ALISON BOSHOFF: Is J-Lo’s obsession with clean living making new husband Ben Affleck look EVEN MORE sullen?
Preparing for the Grammys on Sunday, Jennifer Lopez surely hoped that people would find her presence captivating for all the right reasons.
The actress, singer and businesswoman wore a thigh-split navy custom Gucci dress complete with a cape and waterfalls of diamante, plus £1.5 million worth of Bulgari diamond necklaces.
Her glam squad — two stylists, a hairdresser, manicurist and make-up artist — were duly thanked on Instagram.
How vexing, then, that all anyone wanted to talk about was not the woman worth $400 million at her most glamorous, but the scowling husband trailing in her wake, Ben Affleck.
In a most entertaining piece of pantomime, J-Lo appeared to notice that her new husband was trending on social media for his facial expressions — which ran the gamut from boredom to distaste — while he sat through the ceremony.
How vexing, then, that all anyone wanted to talk about was not the woman worth $400 million at her most glamorous, but the scowling husband trailing in her wake, Ben Affleck
She pointed out to Affleck, 50, that his demeanour was lighting up the internet and, according to a lip reader, suggested: ‘Stop. Look more friendly. Look motivated.’ Affleck, rather defiantly, apparently shot back: ‘I might.’
Yet his doting wife, 53, kept holding the Oscar-winning actor’s hand and piling on public displays of affection. Despite his display, she later crafted an Instagram post which ran: ‘Always the best time with my love, my husband.’
The official line — which is that Affleck is ‘dreamy’ and ‘a sweetheart’ — is being adhered to as if her life depended on it, even though you’d think that his curmudgeonly behaviour would make her itch to kick his backside.
Certainly, when it comes to Affleck, a recovering alcoholic, with adoration comes a certain amount of responsibility.
Only last week, footage emerged which appeared to show Lopez — who eschews alcohol — checking that he wasn’t drinking after the premiere of her film, Shotgun Wedding. He can be heard saying: ‘I didn’t drink anything, OK?’ as she sips from his wine glass, presumably to check he’s telling the truth.
A friend of J-Lo of more than two decades standing agrees that all is not quite sunshine in ‘Bennifer’s’ world.
‘You might imagine that being married to J-Lo would mean that you are skipping down the street — but that’s not Ben Affleck,’ he observes. ‘He’s what you call a complicated person. He is always, and I mean always, miserable. And yet, she adores him.’
Certainly, Affleck has managed to look either bored or furious nearly every time they have set foot together in public since their wedding last summer.
The actress, singer and businesswoman wore a thigh-split navy custom Gucci dress complete with a cape and waterfalls of diamante, plus £1.5 million worth of Bulgari diamond necklaces
He glowered at photographers who sang ‘Happy birthday’ to his wife outside their hotel last July and looked murderous when snapped leaving Craig’s [restaurant] in West Hollywood after dinner in August — rather puzzling, since it’s a place where you can guarantee paparazzi attention.
Even in some of the official pictures of their wedding, while his bride looks overjoyed, he barely cracks a grin.
Some say he looks so glum because his life is ruled by the ‘Jen Commandments’ which form the framework for her wholesome, yet exhausting lifestyle.
It’s said that he’s got to work out, as she does, for an hour a day, five days a week. In the early days of their rekindled romance, they were seen going to the gym together daily.
Affleck glowered at photographers who sang ‘Happy birthday’ to his wife outside their hotel last July and looked murderous when snapped leaving Craig’s [restaurant] in West Hollywood
A fan of junk food, who has incidentally just finalised a seven-figure deal to plug Dunkin’ Donuts, Affleck apparently has to eat clean, too.
His disciplined wife sticks to protein and leafy veg. According to her former personal trainer, sweetcorn and carrots are banned for being too ‘sugary’. ‘Once in a while’, she’ll eat a piece of fried chicken, a single potato chip, or a biscuit.
