is one of the considerations too.
Now, though, the only move is to move beyond it. It’s the holidays now – the first Bennifer 2.0 holiday and this weekend they were seen separately running holiday errands. JLo went shopping with her sister. Ben went shopping separately with his mother, his kids, and JLo’s kids, so there’s a new level of closeness happening as JLo’s kids are spending time with Ben even when she’s not around.
JLo usually shares a lot of holiday content on Instagram. I wonder what this Christmas is going to look like.