“It’s just a blanket, a quilt of rose petals, all over the whole entire house,” Lopez remembered in an ABC exclusive interview with Diane Sawyer, announcing their engagement. Sorry to everything Ben Affleck stands for, but no film could begin to encompass the daily drama (and hilarity) of his real life. March 26, 2004: Jersey Girl, Bennifer’s second try at being a movie-star couple, directed by Kevin Smith, the man who now claims he gave them the nickname “Bennifer,” premieres. And we’re left with a grim yet sexy prediction of their hyperpublic downfall that even J.Lo tried to get removed from MTV and VH1 in 2004. “We will continue to work together and support each other on our shared businesses and projects.”

Bennifer, Back on the Block

April 30, 2021: The public gets its first glimpse of Bennifer in 17 years, as Affleck is seen going back and forth from her Los Angeles mansion. “But watching that get so blown out of proportion, I was like, Wow, so this is where we’re at: You can’t walk into a place and hang out with a couple of friends without it turning into a national scandal.” Ben himself denied cheating via a spokesperson and reportedly considered suing the Enquirer. But worshipping J.Lo’s backside was a performance choice all his own. July 26, 2002: J.Lo files for divorce from husband No. March 8, 2020: Deep Water stars Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas take a trip to her home country, Cuba. April 15, 2021: Okay, sources might have been onto something. Affleck and Garner marry in 2005, then welcome three kids: Violet in December of that year, Seraphina in January 2009, and Samuel in February 2012. They first met on the set of Pearl Harbor in 2000, but Affleck would later say they fell in love in 2002, on the set of Daredevil, while they were both in other relationships. Raya doesn’t exist yet. 2 after a month of separation (but that’s a story for a prequel timeline). Though it’s mostly remembered for crashing and burning as hard as the relationship had, I can’t be the only 2000s kid straight-up traumatized by Gertie (Lopez) dying during childbirth??? “We are working through some things.”

April 5, 2021: In an InStyle cover honoring J.Lo with praise from her friends and collaborators, both Marc Anthony and Ben Affleck call her the hardest worker they know while A-Rod isn’t quoted. “We have realized we are better as friends and look forward to remaining so,” the couple tell Today in another joint statement. “All the heartache and pain of my recent breakup couldn’t have been for nothing, could it? August 5, 2002: People magazine pays $75,000 for nine photos of J.Lo and Ben Affleck riding in a Bentley convertible, including one where they “lip-lock.”

November 5, 2002: MTV’s TRL premieres the music video for “Jenny From the Block,” a Y2K mood board starring Bennifer, combining J.Lo’s roots with her new movie-star lifestyle. Around 2017, J.Lo briefly has a thing with Drake, who himself boasts a cornucopia of famous exes that would derail this timeline. “All the reports are inaccurate,” reads a joint statement from the couple to TMZ. July 17, 2003: Affleck reportedly pays a visit to a strip club in Vancouver, where he was recording Paycheck, hours after their intimate Dateline interview aired. Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

March 2003: Affleck denies any notion that he acted on his feelings before J.Lo and Judd separated. Now, they’re back to their old Y2K ways. And my song ‘Glad’ was playing … I walk in and I was just, like, overwhelmed. ‘Co-stars’ and ‘friends’

Early 2002: Pop star Jennifer Lopez and Hollywood golden boy Ben Affleck meet on the set of Gigli while Lopez is married to her second husband, Cris Judd. When we found ourselves seriously contemplating hiring three separate ‘decoy brides’ at three different locations, we realised that something was awry. “They picked up where they last left off and are enjoying each other’s company right now.” Aren’t we all? See, the song is a megabop asserting J.Lo’s street cred, but the video itself is about the public’s obsession with the couple, told through the literal lens of the paparazzi following them from lunch to the yacht to the gas station and home, hoping to catch intimate moments between Jenny from the block and Boston’s hometown hero. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez have rekindled Bennifer over a week in Montana now that the stars have realigned and they’re both single at the same time … again. When they get back, they quarantine and perform for paparazzi together in Los Angeles, confirming their romance. Their 2021 reunion has inspired endless gossip (bless the “sources”), not to mention several essays devoted to our nearly two-decade-long cultural obsession with this perfectly odd couple. February 3, 2021: Rumors that A-Rod is cheating with Southern Charm star Madison LeCroy begin to flood the tabloids like Miami during the rainy season. “It’s natural between them, and the chemistry is unreal,” a J.Lo source told E!, also confirming that he reached out to her. “At this difficult time, we ask that you respect her privacy.” That did not happen. June 5, 2004: J.Lo marries Marc Anthony, whom she first dated back in 1999 after they collaborated on “No Me Ames.” “We thought that this was where everything was supposed to lead, that we were meant to end up together,” wrote Lopez in her 2014 book, True Love. January 23, 2004: “Dumped,” reads the headline from the Chicago Tribune. “They’ve never not been,” a source tells “Page Six.”

May 2, 2021: Ben and Jen spend the week in Montana, arriving back in L.A. Ben famously leans over and kisses her butt while they sun on a yacht (yes, this relationship explains his early 2000s tan), and nobody here can blame him, really. December 2020: Lopez talks about having to postpone the wedding twice during the coronavirus pandemic on Access Hollywood. We felt what should have been a joyful and sacred day could be spoiled for us, our families, and our friends. The video went early-2000s viral, so ultimately, exposing themselves to comment on their overexposure backfired. And then they ask why millennials aren’t having babies. LeCroy tries to clarify by saying she and Rodriguez never met in-person and “[have] never been physical … never had any kind of anything.”

