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Cast your mind back. It's 2003. You have a polyphonic ringtone on your Nokia 3310. You wear bandanas and own a hair crimper. Your eyebrows have been plucked to oblivion, you log onto MySpace and the song of the moment is 'Jenny From The Block' where Jennifer Lopez sings about still being the same woman she's always been despite her 'rocks', riches, fame and A-lister boyfriend Ben Affleck, who frolicks with her on a yacht in the unforgettable music video.
Affleck and Lopez, or 'Bennifer' as they were dubbed by the press (though in the past few days filmmaker Kevin Smith has claimed he is responsible for its origin), were tabloid favourites. Despite their widely-panned rom com film Gigli at the time, their undeniable chemistry, red carpet gazes of adoration and one heck of an engagement ring seriously captured the attention and hearts of the public and the media.
While the Covid-19 pandemic has made time feel like a unverifiable concept, we now have evidence that it is. Because, it's 2003 again and Bennifer has risen.
Following news that the Hustlers actress had recently called off her engagement and parted ways with fiancé of three years and partner of two years, Alex Rodriguez, guess who has been seen out and about together? Ding, ding, ding, Affleck and Lopez!
Did a new bonding of similar experiences led them to seek comfort from an old friend (while Lopez recently broke up with Rodriguez, Affleck experienced a split in the public eye when he separated from his wife of 10 years and the mother of his three children, Jennifer Garner, in 2018 and more recently following the end of his relationship with actor Ana De Armas)? Or it something more serious? Could it be an actual romantic reunion, like some sources and die-hard fans are suggesting/hoping?
Well, in July, we really did travel back in time when photos of Lopez and Affleck looking very happy and in love aboard a super yacht landed. Lopez even shared a photo of herself kissing her
new old love, confirming the rumours and reports with just one photo.
Here's everything we know...
Are Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck dating again?
Yes, yes they are.
On Sunday September 26 the couple were seen walking through Madison Square Park, hand-in-hand, with the 52-year-old dressed in a green coat over a green dress and her beau in a pair of jeans and a dark jacket.
At one point the couple stopped in the middle of the street for a passionate kiss, with the duo wrapping their arms around each other.
The PDA moment came hours after the singer had appeared on stage in Central Park for the Global Citizen Live concert, attended by Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.
During her set Lopez was heard telling the crowd: 'We can do anything with love. Love makes miracles, trust me. I guess you could say, I don't know, I got love on the brain. Have love on my mind lately, I don't know what it is.'
The 52-year-old beauty donned a green plaid ensemble of a seafoam green coat over a fern green dress with a waist tie during the walk in Madison Square Park.
In a rare joint interview after Lopez was named Adweek's 2021 Brand Visionary on September 20, Affleck told the magazine how much admiration he had for Lopez and what she's achieved as a woman of colour working in the business world.
'I am in awe of what Jennifer’s effect on the world is. At most, as an artist, I can make movies that move people. Jennifer has inspired a massive group of people to feel they have a seat at the table in this country.
'That is an effect few people throughout history have had, one I will never know and one I can only stand by and admire with respect.'
It's what we love to hear.
Just a few days before, the couple were seen cosying up together on a movie night with their respective children at a park screening of School of Rock in Los Angeles.
Lopez wore a comfy oversized grey knit cardigan with baggy jeans and a Valentino canvas handbag. Affleck went for a casual all-black ensemble.
They seem to have been spending a lot of time together throughout September. Though the couple dodged the Met Gala's famous steps, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck sneakily reunited inside the fashionable event.
Posing with their masks on, Lopez wore a Ralph Lauren ensemble, including a faux fur coat and slit-front gown.
After weeks of paparazzi and Instagram courting, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck made their first red carpet appearance on September 10.
The official couple attended the red carpet of Affleck's film 'The Last Duel' at The Venice Film Festival and put on a loved-up show for all to see.
With him in a Dolce & Gabbana tux and her in a couture Georges Hobeika bridal white gown plus Cartier jewellery, the couple laughed, kissed and beamed their way through the exciting debut.
