It was a Friday afternoon gossip dump… of a different kind. The Friday afternoon gossip dump, usually, is when celebrities want to bury a story before the weekend, in the hopes that it won’t get much coverage because people are checked out. And if they’re trying to bury a story, it’s generally not good news – a breakup, a lawsuit, some kind of scandal. This play was obviously more effective before Twitter and social media but that doesn’t mean it still doesn’t happen. For the most sophisticated celebrities, the ones who know exactly how to work the system, sometimes it happens by design. That’s where we find Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, aka the OG Bennifer, and the best thing to happen to gossip since the Television Event of the Year.
Page Six broke it on Friday, just after 4pm, publishing pap shots of JLo and Ben, separate, but he was seen being driven around in her SUV and reportedly he’s been “spotted multiple times going to J.Lo’s California home during the day”. Since then, there have been all kinds of source stories about how they’ve always maintained a warm relationship since the split, have always been friendly, with a soft suggestion that this, really, is just friendship, even though, let’s be honest, gossip culture is all about it, hoping that there’s a possibility here… somewhere.
If it is a possibility, it would be a first for JLo. As I’ve said, she takes her time getting out the door, but once she’s out the door, she slams it shut behind her. She has never gotten back together with an ex so there’s no pattern here. Then again, something I’ve mentioned several times over the last few weeks, this is the first time JLo and Ben have both been single at the same time in years, maybe since they ended their engagement. And my mind goes to Elizabeth Taylor because that comparison does come up and for Elizabeth Taylor there was always Richard Burton. Is Ben JLo’s Richard Burton?!
Before we use up any more energy anticipating another Bennifer pink diamond engagement, let’s talk about the timing of all of this. JLo officially ended it with Alex Rodriguez a couple of weeks ago. They met up last week, which put him back in the headlines, and then he tried to extend his moment in her sun by posting shots of his weight loss. In other words he’s fronting like there’s been a breakup glow-up. Reaction was tepid, at best. JLo is the only reason anyone in the culture ever cared about ARod. Nobody gives a sh-t about his makeover. And they certainly don’t give a sh-t about him now that Ben Affleck’s stopping by her place.
I wonder if that was a little flex on her part. As Maria pointed out when the pictures were first released on Friday, her window is rolled down in those pap shots. The whole point of celebrity SUVs with tinted windows is to not be seen, and she’s out here being driven around with her window wide open, like she doesn’t have 25 years of celebrity experience. Here’s another note on timing – it was Ana de Armas’s birthday on Friday. I’ll just leave that there.
Conveniently, JLo and Ben were both part of the Global Citizen VAX Live event yesterday. They didn’t appear together – he was with Jimmy Kimmel and her mother was her date – but he came on right after her during the show:
If you want to believe they’re together then, asking the organisers to schedule them back-to-back would suggest they could arrive and leave at the same time.
And, per Joanna’s email to me this morning, singing “Sweet Caroline” … is there any other song more closely associated with Fenway Park, the home of the Boston Red Sox – and don’t we all remember Bennifer at the Red Sox games?
The added layer to this, of course, is that in baseball, the Red Sox are the sworn enemies of Yankees, and I think we all remember who played for the Yankees.
Coincidence or conspiracy?
Whatever, I don’t care, does it matter? This is theatre! This is the theatre of Bennifer – we don’t even know for sure if Bennifer is actually a legit sequel and already the theatre is pure joy and entertainment. Which is why there’s so much excitement and intrigue over this. Because we remember what they gave us all those years ago. On some level THEY must remember what they gave us, and each other, all those years ago. I feel like Ben certainly does. He’s been throwing up bat signals for months.
I actually called it a bat signal a few weeks ago when I wrote about her InStyle cover story, featuring dozens of celebrities, Ben included, all commenting on what makes JLo so JLo. In that interview, Ben talked about how gorgeous she is. In previous interviews, early on in award season, he talked about how she’s underrated as an actor, how she doesn’t get the credit she deserves.
Ben has been putting it out there for a while now, maybe he’s been shooting his shot. It didn’t work out for them the first time around and that was in part because he had some sh-t to sort out. Now? He seems to be in a good place and he too has had his own glow-up, this is the best he’s looked in some time. I mean, one does have to step up their beauty game to roll with JLo. All of us, all together, Gossip Genie let this be true.