Jennifer Lopez Recalled Her Very First Interaction With Ben Affleck While Making “Gigli” In 2002

“They did a read-through of the whole thing and I remember just walking in,” J.Lo said. “I think he was outside smoking a cigarette.”

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck may have only been married a few years, but their romance spans decades.

Closeup of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez

From 2002 to 2004, Jen and Ben were engaged after meeting on the set of their movie Gigli.

Closeup of Ben Affleck and J.Lo on the red carpet

As you might know, Gigli was a total flop. After its release in 2003, the film was described as one of the “worst” movies of the century so far — and it’s only aged more poorly as time has passed.

Closeup of Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck

But, for better or worse, Gigli remains a major part of pop culture history thanks to the fact that it was the movie that sparked Ben and J.Lo’s decades-spanning love story.

Closeup of Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck

In a recent interview with Variety, Jen reflected on her first-ever meeting with her now-husband at an early table read for Gigli.

Closeup of Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck

“They did a read through of the whole thing and I remember just walking in,” the singer recalled. “I think he was outside smoking a cigarette, and I saw him and we just talked for a minute and I sat down and we did the read through.”

Closeup of Ben and J.Lo

“I don’t remember a whole bunch more about it,” she added, “but I remember being on the set with him every day and loving it.”

J.Lo and Ben kissing on the red carpet

At the time of their first interaction in 2002, Jennifer was still married to her second husband, Cris Judd. She filed to divorce Cris that year, and by July, she and Ben had made their relationship public.

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez walking outside

Ben proposed to Jen in November 2002, although they eventually called off their first wedding in 2004 — later saying that the excessive media attention "destroyed" their relationship.

Ben and J.Lo at a sporting event

Despite the chaos that followed Gigli, Ben has previously opened up about falling for his now-wife while shooting the movie, describing the whole experience as a “perfect storm.”

Closeup of J.Lo and Ben

“It's just that it became a story in and of itself,” he said in 2022, admitting that he thought the poorly received film would end his career.

Closeup of Ben Affleck

“It engendered a lot of negative feelings in people about me,” he recalled. “There's that aspect of people that I got to see that was sad and hard, it was depressing and really made me question things and feel disappointed and have a lot of self-doubt.”

Closeup of Ben Affleck

Despite the backlash, he expressed how grateful he was that the movie led him toward the two loves of his life: J.Lo and directing.

Closeup of Ben and Jennifer

“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,” he said. “And I did get to meet Jennifer, the relationship with whom has been really meaningful to me in my life.”

J.Lo and Ben

“So in those ways, it's a gift,” he said.

Ben and J.Lo

You can watch Jennifer’s full Variety video here.

Topics in this article

Skip to footer