The pair arrived by boat at the Venice Film Festival on September 9.
Lopez looked like the epitome of Italian summer chic as she arrived at the festival - aided by beau Affleck as she embarked onto the boat - wearing a white lace pussybow shirt midi dress, monochrome-rimmed Prada sunglasses and a Hermes Birkin bag.
After walking hand in hand to the boat, the reunited couple were photographed smiling, laughing and generally gazing into each others while sailing through the canals of Venice. Dreamy.
Back in the US, on August 24 the couple were seen holding hands during on a shopping date in Los Angeles. For the trip the pair wore coordinated black ensembles, with the singer wearing a black tank top, midi grey pencil skirt and black pointed-toe stilettos, and Affleck opting for a black shirt, grey trousers and black shoes.
After spending the last few months dropping hints by way of Hamptons beach walks, dodging interview questions and attending family events together (read on for more), Lopez recently marked her 52nd birthday with a photograph of her kissing Affleck.
In a montage of photos of Lopez celebrating her birthday aboard a luxury super yacht in the south of France, wearing a Valentino bikini and sun hat, the final picture in the franchise showed Affleck and Lopez in a tight clinch, kissing. Naturally, the montage was liked almost 8 million times as fans rejoiced at the confirmation of rumours of a rekindled relationship.
Paparazzi pictures also emerged of the couple on the yacht and we are getting very strong flashbacks of the aforementioned 'Jenny From The Block' video which Affleck starred in, on a yacht, with his bikini-clad girlfriend. Later that day, photos emerged on social media of Lopez and Affleck continuing the birthday celebrations at a restaurant in St Tropez, where they were seen sat next to each other dancing along and taking photos.
A few weeks later on August 15, Lopez and her daughter Emme attended a celebrity shopping event where the singer reportedly picked out gifts for Affleck's daughters Seraphina and Violet as well as one for Emme. According to People, Lopez picked out a selection of 'birth flower' necklaces which included two corresponding with the Affleck's 15 and 12-year-old daughters. The outing occurred the same weekend that Lopez reportedly wiped her ex-fiancé Rodriguez from her Instagram account.
While Lopez is mother to 13-year-old twins, Max and Emme, Affleck shares Violet, Seraphina and son Samuel with ex-wife Jennifer Garner. The August shopping event was not the first time that Lopez and Affleck have made an effort to enjoy their newly-blended family. In July, the couple were seen at Universal Studios in Hollywood with three of their children - Lopez's 13-year-old twins, Max and Emme, and Affleck's nine-year-old son, Samuel. While Page Six has shared numerous photos of the couple enjoying their day out, one fan shared a clip on TikTok and later Twitter of the blended family boarding Jurassic World: The Ride at the theme park. The five-person party all wore see-through ponchos for the ride.
Prior to the confirmation of a relationship, on July 23, Lopez's longtime good friend Leah Remini shared pictures from her recent birthday party, which she'd made into a collage full of photos from the event. While watching this, in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, a black and white Kardashian-style photobooth picture emerged of Remini and Lopez joined by Affleck too.
In the snap, Affleck is in the middle with his arms around the two friends, while Lopez places her hand on his chest. The photo marks the first time we've seen the couple together like this on Instagram and also shows that Affleck is being invited along as Lopez's dates to important events in her personal life. Cute!
While they might be spending a lot of time together, even in wider social circles, they don't appear to be ready to talk about it publicly. Lopez joined Lin Manuel Miranda for an interview with Hoda Kotb for the Today show on July 20th, to discuss their re-released charity single 'Love Makes The World Go Round', when Kotb pivoted to ask Lopez if she was happy because, 'you look happier, every time I see a photo of you and Ben, I'm like "she looks happier". Are we happier?'
Pausing, Lopez collected her thoughts and words before expertly bringing the attention back to the charity single: 'The song is out five years since we've done it and I believe that the message of loving one another and being together is never more relevant than it is right now.'
While Miranda squealed with delight at having witnessed an expert celebrity question dodge, Kotb pleaded: 'It's me you're talking to!' to which Lopez replied, 'I know, you can call me, you have my number.'
