Jennifer Garner didn't believe law to protect kids from paparazzi would pass

Image: Jennifer Garner

Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter
By Ree Hines

In August, Jennifer Garner testified before the California State Assembly Committee on Public Safety, alongside fellow actress and mom Halle Berry, in favor of a bill aimed at protecting children of celebrities from the prying lenses of paparazzi.

Last week that bill was signed into law, and now Garner feels relieved that it happened — even though she and husband Ben Affleck never really thought it would.

"As much as we have wished for this, we truly were resigned to thinking that this was never gonna happen," she explained in an interview with TODAY's Jenna Bush Hager. "We had looked at all different things, moving out of California, you know, all manners of things."

One of the reasons Garner wasn't confident that the bill would go anywhere is because she feels there's a misconception about the relationship between celebrities and the paparazzi.

"I think that there's an idea that because our pictures are everywhere that we are complicit in it," she said. "When really what happens is they're waiting outside our door every single day. I can't go to the mailbox without getting my picture taken. And so I don't."

But now, things might change — at least where her children are concerned.

"What we're hoping is that our kids' day-to-day experience will not be of really aggressive men yelling and screaming 5 feet from their faces," Garner said of what has been an all-too-familiar scene for her three children. "My kids take karate for example, and we have our classes at the same time every week. So the guys know when we have karate, and so 20 of them wait there for us every single class. So that's a lot of energy coming at little, little kids."

She credits Berry "100 percent" for the bill's success, but Garner's concerns go beyond her own kids and children of other celebrities. She also acts as artist ambassador for Save The Children, an organization devoted to improving the lives of kids around the world.

For Garner, it's a hands-on role.

"(If) you're growing up poor, by the time you're 4 years old you are 18 months behind," she explained. "So by the time you get to kindergarten you're already playing catch-up by so much, you just don't even have a shot. ... We go into the home and we just encourage the mom and speak to their baby, play with their baby."

According to Garner, that's all it takes.

"It's patty cake," she said. "It's ... you know, it's rolling a ball. It's reading to your kids."