March 12, 2021: Sources tell “Page Six” that A-Rod and J.Lo have split up. “What they put in the paper is not what happened, so it doesn’t matter,” she would tell W magazine later that summer, in an interview that came out in October. Bennifer at the Gigli premiere. Benny From the Block

The Ass-Smooch Heard Round the World

While kissing a booty long-rumored to be worthy of a $27-million-dollar insurance policy is on many of our bucket lists, in 2008, Affleck said the music video was his “big regret” of the relationship. Bennifer’s back, baby. Shortly after, reports start to suggest Lopez has stopped wearing her million-dollar ring. Unengaged! Meanwhile, J.Lo and Marc Anthony have twins, Emme and Maximilian, in 2008, and dramatically divorce three years later in 2011. Due to the excessive media attention surrounding our wedding, we have decided to postpone the date. “I am confirming the reports that Jennifer Lopez has ended her engagement to Ben Affleck,” a rep states. “That is absolutely not true,” he tells Vanity Fair. April 2002: Affleck takes out a full-page ad in trade magazines to compliment J.Lo, which doesn’t exactly say “bestie vibes only.” “It has been nothing but an honor and a pleasure to work with you,” it reads, in part. We began to feel that the spirit of what should have been the happiest day of our lives could be compromised. March 14, 2021: Except, apparently, sources need to mind their own goddamned business. Within months of her separation, Ben proposed to Jen at his mother’s house in Boston. “I only wish I were lucky enough to be in all your movies.” Signed: “With love, respect, and gratitude, Ben Affleck.”

July 24, 2002: “Co-stars” and “friends” Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are seen kissing and cuddling at a surprise-birthday party for the Leo superstar, one of the first events marking the start of their relationship with the tabloids. “It goes against the fundamental code I believe in and live by: being honest, doing things with which I can live, rather than be ashamed of — doing esteemable things.” The couple never officially says when they got together, but they do emphasize their innocence. August 1, 2003: Gigli is dead on arrival — a box-office and critical bomb, with a worldwide gross of $7.7 million against a $75.6 million budget — and so are the vibes between the supposed “It” couple at the premiere, fueling suspicions that the romance is dying down. Yes, we have Meghan Markle now, but let’s be honest, her wedding was modest compared to what J.Lo could cook up. Maybe I had to go through the bad so I could end up with the person I was meant to be with all along.”

October 23, 2004: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner make their first public appearance as Bennifer: The Sequel at the World Series. Not to be outdone, Affleck and Garner go on to divorce in 2018 and Affleck rebounds with a massive dragon tattoo. on Saturday, May 8, sources tell anyone who would listen. Over less than two years, from 2002 to 2004, their glamorous romance fueled early-tabloid culture, set the standard for ship names, then fizzled out faster than it began. Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

It’s a Hollywood love story 19 years in the making. January 18, 2021: The pandemic does not end, but BenAna does. September 14, 2003: A wedding for 400 in Santa Barbara, California, does not happen in spite of reports. Within a year, they were married to Jennifer Garner and Marc Anthony, respectively, occupying celebrity news with other people. Two days later, J-Rod attend the Biden-Harris inauguration and any marital strife is drowned out by J.Lo’s most patriotic “Let’s Get Loud” yet. November 2002: By November, they’re engaged. For starters, their reunion comes with a big ol’ disclaimer that they’re friends. Catch up on Bennifer with this timeline of their relationship across the ages. Related

J.Lo and A-Rod Split, Officially This Time

Tags: Jennifer Lopez officially ends the discourse (and her relationship) in a statement to the Associated Press. “So many candles, and vases, bouquets. I wasn’t expecting it, and I was just like, ‘Oh my God.’” The ring, a pink diamond the size of Affleck’s head, would go down in pop-culture monogamy history. Engaged! But, as J.Lo also told People in 2016 of her past relationship with Affleck, “I think different time, different thing, who knows what could’ve happened, but there was a genuine love there.” Interesting you would say that …

Intermission II

A Moment for BenAna and J-Rod

March 9, 2019: After dating for two years, former Yankee Alex Rodriguez proposes to J.Lo with the kind of ring that has something to prove (because it does), and the world begins to anticipate another J.Lo–sized royal wedding. The National Enquirer claimed he cheated on her with at least one woman and that the encounter might be on tape. “There’s no rush, we’re good, everything’s cool and it’ll happen when the time is right,” she says without an ounce of fear. And the cycle restarts! In that time, they’ve gotten hotter and richer, while the internet has gotten more adept at exposing celebrities. Where else does Ben Affleck meet any of his girlfriends at this point? (Again, that’s a timeline for another day.)


Two marriages and some babies

2005–2018: An entire decade and some change passes by in a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee-buzz haze. Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

September 13, 2003: The day before the highly anticipated nuptials — America’s version of a royal wedding before Kim Kardashian made it a regular occurrence — Bennifer releases a joint statement via a spokesperson postponing the wedding. What could go wrong? May 19, 2021: “Jennifer is still very excited about how things are going,” an insider tells People, adding that Bennifer is “making plans to see each other” and are “in touch every day” while Lopez returns to Miami.