Before Jennifer Lopez was engaged to Alex Rodriguez and before Ben Affleck was married to Jennifer Garner, Lopez and Affleck were a early 2000s tabloid super couple. Now in 2021, they are giving Hollywood power couple vibes all over again.
The rumor mill ran after paparazzi photos of the couple surfaced almost weekly starting in May, however, the rekindled romance was confirmed after Lopez posted her first Instagram photo lip-locked with Affleck on her 52nd birthday in July.
No longer hiding their reconciliation, the two have hit the red carpets of the Venice Film Festival and the Met Gala – and are even talking about their appreciation for each other.
In September, Lopez was honored as AdWeek's 2021 Brand Visionary and Affleck praised his once-again girlfriend with inspiring words.
"I am in awe of what Jennifer’s effect on the world is," Affleck said in the interview. "Jennifer has inspired a massive group of people to feel they have a seat at the table in this country.”
In honor of the two giving love a second chance, we take a look at how their relationship started, ended, and how it's going again.
Lopez and Affleck first met in 2002 on set of the romantic comedy "Gigli," while Lopez was still married to her second husband, dancer Cris Judd. Although the movie bombed terribly at the box office, sparks were definitely flying between Lopez and Affleck. The pair went public with their relationship shortly after Lopez's divorce from Judd.
The "Hustlers" star told People that when she met Affleck at the time, "I felt like… 'Okay, this is it.'"
Affleck and Lopez embarked on a high-profile relationship that attracted widespread media coverage. The couple was nicknamed "Bennifer," a legendary combination of Affleck's and Lopez's first names that started the one-name, pop-culture-couple portmanteau trend (think "Brangelina" and "Kimye").
“We didn’t try to have a public relationship," Lopez told People in 2016. "We just happened to be together at the birth of the tabloids, and it was like 'Oh my God.' It was just a lot of pressure."
Lopez addressed the invasion of privacy in her 2002 music video "Jenny from the Block," which included a memorable appearance from her actor beau, Affleck. The music video featured surveillance camera footage and paparazzi shots of the couple at home, restaurants, a gas station and even lounging on yachts.
Lopez confirmed her engagement to Affleck during a November 2002 interview with Diane Sawyer. She proudly showed off a pink engagement ring, calling it "the most magnificent thing I've ever seen."
"I still look at it and kind of marvel at it," Lopez said during the interview. "He’s like, 'I just wanted you to have something that no one else would have.' "
Lopez and Affleck were set to tie the knot in September 2003, but they postponed their nuptials over "the excessive media attention surrounding our wedding."
"When we found ourselves seriously contemplating hiring three separate 'decoy brides' at three different locations, we realized that something was awry," the couple said in a joint statement at the time.
The statement continued: "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."
The couple officially split in January 2004.
At the time, Lopez's rep said, "Jennifer Lopez has ended her engagement to Ben Affleck. At this difficult time, we ask that you respect her privacy."
Both attributed the demise of their relationship to all the media attention.
In 2008, Affleck said he and Lopez were "too accessible" during their high-profile relationship: "I think Jen and I made a mistake in that we fell in love, we were excited and maybe too accessible. I don't think either of us anticipated the degree to which it would take on a world of its own."
In 2014, Lopez called her split from Affleck "my first big heartbreak."
"I was in the tabloids every other week about how my life was falling apart. It was a tough time," she told HuffPost Live. But Lopez added that she would "do it all over again… even the relationship part. "
Lopez went on to marry singer Marc Anthony in 2004 and welcomed twins Max and Emme (now age 13) in 2008. The couple divorced in 2014.
Affleck married actress Jennifer Garner in 2005, and the two divorced in 2018. They share three children together: daughters Violet, 15, Seraphina, 12, and son Samuel, 9.
Lopez got engaged to baseball star Alex Rodriguez in March 2019 and scheduled an Italian wedding for June 2020. They later called off their engagement in April after they "realized we are better as friends and look forward to remaining so."
"She remains, to this day, the hardest-working person I've come across in this business," Affleck said at the time.
In addition of praising her talent, Affleck also pointed out her seeming inability to age.
"Where are you keeping the fountain of youth?" he joked. "Why do you look the same as you did in 2003 and it kind of looks like I'm in my 40s…at best?"
The feeling was mutual. Lopez replied, "Ben is funny! He still looks pretty good too."
A month after Lopez split from Rodriguez, she and Affleck were caught on camera over and over again.
Rumors started to churn after it came to light the pair both attended the Vax Live concert in L.A. May 7, in which Lopez performed. They appeared separately but the coincidence took over social media timelines. A couple days later, photos obtained and published by Daily Mail showed Lopez and Affleck driving in a car together in Montana over Mother's Day weekend.
Leah Remini contributed to the talk of the town after posting a quick clip of the two taking a picture together during her birthday celebration in late June.
Over the July 4th holiday weekend, Lopez and Affleck were seen enjoying a day out at Universal Studios Hollywood in California with their kids, according to photos and reports from Page Six and Entertainment Weekly. The next day photos obtained by Page Six and People showed Bennifer enjoying a cozy walk together in in coordinated beige ensembles.
On Lopez' 52nd birthday, she posted a series of bikini-laced Instagram photos that ended with a kiss. On the last slide she wore her new-but-old lover Affleck, locked by the lips.
"5 2 … what it do …..," she wrote on the relationship reveal.
The couple went on to hit several high-profile red carpets.
They walked hand-in-hand at the Venice Film Festival in September ahead of the premiere of Affleck's new film "The Last Duel." The couple shared a sweet kiss for all the world to see.
Not a week later, the two showed more PDA the night of the 2021 Met Gala. Lopez posed on the famed steps of New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art alone but still put on a show with Affleck. After stepping inside the event, the two kissed in front of cameras with their masks still on.