The news that came late yesterday sent shockwaves across the nation – no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump’s big mouth or bigger hair or NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s rift with Governor Andrew Cuomo – Hollywood super couple Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner were parting ways. Oh, such a travesty, this ending of Bennifer II, for anyone who believes in Cinderella tales, caviar wishes, and Bernie Sanders’ campaign dreams.
Alas, another celebrity split – the inevitable chemical reaction to the concept of marriage thrown into the toxic beaker called Hollywood. No, I haven’t been waiting to write that sentence my whole life, but it’s just a sudden thought about what did seem like a fairy tale romance in a sea of tempestuous unions and illicit affairs in La-la Land.
In my house Ben is already “dead meat” in the eyes of my wife and daughter. “How could he do this to Jennifer?” They watch TMZ – sacred scripture to those who believe in the gods and goddesses of Mount Hollywood – and hear the story about how Ben’s drinking and gambling doomed the relationship. Bad Ben; bad, bad boy!
I must confess that I feel sorry for Ben here – female readers, please don’t start attacking me before you read further. Jennifer has the all –American girl factor, seems to be an earth mother, and is the nurturing sort. Despite coming on my radar as the kick-ass Sydney in the TV series Alias, since then Jennifer has grown into the loving mother-friend-wife anyone would want to have – both on screen and off.
Ben, on the other hand, has always been sort of an outlaw – in terms of the way he has been perceived ever since hoisting that Oscar with old buddy Matt Damon triumphantly in the air for the film Good Will Hunting. Since that film I must confess I have seen only two other Affleck films – The Town with him playing a bank robber who romances one of his victims and Gone Girl as a cheating husband whose wife goes to great lengths to be “gone” and then some. Neither of these films would have won Ben any fans as hubby of the year, and perception is everything.
It seems Jennifer will be able to rebound from this with aplomb. She will be offered sympathy from all those females who knew Ben was a cad since Bennifer I (when he broke poor little Jennifer Lopez’s heart). Ben comes off a bit cocky and speaks eloquently enough when appearing on TV shows, but there is something about gambling and drinking that will get the fans wondering what other impulses he cannot control. Ben could go out and surprise us all and make a film where he’s a good boy, but don’t bank on it.
Of course, the real victims – and no, they are not the brokenhearted fans – are the couple’s three children. Here we have totally innocent kids who, like many celebrity children who came before them, have life as they know it totally destroyed. Whether it’s Ben’s habits or whatever else went on between the couple, the sad truth is that this is another split family in a Hollywood maelstrom where they are as commonplace as your daily cup of latte.
I am usually not inspired to write about such things – the last time I did was when Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes split. Even then I was more motivated by the fact that their daughter Siri was losing something more than her parents. After Tom had jumped around on Oprah’s couch, who wouldn’t think that TomKat was a union that would last forever?
So we bid adieu to Bennifer II. As I said to my daughter, “They’re gone, girl!” Needless to say, she was not amused.
Photo credits: usmagazine.com, tmz.com, spot/akm-gsi
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