Did you hear? Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are engaged — again. For followers of celebrity news, this is the culmination of a two decade-long saga.
To catch you up, Affleck and Lopez first met on the set of the movie "Gigli" around 2002 (and later co-starred in the 2004 movie "Jersey Girl," not to mention the music video for Lopez's "Jenny From the Block"). They got engaged in November 2002, with Affleck proposing with a pink diamond. But the couple postponed their 2003 wedding, citing "excessive media attention," and split in 2004.
Following their breakup, Affleck and Lopez went on to have other relationships and start families. Lopez has 14-year-old twins Max and Emme with ex-husband Marc Anthony. Affleck and ex-wife Jennifer Garner have three children together: daughters Violet, 16, and Seraphina, 13, and son Samuel, 10.
Nearly two decades after their first split, Lopez and Affleck rekindled their relationship in 2021, first leaving clues on social media, then going Instagram official and attending premieres together. In 2022, Lopez announced the news of their engagement on her fan website, onthejlo.com. Today, Lopez is wearing another ring from Affleck — this time, with a green diamond.
Here's what Lopez and Affleck have said about each other over the years.
What Ben Affleck has said about his relationship with Jennifer Lopez
On the importance of in "Gigli"
Though "Gigli" critically bombed, Affleck said he was grateful for the movie in a 2002 interview with Entertainment Weekly, because he met Lopez.
"I did get to meet Jennifer, the relationship with whom has been really meaningful to me in my life," he said.
On the tabloid scrutiny Lopez faced during their relationship
Affleck and Lopez were headline fodder when they first got together in the early 2000s. During a 2021 appearance on The Hollywood Reporter’s “Awards Chatter” podcast, Affleck reflected on the difficulties Lopez faced as a result.
“People were so f---ing mean about her — sexist, racist. Ugly, vicious s--- was written about her in ways that if you wrote it now, you would literally be fired for saying those things you said,” Affleck said on the Jan. 14 episode.
“Now it’s like she’s lionized and respected for the work she did, where she came from, what she accomplished — as well she f---ing should be!” he continued.
On being 'blown away' by Jennifer Lopez's work ethic
Lopez is a multihyphenate performer who, in the years since meeting Affleck, has performed at the Super Bowl and a presidential inauguration; won acting awards for "Hustlers"; launched a skincare line; led a TV show in "Shades of Blue"; and had Vegas residencies and world tours.
Speaking to InStyle for a May 2021 cover story about Lopez, Affleck said he was impressed by Lopez from the start. “I thought I had a good work ethic, but I was completely humbled and blown away by what she was committed to doing day in and day out, the seriousness in which she took her work, the quiet and dedicated way she went about accomplishing her goals, and then how she would go back and redouble her efforts.”
He said, “She remains, to this day, the hardest-working person I’ve come across in this business. She has great talent, but she has also worked very hard for her success, and I’m so happy for her that she seems, at long last, to be getting the credit she deserves.”
On Lopez being 'the real thing'
Affleck continued to follow Lopez's career and publicly root for her success. Speaking to the New York Times, he said Lopez deserved an Oscar nomination for her work in "Hustlers," in which played a dancer-turned-criminal mastermind.
“She should have been nominated,” Affleck said. “She’s the real thing.”
He added, “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.”
On the 'great story' of their relationship — which he won't be telling
In an interview with WSJ Magazine in 2021, Affleck said he is wary of sharing too many details about his relationship. However, he conceded that it's a "great story."
"I could just say that I feel great about being very healthy. And it is a good story. It’s a great story. And, you know, maybe one day I’ll tell it. I’ll write it all out. And then I’ll light it on fire,” Affleck said.
On benefitting from second chances
Speaking to WSJ Magazine, Affleck spoke to the role second chances played in his career and his personal life, relationship with Lopez included.
“I am very lucky in my life in that I have benefited from second chances, and I am aware that other people don’t even get first chances. I’ve had second chances in my career. I’ve had second chances as a human being. Life is difficult, and we are always failing and hopefully learning from those failures. The one thing you really need to avail yourself of the opportunities provided from that growth is the second chance. I’ve definitely tried to take advantage of that. I haven’t always been successful, but in cases in which I have, they’ve turned out to be the defining aspects of my life," he said.
