25 years since he won his first Oscar alongside his childhood BFF, Ben Affleck has been firmly in the public eye for more than half his life.
During this time, Ben has faced his fair share of personal struggles on the world stage, so he maintains a fairly transparent attitude when it comes to discussing his struggles with alcohol.
He has sought treatment for alcoholism several times in recent years, receiving professional help in 2008, 2017 and again in 2018 after his divorce from Jennifer Garner was finalized.
He briefly relapsed in 2019, but said he wouldn’t let it “derail” him, admitting: “It happens, it’s a slip.”
That same year, the actor admitted that “being an alcoholic” is something he deals with on a daily basis, saying Today show: “It doesn’t have to subjugate my entire identity and be everything, but it’s something you have to work on.”
And now, in a wide-ranging interview with The Hollywood Reporter published yesterday, Ben reflects on the complications that come with sobriety in the spotlight, admitting that he feels like he’s become the face of celebrity alcoholism.
“I’ve become — against my will — one of the poster boys for alcoholism and actor recovery and the whole thing,” he told the report, going on to admit that being so open about his struggles comes with its ups and downs.
“The best part about it is sometimes people call me and say, ‘Hey, can you help me?’ And it makes me feel so good to do that,” he said, adding that “the big trick of the 12-step is the reason they want you to help other people is because it actually helps you more.”
However, despite recognizing the positives that have come from his openness, Ben said the advice he often gives his celebrity peers in similar situations is to “avoid” going public with their addictions.
“You don’t have to be anybody’s poster child,” he said. “You don’t have to tell anyone. That’s why there are two words at the front of the book. They are equally important, both: Alcoholics Anonymous. It’s always anonymous.”
Since Ben’s addiction has become so public, it’s unfortunately become common for fans to speculate about his health — especially since he married Jennifer Lopez in July of last year.
For example, a video clip of Jennifer and Ben having a seemingly tense conversation at the premiere of her movie, Wedding shotgunwent viral in January after fans suspected the pair were arguing over Ben’s drinking.
In the candid clip – which has amassed more than 10.5 million views on TikTok – Ben can be seen nodding to Jen, who is drinking from a glass of wine in front of him. When she seems oblivious to what he is saying, he tries to say her name.
Fans began to speculate that Jen was accusing Ben of drinking alcohol, with a lip reader on TikTok claiming that Ben was saying: “I didn’t drink anything, okay?” while Jen tasted his drink to check.
More recently, Ben has been in the spotlight after he was spotted looking ‘bored’ and ‘miserable’ while he and Jen attended the Grammys last month.
The couple has gone viral once again after they were caught on camera having another tense exchange.
In the video, Ben can be seen leaning in to whisper in Jen’s ear, only for her to suddenly turn her head and say something sternly to him. She then places her hand on her chest and looks to tell Ben to sit down as she immediately adjusts his posture.
Fans on Twitter had a field day speculating what the married couple could be ‘fighting’ about, with people speculating that Ben’s unusual behavior on the night may have been because he had been drinking.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter this week, Ben was quick to reassure people that he was, in fact, having a “great time”.
“My wife was going and I thought, ‘Well, there’s going to be good music. It can be fun,” he said. “At film award shows, it’s speeches and, like, audio mixing webinars. But I thought this would be fun.”
He went on to reveal what was really going on between him and Jen during this viral clip, admitting that it was all down to a little ‘husband’ teasing.
“I saw [Grammy host Trevor Noah approach] and I said, “Oh, my God.” They were framing us in this shot, but I didn’t know they were rolling. I leaned over her and said, ‘Once they start rolling, I’m going to slide away from you and let you sit next to Trevor,'” she recalled, adding that Jen replied, “You better not go. “”
But when it came to speculation that he was drinking, Ben was less light-hearted.
“I’ve been to events and pissed off. I’ve been and I’m bored. I’ve been to award shows and gotten drunk, a bunch. No one ever said I was drunk,” he said. “[But at the Grammys] he was like, ‘He’s drunk.'”
The Argo The director went on to say that he found these categories “interesting,” suggesting that they speak to broader issues around sobriety navigating the public.
“That raises a whole other issue about whether or not it’s wise to recognize addiction because there’s a lot of compassion, but there’s still a huge stigma,” he said, “which is often quite disabling.”
She added that the stigma “discourages people from making their lives better.”