Ben Affleck Revealed How His Divorce from Jennifer Garner Affected His Acting
"I'm at a point now in my life where I have sufficient life experience to bring to a role to make it really interesting for me."
Ben Affleck has been a Hollywood mainstay for over two decades, but his craft is ever-evolving. In a recent roundtable interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the actor and director opened up about how events that transpired in his own life affected his acting.
Speaking to one of his most recent roles, high school basketball coach Jack Cunningham in The Way Back, Affleck said that there were elements of the character that resonated with him on a personal level. "I'm a recovering alcoholic and I played an alcoholic in the movie," he said. Though grief is also a major component of the story and role, Affleck maintained that "a lot of it is about alcoholism."
"Alcoholism, in and of itself," he continued, "and compulsive behavior, are not inherently super interesting, but what is sometimes interesting is what you discover about yourself in the course of recovery and trying to figure out what went wrong, how to fix it, how you want your life to look and what kind of ethics you want to live by."
Affleck went on to discuss how the breadth of his life experiences has contributed to his performances — including his divorce from fellow actor Jennifer Garner.
"Yes, I'm an alcoholic. Yes, I had a relapse. Yes, I went into recovery again. And then I went and did that movie. But for me, the movie was much more about the fact that — whether it's having lived enough years, having seen enough ups and downs, having had children and divorce — I'm at a point now in my life where I have sufficient life experience to bring to a role to make it really interesting for me. I'm not good enough to just invent it from whole cloth, you know? I didn't have to do research for the alcoholism aspect of the movie — that was covered. It was the Daniel Day-Lewis approach to that!"
Affleck and Garner separated in 2015 after a decade of marriage. The former couple shares three children: Violet, 15, Seraphina, 12, and Samuel, 8.
In a 2020 interview with The New York Times, Affleck called his divorce "the biggest regret of my life," admitting that there was a correlation between his alcoholism and the collapse of his marriage.
"What happened was that I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart," he said. "My drinking, of course, created more marital problems."