Ben Affleck: My Divorce 'the Biggest Regret of My Life'

Says playing an alcoholic in new movie was 'very therapeutic'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2020 6:21 AM CST
Ben Affleck: My Divorce 'the Biggest Regret of My Life'
Ben Affleck attends the world premiere of "Triple Frontier" at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York on March 3, 2019.   (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

The second of four movies due out this year starring Ben Affleck has him playing an alcoholic who goes to rehab after ruining his marriage. If that sounds a little close to home for the actor, well, that's kind of the point. "Regarding The Way Back, the benefits, to me, far outweighed the risks. I found it very therapeutic," Affleck tells the New York Times, opening up about his addiction struggles and divorce from Jennifer Garner, which he calls "the biggest regret of my life." "I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart ... My drinking, of course, created more marital problems," he says. But "it's not particularly healthy for me to obsess over the failures—the relapses—and beat myself up … You've got to pick yourself up." Recovery "inculcates certain values," he adds. "Be honest. Be accountable. Help other people. Apologize when you're wrong."

In one scene in The Way Back, out March 6, Affleck's character apologizes to his ex-wife for having "failed our marriage." Director Gavin O’Connor tells the Times that Affleck had a "total breakdown" after that. "It was really important, without being mawkish or false, that he make amends to her—that he take accountability for the pain that he and only he has caused," Affleck says. With apologies comes forgiveness. "The older I've gotten, the more I recognize that my [alcoholic] dad did the best he could," he says. "The legacy of that is quite powerful and sometimes hard to shake." But he's trying. He says he gave up the role of Batman—Robert Pattinson dons the mask June 25, per Variety— after someone suggested he might drink himself to death. He's now working on The Last Duel, the first film he's written with Matt Damon since Good Will Hunting. The goal: "Try to move forward." (More Ben Affleck stories.)

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