Writer, director, producer, movie star… Ben Affleck is more than just multitalented. He's a guy who's learned from his Tinseltown mistakes and gone from child actor to major Hollywood player. To celebrate the release of his newest movie, Netflix's "Triple Frontier," on March 15, 2019, Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at his life. From "Dazed and Confused" and "Good Will Hunting" to directing and daddy duty, check out Ben's life in photos…
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Ben Affleck was born in 1972 in Berkeley, California, and grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His Harvard-educated mom worked as an elementary school teacher. His dad, whom he and little brother Casey Affleck have said was an alcoholic, was a stage manager at a Boston theater company where he worked alongside the likes of Dustin Hoffman and Robert Duvall. Ben's parents divorced when he was a pre-teen. Ben was already acting at age 7. He's seen here with Madeline Kahn in 1986's "The Perfect Guy."
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Ben Affleck was 8 when he met a 10-year-old Matt Damon. They both dreamed of acting careers and worked construction jobs together and saved money to travel to auditions in New York. Ben (seen here in a 1987 high school photo) moved to Los Angeles, where he briefly attended Occidental College, but he dropped out when a creative writing professor rejected an early draft of "Good Will Hunting."
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By the time he was 21, Ben Affleck had landed his first memorable role: glorious jerk Fred O'Bannion in 1993's "Dazed and Confused." The movie would achieve cult status, but the image of Ben as a frat boy (even though he was never in a fraternity) would dog him for years.
Just four years later in 1998, Ben Affleck and best friend Matt Damon won an Academy Award for their "Good Will Hunting" screenplay. Ben also delivered a hilarious supporting role in the film, in which Matt starred. There were rumors at the time that Oscar-winning "All the President's Men" screenwriter William Goldman was responsible for the bulk of the script; the former novelist persistently denied them.
Ben Affleck pulled off a nifty career balancing act throughout the '90s, taking on roles in blockbusters and indies alike. He starred in "Armageddon," the highest grossing film of 1998 (with $553 million in earnings). He also continued to collaborate with indie director Kevin Smith, a partnership that had begun in 1995 with "Mallrats."
Ben Affleck met Gwyneth Paltrow at a Miramax dinner in 1997 and the two immediately hit it off. The cute couple would date off and on for the next couple years before calling it quits for good in 2000. Gwyneth remarked to Howard Stern in 2015 that Ben "wasn't in a good place in his life to have a girlfriend" at the time.
Ben Affleck look like a chiseled Old Hollywood movie star in the the 2001 romantic-drama blockbuster "Pearl Harbor," in which he played a World War II pilot. But behind the scenes, Ben was struggling…
In the summer of 2001, shortly after "Pearl Harbor" was released, Ben Affleck went to rehab for the first time for what he called a "preemptive" strike against alcoholism. He's seen here a few months later at the premiere of "Project Greenlight," his documentary TV series that gave first-time filmmakers a chance to make movies.
Behold… Bennifer. In 2002, Ben started dating Jennifer Lopez after the two met on the set of "Gigli." The movie was universally panned and the couple seemed like complete opposites, but love blossomed. Ben (looking very tan at the 2003 Oscars with Jennifer) proposed to J.Lo with a $2.5 million 6.1-carat pink diamond Harry Winston ring in November 2002.
In 2003, Ben Affleck was caught up in a scandal when a stripper told the National Enquirer that he got into some monkey business with her at Christian Slater's house in Vancouver. Fiancée Jennifer Lopez found out about it — Ben sued the tabloid — live during a radio interview. The pair (seen here at a Yankees vs. Red Sox game in October 2003) put their September 2003 wedding on hold and eventually ended things for good in January 2004, in part because of the constant media attention. In her book "True Love," J.Lo called the split her "first real heartbreak."
"Gigli" wasn't the only Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez movie that tanked. Ben and J.Lo also starred in 2004's "Jersey Girl," which performed terribly at the box office. Ben's first superhero movie, "Daredevil," was also a major disaster. But it did have a silver lining…
Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck connected on the set of 2003's "Daredevil" after previously meeting on the set of "Pearl Harbor." They began dating after Jen split from first husband Scott Foley and Ben broke up with Jennifer Lopez. The pair went public with their relationship during Game 1 of the 2004 World Series in Boston.
First comes the love, then comes marriage! Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner eloped in June 2005 on a private beach in Turks and Caicos. Her "Alias" co-star Victor Garber officiated. Jen (seen here with Ben at a Boston Red Sox baseball game in October 2005) was already pregnant with daughter Violet when they exchanged vows.
Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner became parents for the first time when they welcomed daughter Violet Affleck in December 2005. "They're most important in my life," Ben told Us Weekly about his family. "Family is a wonderful thing, but it doesn't mean you can't do other stuff in your life. In fact, having a family makes whatever other thing you have that much richer. If it was just me, I'd be home alone and think, 'Well, something good happened at work,' but it's much nicer to share it with people you love." Ben and his firstborn are seen here in November 2009.
