In May 2021, American media buzzed with rumors that Jennifer Lopez, 51, and Ben Affleck, 48, had rekindled their romance after a roughly two-decade hiatus from dating one another.
Before we determine the legitimacy of the underlying assertion — whether “Bennifer” was again a Hollywood couple, as of this writing — let us provide some context regarding the celebrities’ history.
Affleck and Lopez first met in late 2001 while filming the romantic comedy “Gigli.” Shortly later, they confirmed there was off-screen chemistry between them, too, and stories about the A-list power couple — dubbed “Bennifer” — dominated celebrity tabloids.
Then, in late 2002, Lopez revealed during an interview with journalist Diane Sawyer that they were engaged to be married. The pair scheduled their wedding for the following year but ultimately called off the ceremony, citing paparazzi and reporters’ obsession with documenting the event.
“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 statement to media at the time.
They split ways a few months later. Years later, while reflecting on their early-aughts romance, Lopez told PEOPLE magazine:
“I felt like … ‘Okay, this is it,’” she said. “[But] sometimes I feel like what you think people are and how you see them when you love them is different than when they reveal later. […] I think different time different thing, who knows what could’ve happened, but there was a genuine love there.”
‘Bennifer’ In 2021?
Next, we first considered why, and under what circumstances, celebrity tabloids alleged the start of a renewed connection between Lopez and Affleck in spring 2021.
Citing anonymous sources, TMZ reported that Affleck emailed Lopez — telling her “how beautiful she looked” — in February while she was filming the upcoming romantic comedy “Shotgun Wedding” in the Dominican Republic. Apart from the TMZ article (which published on May 11), no evidence substantiated that allegation.
Then, in late April, the two were photographed hanging out together in Los Angeles. Page Six reported Affleck visited J.Lo’s home multiple times after she returned from the Dominican Republican, and an identified source supposedly told the outlet “security picks him up at a nearby location and drops him off after spending a few hours at her house.” Page Six captured a series of photographs allegedly showing Lopez’s white SUV escalade giving Affleck rides.
Days later, Lopez and Affleck appeared separately at a major benefit concert in L.A.
After that, the pair were spotted in Montana. The Daily Mail published photos supposedly showing them driving home after a private flight from Big Sky, where Affleck owns property. An anonymous source told PEOPLE:
“[Jennifer] spent several days with Ben out of town. They have a strong connection. It’s all been quick and intense, but Jennifer is happy.”
E! News also reported on May 10, citing an anonymous source close to Lopez: “Ben reached out to her to see how she was doing and they had dinner together a few times within this last month. It’s natural between them and the chemistry is unreal. They picked up where they last left off and are enjoying each other’s company right now.”
Snopes reached out to publicists representing both Lopez and Affleck to confirm whether they were dating. We have not received any responses, but we will update this report when, or if, that changes.
We considered other evidence — including video footage of Rodriguez, Lopez’s ex-fiance and retired MLB star, and Matt Damon, one of Affleck’s closest friends — regarding the rumors to see if it substantiated the claim. For example, Damon said he first heard of the possible romance minutes before TODAY show hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb asked him about it.
“It’s a fascinating story. I hope it’s true. I love them both. I hope it’s true. That would be awesome,” he told them.
In sum, while photographs indeed depicted Affleck and Lopez hanging out together — including an image that showed them sharing a vehicle together — in spring 2021, there was no proof or on-the-record source confirming a romantic relationship between them. Rather, a relatively equal amount of evidence suggested they were spending time together platonically or to attract attention from celebrity tabloids to purposefully create a media narrative.
On a podcast episode discussing the possible resurgence of “Bennifer,” Julie Kramer, co-founder of Comments by Celebs, said: “No matter what way you shape this — and no matter what way you’re looking at it — it still has an element of PR to it, even if you think it’s genuine.”
Author: Jessica Lee
This post originally appeared on Snopes.com