Ben Affleck Addresses Jennifer Garner Divorce Comments Amid Backlash

Ben Affleck is clarifying recent comments he made about his marriage to ex-wife Jennifer Garner and his battle with alcoholism.

The Argo star this week faced backlash on social media after he said in an interview on The Howard Stern Show that he would "probably still be drinking" if he had remained married to Garner, with whom he shares three children.

Addressing the reaction during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Wednesday night, the actor said: "I would never want my kids to think I would ever say a bad word about their mom...It hurts my feelings."

Affleck told Jimmy Kimmel that his two-hour interview with Howard Stern was a "meaningful" conversation that was "really cool, longform, in-depth" and inspired by his new movie, The Tender Bar, which he is currently promoting.

He said: "Because the movie is about family and all this stuff that's meaningful to me, [Stern and I] talked a lot about my family and divorce and alcoholism and struggling with real things and how you have to be accountable and loving."

The star said that he also spoke about "how I work with my ex-wife and how I'm so proud of the way that we work together for our kids, to the best that we can for them. The irony is, I was really happy with [the interview]."

Instead, he said, some listeners had "taken the conversation" and "made it seem as if I was doing the exact opposite of what I said" by focusing on one factor of the interview.

"I'd gone on and said how much we respect each other and cared about each other and cared about our kids and put them first," he continued, saying that the reaction "just made me out to be the worst, most insensitive stupid, awful guy."

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner
Ben Affleck (L) has addressed comments he made about his marriage to ex-wife Jennifer Garner (R), after facing backlash for saying he would "probably still be drinking" if they had stayed together. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images;/Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Baby2Baby

Affleck told Kimmel that while he accepts his celebrity status will spark headlines and memes, he said that when it comes to his family, "I have to draw a line, and be clear."

"That's not true," he concluded of the way he had been portrayed in the aftermath of the interview. "I don't believe that. It's the exact opposite of who I am, what I believe."

In his interview with Stern, Affleck candidly discussed the breakdown of his marriage to Garner, saying that had they stayed together, they "would have ended up... probably at each other's throats" and he "would probably still be drinking."

"That was part of why I started drinking alcohol, I was trapped," he said. "I was like, 'I can't leave because of my kids, but I am not happy. What do I do?' What I did was drink a bottle of scotch on the couch, which turned out not to be the solution."

Affleck and Garner tied the knot in 2005. They announced their separation in 2015, with their divorce being finalized in 2018. Affleck told Stern that when he and Garner decided to end their marriage—after attempts to save their union—they "did it amicably."

"The truth was, we took our time, we made a decision, we grew apart. We had a marriage that did not work. This happens," he said. "It is somebody I love and respect, but to whom I should not be married any longer."

"And then we said, 'You know what? We tried. We tried, because we had kids,'" he went on, "and then both of us felt like, 'We don't want this to be the model that our kids see of marriage.'"

"Did we have moments of tension? Did we have disagreements over the custody? Was stuff difficult for us? Did we get angry? Yes," he admitted. "But fundamentally it was always underpinned with respect. I knew she was a good mom.

"I hope that she knew that I was a good dad. I was. I had to get sober, I knew that too and I acknowledged that. I said, 'You're right. I've got to quit drinking.'"

Affleck was accompanied to the Jimmy Kimmel Live! Hollywood studios by his partner Jennifer Lopez. The pair rekindled their romance earlier this year, almost two decades after they were engaged and affectionately known to fans as "Bennifer."

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are seen at "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" on December 15, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. The stars rekindled their romance earlier this year, almost two decades after they were engaged. RB/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images