Ben Affleck has said Jennifer Lopez was subjected to “sexist, racist” abuse during their high-profile romance.
The pair became engaged in 2002 after meeting on the set of the critically-maligned mobster comedy Gigli, but broke up in 2004 after postponing their wedding amid increasing media attention.
The 48-year-old said his relationship with Lopez, 51, which was dubbed “Bennifer” in the press, faced greater scrutiny because it coincided with the rise of tabloid magazines in the US.
Speaking on The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast, he said: “People were so f****** mean about her — sexist, racist. Ugly, vicious shit was written about her in ways that if you wrote it now you would literally be fired for saying those things you said.
“Now it’s like, she’s lionised and respected for the work she did, where she came from, what she accomplished — as well she f****** should be!
“I would say you have a better shot, coming from the Bronx, of ending up as like (Justice Sonia) Sotomayor on the Supreme Court than you do of having Jennifer Lopez’s career and being who she is at 50 years old today.”
Affleck was married to Jennifer Garner for 13 years from 2005 and is now dating Ana de Armas, while Lopez is engaged to former baseball player Alex Rodriguez.
The Hollywood star, who has won two Oscars as a filmmaker, recently starred in The Way Back, in which he portrays an alcoholic basketball coach coming to terms with the end of his marriage.
Reflecting on his own public battles with drink, Affleck said: “I started drinking too much around the time of (2017 film) Justice League, and it’s a hard thing to confront and face and deal with.
“I’ve been sober for a while now, and I feel really good — as healthy and good as I’ve ever felt.
“And the process of recovering from alcoholism has been really instructive. I think it’s great for people who aren’t alcoholics, you know?
“Like, ‘Be honest. Have integrity. Take accountability. Help other people.’ It’s a good set of things that they teach you.
“It took me a little while to get it — I had a few slips, like most people — but I feel really good.”