There has been heightened intrigue about Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck’s marriage since last week. I haven’t posted about it here until now for the sake of economy – this is Bennifer we’re talking about, and there was a weekend coming up, and what people were saying last Wednesday was never going to stand, it would always have to be updated, because paps and tabloids and TikTok and it’s a waste of words to have to do a fresh post every time there’s a new angle on the situation.

 

What IS the situation? 

Up until a few days ago Bennifer hadn’t been seen together in public for over a month, including at the Met Gala where JLo attended on her own as co-chair. Ben meanwhile showed up at Tom Brady’s seemingly interminable and regrettable roast. Last week, following rumours that they’d broken up, Ben was seen leaving a home in Brentwood, suggesting that he has not been living on the estate that they bought together last year. He was photographed wearing his ring and then not wearing his ring. And even PEOPLE couldn’t come up with a source quote dismissing the rampant speculation about their relationship. 

Then, over the weekend, Bennifer was seen together at events involving their children. Over the weekend they were photographed in a car together, and Ben seemed to hold up his phone, giving photographers a shot at how JLo is saved – “Jennifer Affleck” – even though she was sitting right next to him. 

 

But last night JLo attended the Atlas premiere without him, though she is still wearing her wedding band. She was also wearing it on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and she namechecked him when she was telling a story about meeting Barbra Streisand years ago, the first time they were engaged. So let’s not forget that while all this is happening, whatever is happening, JLo still has to be out here, ever the professional, promoting her movie, facing the cameras and not running from them. Which probably isn’t easy, not even for her. 

 

So what, exactly, is going on? Multiple outlets, including the more reliable ones, like PEOPLE and ET Online have reported that there are indeed conflicts between them and that they’re taking their time to figure things out. This happens in every marriage – and if you’ve been married, this shouldn’t be news. It’s even more complicated when the two people in the marriage are as famous as Bennifer. 

Clearly they aren’t entirely over. And clearly they aren’t entirely OK. Any reporting then that declares them entirely over is probably premature. But imagine being in a marriage where everyone is waiting for it to end? Some of them even gleefully? 

 

That’s what it’s been like on TikTok for months now with JLo. It’s an outsized and disturbing amount of hate directed at JLo on that platform and I’m not here to say that it’s OK for anyone to be rude to anyone else, particularly those in the service industry, what I’m talking about is proportion. And the attacks on JLo on TikTok are disproportionate. 

So it’s been a rough go for her outside of what’s going on inside her marriage. But where the marriage is falling apart, though it’s too soon to tell if Bennifer V2.0 will go the way of Bennifer the OG, what hasn’t changed is the reporting. The reporting is, after 20 years, still f-cking gross. 

Page Six, not quite as MRA as TMZ but not far from it, published a story yesterday from an “insider” about how Ben Affleck has “come to his senses” and is done with the marriage: 

"If there was a way to divorce on grounds of temporary insanity, he would,” our insider shares. “He feels like the last two years was just a fever dream, and he’s come to his senses now and understands there is just no way this is going to work.”

 

If this really is a “source” connected to Ben Affleck, this person is an asshole, and it makes Ben Affleck look like an asshole, because describing getting married to her as “temporary insanity” is so insulting and so misogynist, I don’t understand why they think it would make him look good. 

The suggestion here, of course, is that she’s such a f-cking nightmare, you’d have to be crazy to want to marry her. The implication here is that he’s a victim, that he was held hostage by his own mental health and her alleged sorcery and manipulation and now he’s somehow broken out of the spell that this witch-bitch has cast on him, he’s ready to break free. 

Have we forgotten that JLo was minding her own business, about to break up with Alex Rodriguez, when Ben slid into her inbox and started sending her emails, wooing her with his letters or whatever the f-ck he was writing? And before that he was willingly providing quotes in magazine profiles about her, talking up her talent and dedication and amazingness. 

So how is SHE the villain now? 

 

Relationships fall apart. Her relationships fall apart a lot. But, like, um, if we’re keeping score, it’s not like his relationships don’t fall apart either. And yet that’s not how this relationship has been described – the blame game is falling only on one side: she’s too much of a famewhore and he can’t handle it; which is what happened the first time, but this time around he seemed, at least up until recently, to be much more comfortable with her approach to celebrity. Comfortable enough to not only show up in her documentary but also PRODUCE it. 

Did we forget the part where Artists’ Equity, his production company with Matt Damon, is listed in the credits for The Greatest Love Story Never Told

The hater parade on TikTok’s answer to this seemed to be that he was forced, that she forced him, put a gun to his head and made him do all these things. Great. Way to absolve a man of the decisions he’s made in his life and put it all on the woman. Is it really 2024? 

It’s the easy thing to point to, the celebrity angle, and how much JLo enjoys the attention and how Ben enjoys it until he doesn’t. In that reflex, it’s also easy to forget that this is not a simple man. Whatever the issues in this marriage, it can’t be all her. But she’s the one eating all the sh-t for it. Kinda reminds me of the piece Jennifer Weiner wrote this week in the NYT about how women, specifically wives, are getting blamed in political scandals. The last time JLo had to eat all the sh-t for the demise of Bennifer, she bounced back and exceeded his level of fame. If this really is where their relationship is headed, maybe she’ll do it again.