Ben Affleck continues to get candid about his personal life.
The 47-year-old actor sat down with “Extra’s” Terri Seymour in New York City to talk about his new movie, “The Way Back,” and his struggles with addiction off-screen.
In the movie, Ben plays a former basketball star battling addiction who gets a second chance. He shot the film after a rehab stint in 2018, the same year his divorce from ex-wife Jennifer Garner was finalized. He shared, “Jen’s a great mom, she’s been very cooperative co-parenting. We both understand that’s what’s most important for the parents of divorced kids is to see the parents respect one another… You can learn a lot about a man’s character in how they treat the mother of their children.”
Affleck and Garner called it quits in 2015, but have remained close friends.
Ben also clarified a comment he made about the divorce setting off his drinking problem. He said, “What I mean was, there’s that moment when you have to tell your kids, ‘Hey we’re breaking up,’ and that kind of shatters their world — that was very painful.”
He emphasized that they made the right decision to get divorced, saying, “I wish her the best and she is very supportive and helpful. We get along in a very fluid way.”
Affleck also praised Garner for her social media prowess. He commented, “I’m pleased to see she has become such an Instagram star. That’s cool — she seems to know how to do that very well."
Does that mean we can expect Affleck to take the plunge next? "I wouldn’t be good at that," he said.
As for why Affleck is being so open about his life right now, he explained, “People will, in my experience, people ask you about your personal life whatever the movie is… One of the things interesting about this movie is it does bring up this issue of addiction… A lot of this compulsive behavior is causing pain and problems… It’s also linked to mental health, and that’s another thing that’s being destigmatized… I was excited chiefly to tell a story about a character who was suffering, and has suffered and could get past it.”
Ben revealed that he pulled from his personal life for his performance in “The Way Back," saying, “You got to try and pull as much as you can… You got to find ways that you can identify with the characters. In some cases, it’s things I have been through literally, like recovery. In some cases, it’s things like personal tragedy. Thank God I don’t know what that’s like and had to use my imagination… I had full access to my emotions… I was in a very positive place. I was able to find a lot of different stuff.”
When asked if it was cathartic for him, Ben answered, “It was cathartic. I hope it’s cathartic for the audience… The catharsis comes from empathy, compassion, identifying with the character.”
Affleck hopes the audience connects to the movie as much as he did. Joined by co-stars Melvin Gregg and Charles Lott Jr., he noted, “I loved coming to work every day… I got to play a real scene every day. These guys, the basketball players, were amazing... It was really satisfying.”
“The Way Back” hits theaters March 6.