Affleck, by contrast, was memorably pictured eating a takeaway burger in a brown paper bag while on his way to rehab in 2018.
Some of the ‘Jen Commandments’ have been broken. She is said to hate smoking, but he has not been able to quit.
Lopez apparently also dislikes his tattoos, and wants him to get a giant phoenix lasered off his back, but this has yet to happen.
There have been some larger sacrifices, too, for them both. They have been engaged in a year-long hunt for a family home and Affleck has put two of his houses on the market, while Lopez has also put her place in Bel Air up for sale.
It needs to be large to accommodate their blended family. He has three children from his marriage to actress Jennifer Garner: Violet, 17, Seraphina, 14, and Samuel, ten. She has twins Max and Emme, 14, by singer Marc Anthony. As the U.S. website Radar suggested last year: ‘Keeping everyone happy has been near impossible. They’re back to the grind of work and parenting. Reality has set in.’
Lopez apparently also dislikes Afflek’s tattoos, and wants him to get a giant phoenix lasered off his back, but this has yet to happen
Another source suggested to the publication: ‘Marital bliss? More like marital mayhem. Before the wedding, Jennifer put on an Oscar worthy performance for Ben, pretending to be the perfect easygoing wife to be.’
The source added: ‘She’s been known to yell at him and point her finger. It makes people wonder if she mistakes him for the dog!’
When Lopez and Affleck were married in Vegas in July last year (followed by a second wedding at his home in Georgia the following month), it set the seal on one of Hollywood’s most unusual love stories.
Their first love affair began after they met on the set of the flop film Gigli in early 2002, with Affleck observing: ‘She’s the funniest, classiest, most intoxicating woman I have ever known.’
Later the same year, Lopez recruited Affleck to star in the video for her hit song Jenny from The Block in which he famously kissed her bottom.
Engaged that November, they postponed their September 2003 wedding with just four days to go blaming media attention. A few months later, they split.
Affleck said: ‘For a while, we were flying and everything was beautiful between me and Jen. Then it all fell apart really quickly.’
They had trouble deciding where to live and she was said to have been furious after he gambled away £450,000 in a night. The final straw seems to have been Affleck and pal Matt Damon partying in a Berlin nightclub while Damon was filming The Bourne Supremacy.
Those with an insight into the couple’s life say the dynamic is that she is throwing all of her resources into trying to make Affleck happy
Affleck went on to marry Jennifer Garner and, after that ten-year marriage ended, he dated several women, including the children’s nanny. He also went to rehab several times for alcohol addiction.
Lopez, meanwhile, married dancer Chris Judd in 2001 and, after that marriage ended, wed singer Marc Anthony in 2004, but they, too, parted ways in 2011.
She also was engaged to baseball player Alex Rodriguez. After reports that he had been cheating on her in 2021, which he denied, Lopez rekindled her love with Affleck.
For their big day in August last year, her fourth marriage, she wore three couture gowns.
‘I feel so lucky and happy and proud to be with him. It’s a beautiful love story that we got a second chance,’ she said.
Those with an insight into the couple’s life say the dynamic is that she is throwing all of her resources into trying to make Affleck happy. It’s not easy, as he struggles to maintain his equilibrium.
In an interview, Affleck said: ‘There’s a lot of alcoholism and mental illness in my family. The legacy of that is quite powerful and sometimes hard to shake.’
In this context, her attempts to coach him through the Grammys seem more supportive than shrewish. A long-time friend tells me: ‘As much as she is powerful in her professional life, she just melts when it comes to matters of the heart.
‘Of course, there will be rumours about the marriage after the Grammys, but I don’t believe that they are true — hand on heart.
‘She dragged him there, he didn’t want to go and he sulked. You could see that she was trying to help him out of it. I think what people fail to appreciate is that it’s not easy to keep a marriage airborne.’
What’s becoming clear is that there’s no one more determined to make it work than J-Lo.
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