In July, Lopez was also spotted having 'liked' a throwback photo of Affleck on Instagram. A photo of the actor from the set of his 2010 film The Town, shared on the fan account @lopezaffleck, sees the Oscar winner wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the phrase 'Believe in Boston'. Lopez was among almost 3,000 fans who 'liked' the snap, which hasn't gone unnoticed by Bennifer's fan club.
'Jenn liked this 🙈🙈❤️❤️ omg omg omg, [sic]' commented one fan on the post. 'Jennifer liked,' another added.
The 'liked' post comes a week after the pair spent the Fourth of July weekend together in the Hamptons. Over the weekend of July 9, the reunited couple had flown from the east to the west coast, judging by the lates photos of Lopez and Affleck out in Los Angeles.
The couple were spotted arm in arm with Lopez wearing a white tank top, trousers and trainers while Affleck wore a dark grey t-shirt and jeans.
The couple celebrated the US' Independence Day weekend at the Hamptons, where they were photographed arm in arm, cuddling each other, while enjoying a coastal walk.
Wearing co-ordinating neutral tones, Lopez and Affleck walked with friends to the waters edge as the sun was setting. It's all very romantic.
On June 13 the singer and actor were see kissing at Nobu in Malibu during Lopez's sister Lynda's 50th birthday party. In photos and a video obtained by Page Six (which you can see here), the Super Bowl performer and her rumoured boyfriend were seen in a deep embrace without a care for who was watching. For the night out, Lopez wore her hair back in a ponytail and showed off hoop earrings while at one point Affleck was seen leaning in to whisper something in her ear.
The former couple were first spotted together at the end of April, when Page Six claimed that the Argo actor and director had been seen arriving at Lopez's LA home, alleging Affleck had visited the star three times since she arrived back in the US after her stint in the Dominican Republic shooting her upcoming film, Shotgun Wedding. They had also both appeared, albeit separately, at the Global Citizen 'Vax Live' charity event, co-chaired by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on May 9.
A day after the event, the Mail Online published the first pictures of Lopez and Affleck together in seven years. The photographs reportedly show the two actors arriving back in Los Angeles after spending the weekend together in Montana (where photographs of them driving were also obtained). According to E! News, the duo spent a week holidaying in Affleck's chalet in the US state. The entertainment outlet cited 'multiple sources' suggesting that the pair's friendship has turned up a notch. 'Ben reached out to her to see how she was doing and they had dinner together a few times within this last month. It's natural between them and the chemistry is unreal. They picked up where they last left off and are enjoying each other's company right now,' reportedly said one source...
On May 31, Page Six published photos of Lopez and Affleck heading to dinner at celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck's new restaurant in Los Angeles. Affleck was photographed with his arm around his former fiancé, who was seen nestled into his shoulder while also wrapping her arm around him. According to the outlet, Lopez and Affleck then held hands as they made their way into the restaurant.
Are there memes and tweets about Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck meeting up again?
Following a flurry of memes and tweets in May when rumours of a Bennifer reunion first started, there was a resurfacing following Lopez's kissing-in-St-Tropez photo too:
I’m not sure Bennifer v2.0 will go the distance, but in the meantime I am enjoying the supremely Burton-Taylor vibe about it. Superb.
— Katy Brand (@KatyFBrand) July 26, 2021
If Ben Affleck & Jennifer Lopez could please make a “Get Vaccinated” PSA while they have everyone’s attention, I would appreciate it.
— Hari Kondabolu (@harikondabolu) July 26, 2021
J. Lo and Ben Affleck have gotten together, broken up, had children with other people, got back together, and are now kissing and I have been single through it all
— rachel leishman (@RachelLeishman) July 24, 2021
Ben affleck won the weekend
— Patrick Shriver (@PSchwarzenegger) July 25, 2021
I need to take a personal day off of work to unpack why I thought "This is huge for us!" when I saw the new photo of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez.