Remember when everybody was obsessed with poker during the aughts? Well, Ben Affleck was one of those people. And he was really good at the game — and gambling in general. In 2014, the actor (pictured here at the 2004 World Poker Celebrity match) made headlines when he was banned from playing blackjack at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas for counting cards. "That is true," he told Details. "I took some time to learn the game and became a decent blackjack player. And once I became decent, the casinos asked me not to play blackjack."
Violet Affleck was soon joined by a little sister. Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck welcomed their second daughter, Seraphina, in January 2009. The family of four is pictured here taking Violet to soccer practice in September 2010.
In 2007, Ben Affleck directed his first feature film, "Gone Baby Gone," which starred his brother, Casey Affleck. The well-reviewed crime movie was set in Boston.
In 2010, Ben Affleck directed another excellent movie, "The Town," but it was 2012's spectacular "Argo" that cemented his place as one of Hollywood's directors to watch. He produced, directed and starred in the film, which tells the true story of six U.S. diplomats who were rescued from Iran. Ben won Golden Globe, BAFTA and Directors Guild awards for best director as well as Golden Globe, BAFTA, Producers Guild awards and an Oscar for best picture.
In February 2012, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner completed their family with the birth of their third child and first son, Samuel. The actor-director and his tiny tot are pictured here at a gymnastics academy in Los Angeles on Nov. 10, 2013.
Ben Affleck went on to star in the anticipated film "Gone Girl," which is based on the best-selling novel of the same name, in 2014. The movie was an instant success, earning over $369 million at the box office and numerous awards.
After months of speculation, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner announced plans to divorce in 2015 after 10 years of marriage. "After much thought and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to divorce. We go forward with love and friendship for one another and a commitment to co-parenting our children whose privacy we ask to be respected during this difficult time. This will be our only comment on this private family matter. Thank you for understanding," they said in a joint statement released that June. They're seen here at one of their last red carpets as a couple in November 2014.
Fresh off his separation, Ben Affleck took on the role of Batman in 2016's "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." His decision to join the DC Extended Universe was surprising considering his recent filmmaking success, but critics enjoyed his performance. He went on to rock the Batsuit twice more in 2016's "Suicide Squad" and 2017's "Justice League."
Ben Affleck returned to filmmaking in 2017 when he directed, wrote, produced and starred in "Live by Night." Unlike his previous filmmaking attempts however, "Live by Night" was a critical failure and a box-office bomb.
Although separated, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner often made headlines as they managed to successfully co-parent their children, which is often a rarity in Hollywood. Even in the wake of their divorce announcement, the two were often spotted taking their kids, Seraphina, Samuel and Violet, on trips together, as well as to church, school and sports practices. The family of five is pictured here walking from their Los Angeles-area school in March 2018.
Ben Affleck went public with a new romance in the summer of 2017 when he confirmed he was seeing "Saturday Night Live" producer Lindsay Shookus (reports at the time claimed the two might have actually been seeing one another for far longer). Ben and Lindsay were spotted on several dates together, including at the 2017 U.S. Open Men's Championships (pictured here), before their relationship fizzled in August 2018.
Unfortunately, his split from Lindsay Shookus and floundering filmmaking career took a toll on Ben Affleck. Though he'd revealed in a March 2017 Facebook post that he'd just "completed treatment for alcohol addiction," he relapsed. As things came to a head in August 2018, Ben went on several dates — including to a Jack In The Box drive-thru — with 22-year-old Playboy model Shauna Sexton.
Jennifer Garner staged an intervention for her estranged husband in August 2018 and personally drove him to a rehab facility in Malibu, where he completed a 40-day residential treatment program. "The support I have received from my family, colleagues and fans means more to me than I can say. It's given me the strength and support to speak about my illness with others," Ben said in a statement after getting sober again. "Battling any addiction is a lifelong and difficult struggle. Because of that, one is never really in or out of treatment. It is full-time commitment. I am fighting for myself and my family."
In the wake of his newfound sobriety, Ben Affleck reconnected with old friends. The "Argo" director joined Matt Damon and Jimmy Kimmel at the 2018 World Series in Los Angeles where the group celebrated the Boston Red Sox beating the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Ben Affleck soon bounced back from his relapse and refocused on his family. He and Jennifer Garner finalized their divorce in October 2018. The devoted co-parents were photographed laughing and smiling while out and about in Los Angeles in February 2019.
Career-wise, things started looking up for Ben Affleck after he hung up Batman's cape and cowl and bowed out of directing a standalone Batman film. Not only is he starring in 2019's "Triple Frontier" alongside Garrett Hedlund and Charlie Hunnam, but he's slated to appear in the upcoming films "The Last Thing He Wanted" and "Torrance." Ben, Garrett and Charlie are seen here are the "Triple Frontier" premiere in New York City in March 2019.
Ben Affleck didn't attend the "Triple Frontier" premiere by his lonesome. Lindsay Shookus was by his side at the Netflix film's March 2019 debut, confirming reports that the two had rekindled their romance. "He and Lindsay are spending time together. He loves to be with her," a source told People magazine.