Jennifer Garner and actor-director Ben Affleck arrive at the Oscars at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 24, 2013 in Hollywood, California. Getty Images/Jason Merritt


  • Ben Affleck said his behavior is his responsibility
  • The "Argo" star clarified that he never blamed Jennifer Garner for his drinking problem
  • Affleck said news outlets "mischaracterized" his words to make them "clickbait"

Ben Affleck is setting the record straight on his "mischaracterized" comments from an old interview.

In a new cover story interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the "Justice League" star recalled the backlash he received after his 2021 interview on SiriusXM's "The Howard Stern Show," where he discussed his alcohol addiction and the end of his marriage to Jennifer Garner, with whom he shares kids Violet, 17, Seraphina, 14, and Samuel, 11.

While discussing the reason he avoids Instagram and is cautious of interviews, Affleck told THR that he had "a really painful experience where I did an interview where I was really vulnerable, and the entire pickup was something that was not only not right, it was actually the opposite of what I meant."

The Oscar winner, who is now married to Jennifer Lopez, clarified that he never blamed his ex-wife for his drinking during that sit-down.

"The idea that I was blaming my wife for my drinking. To be clear, my behavior is my responsibility entirely," Affleck explained. "The point that I was trying to make was a sad one. Anyone who's been through divorce makes that calculus of, How much do we try?"

The "Argo" star stressed that he and Garner loved each other and continue to care about and respect one another after calling it quits in 2015 following 10 years together.

"I was trying to say, 'Hey, look, I was drinking too much, and the less happy you become, whether it's your job, your marriage, it's just that as your life becomes more difficult, if you're doing things to fill a hole that aren't healthy, you're going to start doing more of those things,'" he explained of the 2021 interview.

Affleck admitted that he thought he was "pretty articulate" about the message he wanted to share during his interview with Stern.

However, he told THR he believes his quotes were "mischaracterized ... in order to make it clickbait" and "it didn't matter how many times I said, 'I do not feel this way. I'm telling you, I don't blame my ex-wife for my alcoholism.'"

During his 2021 interview, Affleck told Stern, "We had a marriage that didn't work, this happens," before calling Garner someone "I love and respect, but to whom I shouldn't be married any longer. And we said, 'You know what? We don't want that.'"

Affleck went on to say, "Ultimately, we tried, we tried, we tried because we had kids. And both of us felt like we don't want this to be the model that our kids see of marriage," noting that they would probably be "at each other's throats."

He then added, "I probably [would] still be drinking. You know, like, it was just part of why I started drinking alcohol was I was trapped. You know, I was like, I can't leave because of my kids, but I'm not happy. What do I do? And what I did was like drink a bottle of scotch and fall asleep on the couch, which turned out not to be the solution."

Shortly after his comments made headlines, the "Gone Girl" star explained on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" that his words were taken out of context.

"They had literally taken the conversation that I had had for two hours and made it seem as if I was doing the exact opposite of what I said," Affleck explained of the coverage of his Stern interview.

"It said that I had blamed my ex-wife for my alcoholism, that I was trapped in this marriage — just made me out to be the worst, most insensitive, stupid, awful guy," he added of the reports. "That's not true. I don't believe that — it's the exact opposite of who I am, what I believe, and I would never want my kids to ever say a bad word about their mom."

Despite his issues with the reporting around the interview, Affleck said that he was "really happy" with how his conversation with Stern went.

"Because the movie is about family and all this stuff that's meaningful to me, we talked a lot about my family, divorce, alcoholism and struggling with real things," Affleck told Kimmel. "How you have to be accountable and loving, and how I work with my ex-wife and how I'm so proud of the way that we work together for our kids to the best that we can for them. I was really happy with it. I thought I should do more honest, exploratory, self-evaluating things."

Jennifer Garner, Ben Affleck
Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck are still friendly after finalizing their divorce. Pictured: Jennifer Garner and actor-director Ben Affleck arrive at the Oscars at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, California, Feb. 24, 2013. Getty Images/Jason Merritt