The ancient Greeks entertained themselves with the on-again, off-again love affairs of the gods.
We get Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, exes back together again, having climbed upon the world stage and taken the opportunity to exchange as much spit as possible. It’s a twist out of a soap opera that has run through every possible pairing and is returning to the couples set up in the pilot. Bennifer, or Lofleck if you like, were last romantically involved in January 2004, when they broke off their engagement. Now, with constant paparazzi shots of the two of them, everything old is new again. (I don’t mean to suggest that 48 and 51 are old! Strike me down with a Super Bowl stripper pole, first.)
Not to be outdone—by anyone, ever, for any reason—Angelina Jolie was seen coming out of Jonny Lee Miller’s apartment two times this week. Jolie and Miller were married for four years and divorced in 1999. Like a leg emerging from a slinky Oscar gown, Jolie deftly asserted herself into the celebs-back-together-with-their-exes trend.
Exes and co-parents Travis Scott and Kylie Jenner were also linked this week, when Scott appeared to refer to Jenner as “Wifey,” and Jenner posted a picture of them upright-spooning. That’s not all—Lopez’s more recent ex-fiancé Alex Rodriguez hung out with his ex-wife, Cynthia Scurtis, this month, too. They lifted weights, both physical, as well as, apparently, the heaviness of the past.
And to bring this entire thing full circle, Ben Affleck’s ex-wife Jennifer Garner recently got back together with one of her exes. His name? John Miller (not to be confused with Johnny Lee Miller, who may be back with Angelina.) It’s almost like the celebrities are trying to entertain us.
Part of what makes these renewed pairings so satisfying is the way that—in the wake of a year of loss—they provide the temporary illusion that time has not passed. Celebrities have access to technologies and treatments that delay the visual effects of aging, so they already give the eerie impression of timelessness. But if they didn’t, seeing our old favorites together is not just nostalgic. It’s a portal to who we were.
Celebrities are acting like they invented getting back with your ex, trying each other on again like beloved jeans found in the back of a closet. As is often the case, stars probably aren’t starting a trend as much as they are very publicly exemplifying an existing one. In the early days of the pandemic, many people experienced the sudden, gnawing desire to get back in touch with an ex. Now—albeit with a much sunnier future ahead of us—the world is shifting under our feet again. When we lose our sense of control, we turn to the comfort of the familiar. If you’re thinking about sending that text, you’re not alone—Google searches for “Should I get back together with my ex” are spiking in June.