— Josh Gondelman (@joshgondelman) July 25, 2021
I’m too invested in Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck
— Meghan Ottolini (@Meghan_Ottolini) July 25, 2021
If I could make people absolutely over the moon elated by letting Ben Affleck touch my butt on a yacht, I’d do it too
— Meredith Haggerty (@manymanywords) July 26, 2021
Hear me out: A WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? adaptation with JLo and Ben Affleck. Let's do this, Hollywood.
— Taffy Brodesser-Akner (@taffyakner) July 25, 2021
While it might feel like we've been thrown back to the early Noughties, there were clear indicators that time has progressed. Namely, the advance of the internet and social media, and therefore internet reactions when the rumours first surfaced:
Bennifer was the first compound celebrity couple name,the girls don't even know the pop culture HISTORY
— Bolu Babalola (@BeeBabs) May 10, 2021
i don’t know who needs to hear this, but ben affleck and jennifer lopez hanging out together, is not an excuse to text your ex
— Cilantro.email@example.com (@bb_apes) May 10, 2021
Bennifer is a thing again?
I better log into AOL Instant Messenger and tell all my friends
— Kona Slater ☕ (@KonaSlater) May 11, 2021
I reject the return of low-rise jeans, but welcome the return of Bennifer discourse
— Emma Gray (@emmaladyrose) May 10, 2021
How long were Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck together, why did they break up?
The couple dated from 2002 to 2004 and became engaged in 2002.
But in 2003, their wedding was postponed days before it was scheduled to happen, with the couple confirming their break up in January 2004.
Revisiting a People magazine article from 2003, shortly before their nuptials were due to take place, a statement from the couple said the reason for postponing their Santa Barbara wedding was down to the intense media speculation they were subject to.
'Due to the excessive media attention surrounding our wedding, we have decided to postpone the date,' the statement read. 'When we found ourselves seriously contemplating hiring three separate "decoy brides" at three different locations, we realised that something was awry. We began to feel that the spirit of what should have been the happiest day of our lives could be compromised. We felt what should have been a joyful and sacred day could be spoiled for us, our families and our friends.'
In 2010, while appearing on the Graham Norton Show, Lopez reflected on the immense pressures the media scrutiny put on their relationship.
'It was a lot. Honestly, I've never really talked about it before,' she said.
'I love Ben, he's a great guy but it was a lot for both of us to be under that type of siege for two years straight. We were on the cover of every magazine every week, it was just a weird thing. The media catches on to certain things and that just happened to be one of things and our relationship, I think, did suffer because of that. That wasn't the only thing.. but it definitely played a part in the dynamic of our relationship.'
What have Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck said about each other since their break up?
Both Lopez and Affleck moved on after their break up, with Affleck finding love with Garner, and years later with de Armas. Lopez also welcomed children, twins Emme and Max, with her husband Marc Anthony who she married in the summer of 2004 and separated from in 2014.
Both of the Jersey Girl stars have only had good words to say about each other since their early Noughties split. After Affleck won a Golden Globe (and later an Oscar) for Argo in 2013, Lopez appeared on The Ellen Show where she congratulated her ex.
'They were really hard on us in the press when we dated back in the day and on movies and things like that so it was a nice moment, it was nice to see him have that moment. I was really happy for him,' she said.
Affleck has also continued to praise Lopez, joining the outrage when the 51-year-old was left out of the Oscar nominations after her critically-acclaimed performance in 2019's Hustlers.
'She's the real thing. I keep in touch periodically with her and have a lot of respect for her. How awesome is it that she had her biggest hit movie at 50? That's f***ing baller,' he told the New York Times.
Last year, he also criticised the way Lopez was written about when they dated, telling the Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast: 'People were so f***ing mean about her — sexist, racist. Ugly, vicious sh*t was written about her in ways that if you wrote it now you would literally be fired for saying those things you said. Now it’s like, she’s lionised and respected for the work she did, where she came from, what she accomplished — as well she f***ing should be!
'I would say you have a better shot, coming from the Bronx, of ending up as like [Justice Sonia] Sotomayor on the Supreme Court than you do of having Jennifer Lopez’s career and being who she is at 50-years-old today.'
Whatever is happening between the couple, we're not mad at these mutual levels of respect and apparent growth.
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