Ben Affleck is opening up about what it was like dating Jennifer Lopez during the peak of the celebrity tabloid era.
During a recent conversation on The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast, Affleck specifically spoke about how the press and fans treated the J.Lo Beauty mogul back in the early 2000s. He doesn’t remember it fondly.
“People were so fucking mean about her—sexist, racist. Ugly, vicious shit 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, per People. “Now it’s like, she’s lionized and respected for the work she did, where she came from, what she accomplished—as well she fucking should be!”
The pair dated back in 2002 after meeting on the set of Gigli. However, they called it quits in 2004, just four days before they were supposed to get married.
The press around Ben Affleck’s relationship with Jennifer Lopez is somewhat similar to his current situation with girlfriend Ana de Armas (Knives Out). Since linking up romantically this past summer, the pair have been accused of staging their relationship as an elaborate publicity stunt for clout or to promote their upcoming film, Deep Water.
“You know, there’s always a story of the month, and me dating Jennifer Lopez happened to be that tabloid story at the time when that business grew exponentially,” Affleck said on the podcast, per People. “Still, to this day, [some] will go, ‘I see you out there in the paparazzi and the pictures!’ It’s like, ‘Yes, I left my house and took out the trash. It’s not like I’m trying to—.’ And it’s still like, ‘You were taking a pap walk!’ As if, if you leave your house, you’re only doing so in the hope that you could be so lucky that you could end up as the sixth item in the Daily Mail. It’s absurd!”