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Before Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck got divorced in 2018, the famous couple had been together for 16 years, married for 10 of them, and had brought three kids into the world. They may not be a couple anymore, but they’re still co-parents and seem to be dedicated to raising their children together. After all, a co-parenting family is simply another kind of modern family.
Take a look back at the lives of their three children, Violet, Seraphina and Samuel.
When It All Began
In summer 2000, Affleck and Garner first met, on the set of “Pearl Harbor” (Affleck played pilot Rafe McCawley and Garner played Nurse Sandra). However, their relationship didn’t start until 2002, when they were reunited on the set of “Daredevil.” At the time, both of them were in other relationships: Affleck was dating Jennifer Lopez and Garner was married to actor Scott Foley. Affleck confirmed the timeline during an interview with Playboy in 2013, saying, “We met on ‘Pearl Harbor,’ which people hate, but we fell in love on ‘Daredevil.'”
First Public Appearance
They may have fallen in love in 2002, but it was another two years before Garner divorced Foley and Affleck broke off his engagement to Lopez.
In the meantime, they appeared on the short-lived TV show “Dinner for Five” together, and some people noticed a spark between them. A Vulture reporter wrote that at one point, Garner gives Affleck “such a genuine look of gratitude and affection, it still makes me a bit uncomfortable to see it on television.”
In October 2004, the new couple made their first appearance together at a Boston Red Sox game at the World Series.
People reported that Affleck proposed to Garner on her 33rd birthday, April 17, 2005, with a 4.5-carat Harry Winston ring.
Two months later, they got married at Parrot Cay in Turks and Caicos with only two guests: Garner’s “Alias” co-star Victor Garber (who officiated the wedding) and his husband.
“It was an incredible honor and one of the most special events of my life,” Victor later told Entertainment Weekly. “I will never forget it. It’s embedded in my heart.”
Baby On Board
In October 2005, Garner showed a baby bump while she and Affleck watched a Red Sox game, and on Dec. 1, 2005, the couple’s first child, daughter Violet Affleck, was born at a Los Angeles hospital. (Garner had previously let slip to “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno that they were expecting a girl.)
In 2018 Garner told Ellen DeGeneres that she knew she was pregnant for the first time despite her doctor telling her she wasn’t, saying she woke up that morning and “just knew.”
Growing The Family
In July 2008, Garber confirmed that Garner was pregnant with her second baby, saying, “She is five months pregnant. They are very happy.”
On Jan. 6, 2009, the couple’s second daughter Seraphina Rose Elizabeth Affleck was born at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles. The new arrival was quickly nominated for her first award: the Teen Choice Award for Choice Celebrity Baby, but she missed out to Honor Marie Warren, daughter of Jessica Alba and Cash Warren.
Little Brother Arrives
The family of four became five on Feb. 27, 2012, when the couple’s first son, Samuel Garner Affleck, was born. They had confirmed to People in 2011 that they were “thrilled” to be expecting their third child.
In February 2019, Garner opened up about starting a family while being surrounded by paparazzi, writing in a column for WSJ Magazine that the “largest adaptation” of her life was juggling being famous, having a “very selfish” career and raising kids.
Big- And Small-Screen Successes
As well as expanding their brood, both Affleck and Garner continued to have successful careers in Hollywood. Affleck won acclaim for his performance as George Reeves in the 2006 biopic “Hollywoodland,” for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor.
In 2007, he made his feature film directorial debut with “Gone Baby Gone” and over the next few years directed hits like “The Town” and “Argo.” Garner left the ABC spy thriller “Alias” in 2006 and turned her attention to the big screen, starring in successful movies like “Juno,” “Valentine’s Day” and “Dallas Buyers Club.”
Rumors Of Infidelity
The spotlight was on Affleck and Garner’s marriage in 2015, with rumors of Affleck having an affair with the family nanny, Christine Ouzounian (which Affleck denied). The following year, after the couple had split, Garner told Vanity Fair that they “had been separated for months” before she ever heard about the nanny.
“She had nothing to do with our decision to divorce,” she said. “She was not a part of the equation. Bad judgment? Yes. It’s not great for your kids for [a nanny] to disappear from their lives.”
On June 30, 2015, one day after their 10th anniversary, Affleck and Garner announced that they were getting a divorce.
In a statement to People, they said, “After much thought and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to divorce. We go forward with love and friendship for one another and a commitment to co-parenting our children whose privacy we ask to be respected during this difficult time. This will be our only comment on this private, family matter. Thank you for understanding.”
In Garner’s interview with Vanity Fair, published in March 2016, she revealed that Affleck was still the “love of her life.”
“What am I going to do about that?” she said. “He’s the most brilliant person in any room, the most charismatic, the most generous. He’s just a complicated guy. I always say, ‘When his sun shines on you, you feel it. But when the sun is shining elsewhere, it’s cold.’ He can cast quite a shadow.”
