Is It Really ‘Make or Break’ Time for Bennifer, As Divorce Rumours Swirl?

Rumours are swirling that all is not well with Brand Bennifer - but there's more to it than meets the eye

JLo

by Jessica Barrett |
Updated on

It will be Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez’s two year anniversary in August; two years since the wedding that might never have happened, after the A-list couple ended their original engagement in 2004. And yet, after proving their critics wrong by reuniting in 2021 and falling in love all over again, twenty years later the couple are once again mired in speculation that their relationship could be on the rocks.

The rumours started not because of Affleck’s perpetually downcast face (although it can’t help things), but, as they often do, with the US tabloids. In Touch magazine spoke with an ‘insider’ who said that ‘the writing is on the wall’ for the couple who have always been known simply as Bennifer. ‘It’s over’, the source said, adding, ‘they waited almost two decades to get back together, but in the end, they just couldn’t make it work.’ The magazine’s source claimed that Affleck has already moved out of their 17 bathroomed Los Angeles house, and is staying at a property in LA neighbourhood Brentwood, where he wants to ‘focus on his work and his kids’ (he shares three children with ex-wife Jennifer Garner, who he split from in 2018.

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And while Affleck and Lopez haven’t commented on any of these reports or rumours, it’s thought they are both still wearing their wedding rings. It’s always wise to take such split reports with a hefty pinch of salt, but there are some goings on which lend themselves to speculation that there may be trouble in paradise.

At a press conference for her new film Atlas in Mexico, Lopez was asked point blank if 'the Ben Affleck rumours were real', and laughed it off saying, 'you know better than that.' While her co-star Simu Liu jumped to her defence and said, 'don't come in here with that energy, please.'

Days earlier, in an apparent attempt to quash growing rumours about their relationship, the couple put on a united front leaving an event in LA last weekend. Despite looking stressed in some of the photographs, the couple were seen walking side by side – with their wedding rings on – and driving together as they attended an event to support their kids. And in another new image, primed for virality, Affleck is seen holding his phone with 'Jennifer Affleck' calling, alongside a picture of his wife.

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are seen on 19 May in LA.
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are seen on 19 May in LA. (Photo by Bellocqimages/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images) ©(Photo by Bellocqimages/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

Until this recent sighting, as the Daily Mail pointed out, the pair had not been seen together for seven weeks - but had been attending events solo (something they haven’t tended to do in the last couple of years). The following day, Lopez attended the the Netflix world premiere of her latest sci-fi film Atlas, without Ben, although she was wearing her wedding ring. Apparently, Affleck missed the premiere as he is still filming his new movie, The Accountant 2.

Later that evening, she appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live and briefly mentioned her husband. She recalled when Barbara Streisand commented on the size of the diamond engagement ring Affleck had given her when they were engaged in 2004. She said Streisand had said, 'So that's a big diamond' and Lopez responded, 'And I’m like, "Yes it is."'

She then referred to how her kids struggle to separate her public persona and her home persona, finding her 'sexy' side 'awkward'. Kimmel then probed, 'you don't do sexy things at home?' and she said, 'I do do sexy things at home sometimes but they don’t know about that.'

Jennifer Lopez at the world premiere of Atlas
© (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Netflix)

Of course, the Atlas premiere isn't the first event Lopez has shown up to on her own. She attended the Met Ball solo at the start of this month, and went viral for snapping at a red carpet interviewer who asked her what she was wearing (it was Schiaparelli, in case you were wondering). Affleck also showed up at Netflix’s live roast of NFL star Tom Brady last week and made what the New York Post described as an ‘unhinged six minute rant’ onstage, laying into online trolls. At the end of the speech Affleck admitted, ‘I’m probably never going to work again, actually, after tonight.’

Online speculation after the event questioned whether Affleck might be going through something at home which had caused him to behave unusually - though his ‘Sad Ben’ persona has already become internet folklore in the past year or so, as photographs of the actor at red carpet events or walking alongside his wife getting coffee show him looking routinely downcast. When asked about the ongoing meme in January, Lopez laughed it off. ‘You don’t need to worry about Ben, let me just tell you,’ she told an interviewer on the red carpet for the Golden Globes, adding, ‘He is good. He is happy.’

But last week, Lopez added fuel to the recent rumours of unrest between her and Affleck when she ‘liked’ a post about healthy relationship boundaries. The post, created by relationship coach Lenna Marsak, discussed the challenges of a relationship where there is no 'integrity and respect.' It features several text slides, beginning with, 'You cannot build a healthy relationship with someone who lacks integrity and emotional safety.'

Other slides in the post Lopez liked highlighted red flags in a relationship, like a partner who, 'Doesn't respect your time, doesn't think it's important to call/text back in a respectable time frame, repeatedly fails to follow through on their promises and lacks effective communication skills.'  The post goes on to say: 'Trust is the foundation of any relationship. Without integrity, it's difficult to trust someone's words, actions, or intentions. This can create an environment of fear, anxiety, and emotional instability, making it challenging to feel safe and secure in the relationship.' In the caption of the post the author wrote: 'You can't build a relationship with someone who is disconnected from themselves. We can't expect someone to see us when we can't even see themselves.'

Grazia’s source points out that the message in this post isn’t hugely removed from issues that Affleck and Lopez have worked through over the years, since the first time they met. More recently, the source says, the pair have been dealing with various tensions this year - with Lopez’s This Is Me… Now album performing worse than expected (reaching only number 38 in the US charts) and some of her tour dates being cancelled because of low ticket sales. Meanwhile the pair appeared to bring speculation about their relationship upon themselves in the documentary The Greatest Love Story Never Told. The film, which came out in February, detailed the highs and lows of their rekindled romance in Lopez's new documentary, with Affleck revealing he initially asked his wife to keep their relationship offline when they decided to give things another go.

In the film, Affleck, who went to rehab multiple times for alcohol addiction, admits he had some concern about being thrust further into the public eye - and had zero interest in becoming a fixture on his wife's social media accounts. 'Getting back together, I said, “Listen, one of the things I don't want is a relationship on social media,”’ the actor says. 'Then I sort of realized it's not a fair thing to ask. It's sort of like, you're gonna marry a boat captain and you go, "Well, I don't like the water."' He continued: 'We're just two people with different kinds of approaches trying to learn to compromise.' The documentary also saw Lopez sharing private love letters that Affleck wrote to her, a choice which made headlines when Affleck didn’t seem too happy she had done so.

While their approaches to fame and their work are said to be ongoing pressure points between the couple, as is the undeniable public scrutiny about their relationship (something which is said to have always driven Affleck mad), Grazia’s source says that all is not yet lost for the couple. ‘There are some saving graces, even amidst all this dysfunction and turmoil. As far as most people are aware, this feels like a bit of a cooling off period as opposed to a formal separation,’ says the source. ‘They might not be doing their usual PDA’s for the camera, but don’t give up on them just yet - there’s a lot of love there.’

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