In 2021, following their divorce, Ben Affleck did an interview with Howard Stern, discussing his decision to leave his marriage with Jennifer Garner. During the interview, which was over two hours long, Affleck appeared to make comments implying that Garner was the reason he became an alcoholic over their marriage—or, at least, Garner was a driving factor.
“Part of why I started drinking was because I was trapped,” he told Stern, in the original interview. “I was like, ‘I can’t leave because of my kids, but I’m not happy, what do I do?’ And what I did was [I] drank a bottle of scotch and fell asleep on the couch, which turned out not to be the solution.”
He is now revisiting these comments and clarifying that his meaning was misinterpreted; he does not blame Garner for his own issues, but rather recognizes that the period in his life was difficult for him, and caused him to react negatively, through unhealthy coping patterns.
“I was like, ‘What is this?’ … they had literally taken the conversation that I had had for two hours and made it seem as if I was saying the exact opposite of what I had said,” he said.
“I had gone on and said how much we respect each other, cared about each other, cared about our kids and put them first and went through our stuff, and they said I had blamed my ex-wife for my alcoholism and that I was ‘trapped’ in this marriage — just made me out to be the worst, most insensitive, stupid awful guy,” he added.
“To be clear, my behavior is my responsibility entirely,” he said, succinctly. “The point that I was trying to make was a sad one. Anyone who’s been through divorce makes that calculus of, ‘How much do we try?’ I was trying to say, ‘Hey, look, I was drinking too much, and the less happy you become, whether it’s your job, your marriage, it’s just that as your life becomes more difficult, if you’re doing things to fill a hole that aren’t healthy, you’re going to start doing more of those things.’ I think I was pretty articulate about that. It didn’t matter how many times I said, ‘I do not feel this way. I’m telling you, I don’t blame my ex-wife for my alcoholism.’ So, yeah. It’s hard.”
Garner and Affleck now have a positive co-parenting relationship for their three children,