‘Gigli’ was critically panned and a box office bomb, but it’s also the film that birthed Bennifer — and allowed Ben Affleck to discover his passion for directing.
Even Oscar winner Ben Affleck has a bad movie or two — but none are as memorable as his box office bomb Gigli with girlfriend Jennifer Lopez. The 2003 flick had plenty of hype due to Bennifer mania at the time, but ultimately bombed at the box office — bringing in $7.2 million worldwide after costing $75 million to make. Despite the bad reviews, Ben still looks at the project — which did introduce him to J.Lo — as a “gift.”
“If the reaction to Gigli hadn’t happened, I probably wouldn’t have ultimately decided, ‘I don’t really have any other avenue but to direct movies,’ which has turned out to be the real love of my professional life,” Ben said during an interview with BFF Matt Damon in Entertainment Weekly, which was published on Jan. 11. “So in those ways, it’s a gift. And I did get to meet Jennifer, the relationship with whom has been really meaningful to me in my life,” he added.
Jennifer was married to Cris Judd at the time they started filming Gigli, however her marriage fell apart shortly after. Ben and J.Lo’s on-set friendship quickly became an off-screen romance that resulted in a media frenzy (which also birthed the nickname “Bennifer”). The couple, then in their early 30s, became engaged in Nov. 2002 after Ben proposed at his mother’s Boston home with an iconic Harry Winston pink diamond that cost a reported $2 million. After postponing their Labor Day 2003 wedding, the couple sadly split for in Jan. 2004 — shockingly rekindling their romance in April 2021.
During the chat, Ben reflected on the past media attention surrounded his relationship with Jen and how it affected Gigli. “The funny name, the Jennifer Lopez romance and overexposure of that, it was kind of a perfect storm,” he recalled. “And I remember talking to [director Martin Brest] the Friday it came out and I was like it’s just spectacular, it’s a tsunami, it couldn’t be worse. This is as bad as it gets,” Ben said. The box office bomb, he added, “engendered a lot of negative feelings in people about” him, which he revealed “was depressing and really made me question things and feel disappointed and have a lot of self-doubt.”