What Jennifer Lopez has said about her relationship with Ben Affleck
On Affleck's personality
In November 2002, after their engagement went public, Lopez spoke to Primetime's Diane Sawyer about her connection with Affleck.
“I’d probably say that he is brilliantly smart, loving, charming, affectionate," Lopez said when asked to describe Affleck. "And I just admire him in every way. I respect him. I feel like he teaches me things."
She also described his proposal, which he did at his mother's house in Boston. She recalled walking into the house, only to be met with a surprise.
“It’s just a blanket, a quilt of rose petals, all over the whole entire house,” Lopez told Sawyer. “So many candles, and vases, bouquets. And my song ‘Glad’ was playing ... I walk in and I was just like overwhelmed. I wasn’t expecting it, and I was just like ‘Oh my God.’”
On the breakup being her 'first big heartbreak'
“It was probably my first big heartbreak,” Lopez told Maria Shriver of their breakup on TODAY, 10 years after it transpired.
She then explained how this set the scene for her relationship with Marc Anthony, whom she married in 2004. “And to have one of my best friends who I’d known for years, who I actually love and did have chemistry with, come into my life and say, ‘I’m here’ … What you need to know is, nobody can save you or heal you. Only you can do that for you,” she said.
On thinking 'this is it' when she first met Affleck
Lopez reflected on her "genuine love" with Affleck, and how the timing of her relationship affected them, in a 2016 interview with People.
“(When I first met him) I felt like … ‘OK, this is it,” Lopez said. “I think different time, different thing, who knows what could’ve happened, but there was a genuine love there.”
On Affleck’s back tattoo
Affleck has a large back tattoo of a phoenix rising from the ashes, which made its public debut via paparazzi photos taken in 2015.
Lopez was one of the many who weighed in on Affleck’s colorful ink. Speaking to Andy Cohen on “Watch What Happens Live,” Lopez said the tattoo was “awful.”
“And I would tell him that,” she added. “What are you doing? It has too many colors! His tattoos always have too many colors. They shouldn’t be so colorful, you know what I mean? They should be, like, cooler.”
Affleck later told Ellen DeGeneres on “The Ellen Show“ in 2019 that the tattoo, which he got in the wake of his divorce from Garner, is “meaningful” to him. “I’m happy with it,” he said.
On being 'surprised' by their new relationship
Lopez and Affleck's rekindled romance may have surprised spectators — but speaking to Ellen DeGeneres in 2022, Lopez said no one was more surprised than the couple.
“I don’t think anybody was more surprised than us,” Lopez said. “No, you never could imagine something like that could happen. It’s a beautiful thing.”
On the beauty of their second chance romance
In a 2022 cover story for People, Lopez characterized her relationship with Affleck as being "beautiful."
“It’s a beautiful love story that we got a second chance," she said, adding that she's "never been better."
On watching Affleck's journey 'from afar'
Lopez told People that she has kept her eye on Affleck over the years, and is "proud" of his evolution. “I’m so proud of the him, I’m so proud of the man he’s become that I’ve watched from afar,” she said.
She continued, “To see the person, the human being, the man that he is today, the father that he is today, the partner that he is — he is so everything I always knew he was and wanted to be.”
On the perspective that comes with age
Lopez told People that she and Affleck learned from their experiences in 2002. “Before we kind of put [our relationship] out there and we were naïve and it got a little trampled,” she said in 2022.
She said this time, they are more "protective" of their relationship. “We both were like, ‘Wow, we’re so happy and we don’t want any of that to come into play again.’ We’re older now, we’re smarter, we have more experience, we’re at different places in our lives, we have kids now, and we have to be very conscious of those things. We’re so protective because it is such a beautiful time for all of us," Lopez said.
On the lesson she learned from their first relationship
Lopez said in an interview with the New York Times in February 2022 that her first relationship with Affleck taught her a lesson — and they "learned it ... the first time."
The lesson? “To hold it sacred. You have to do what feels good to you all the time. But at the same time, you learn from the past, you do things better the second time. There’s a part of it that, yes, we’re together. But there’s a part of it that’s not, you know, being so open the way we were when we were so young and in love many years ago," she said.
This connects to Lopez's life philosophy. “You can’t live life and think that things are just mistakes: I just messed up there, I messed up there. No, it’s all lessons,” she told the New York Times.