Helping The Kids Adapt
Garner also told Vanity Fair that months after the divorce, she was still dealing with the aftermath.
“I have had to have conversations [with my children] about the meaning of ‘scandal,'” she said. She also revealed that she was temporarily sharing a room with her eldest daughter Violet, saying, “I used to think I would never watch television on my phone, but there I am, because I am sleeping next to my daughter. I’m happy to have her; she’s happy to have me.”
Annual ‘Yes Day’
In 2017, Garner posted a picture of herself looking exhausted on Instagram, with the caption, “You’ll never need coffee more than the day after ‘Yes Day!’” and revealed that this was the fifth year of their “Yes Day” tradition, based on author Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s book “Yes Day!”
It’s based on the idea of a special day where parents say yes to everything their kids want, like candy all day long and control of the TV remote. Krouse Rosenthal summed it up perfectly in her book, writing, “No matter how silly the request, there is one day a year when kids always receive a positive response: Can I have pizza for breakfast? YES! Can we have a food fight? YES! Can I stay up really late? YES!”
Special Birthday Gift
For Garner’s birthday in April 2018, her daughter Seraphina made her a scarf on a peg loom, but it was no ordinary scarf. This scarf was 12 feet long, and proud mom Garner was quick to show it off in public and on social media. She captioned an Instagram picture of her wearing her impressive gift with, “When your nine year old weaves a 12ft long scarf on a peg loom for your birthday present, you’d better #werk.”
Celebrating With Mom
In August 2018, Garner received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was joined by her three children (as well as her parents William and Patricia Garner, her sisters Susannah and Melissa and their families, and former co-stars Steve Carrell, Bryan Cranston and Judy Greer) for the special occasion.
Rare Public Appearance
While Garner is often photographed with her children doing the school run and running errands, this was a rare public appearance for the family. The photos from the Walk of Fame event show that eldest child Violet is a mini-me of her mom (albeit a blonde version), while middle child Seraphina definitely resembles her dad. Unlike his big sisters, youngest child Samuel seems to be a mix of his parents.
Dad Goes Back To Rehab
Later that month, Garner was photographed reportedly driving ex-husband Affleck to rehab — his third stint in 18 years. An insider close to the family told Heat magazine, “[Garner] is all about their family, and she doesn’t want to see Ben as an enemy, or for their kids to grow up resenting him.” The source continued, “She had promised the kids that she’s going to get Daddy back to the supportive family man that they all know and love.” It was reported that Garner’s concerns came to a head when Affleck did not join the family for the unveiling of her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Teaching Important Life Lessons
After completing a previous stint in rehab for alcohol addiction in 2017, Affleck posted a statement on Facebook in which he gave credit to his estranged wife.
“I want my kids to know there is no shame in getting help when you need it, and to be a source of strength for anyone out there who needs help but is afraid to take the first step,” he wrote. “I’m lucky to have the love of my family and friends, including my co-parent, Jen, who has supported me and cared for our kids as I’ve done the work I set out to do. This was the first of many steps being taken towards a positive recovery.”
After Affleck’s 40-day rehab stay in 2018, he wrote on Instagram, “Battling any addiction is a lifelong and difficult struggle. Because of that, one is never really in or out of treatment. It is a full-time commitment. I am fighting for myself and my family.”
No Social Media For The Kids
In September 2018, Garner revealed that none of her kids have any social media accounts.
“I think it puts so, so much pressure on kids at an age when they’re really vulnerable anyway,” she told Fox News. “You know, if anyone has any clues, let me know. I am probably overprotective.”
However, Garner doesn’t shy away from broaching difficult topics with her children, such as their dad’s addiction. A source close to the actress told People that “There are no secrets, and Jen is great at explaining what’s going on in age-appropriate ways.”
Family Church Outing
In February 2019, Affleck and Garner were spotted taking their kids to church in the Pacific Palisades, a neighborhood in Los Angeles, proving that they’re committed to a healthy co-parenting arrangement. Affleck drove the children there and walked into church with his arm around Violet, and Garner arrived separately. Affleck recently described Garner as a “great mom” and said she “helps out a great deal with making sure that we co-parent in as good a way as possible.” He also told Today that he hopes he’s a “pretty good dad.”
Later that month, the couple attended a wedding together with two of their children in tow, proving that amicable co-parenting is possible if both parents make the effort.
“Dads are so important to kids, and it’s our responsibility to be there for them — to be present, to be mindful, to be attentive, to be part of their lives, to be as in it as moms,” Affleck told Today. He went on to say that being there for his kids is “the central preoccupation” in his life.”
Celebrity parents embarrass their kids just as much as anyone else, as Garner revealed in February 2019 when she dressed up for Samuel’s 7th birthday party, a “How to Train Your Dragon” themed celebration.
The actress dressed up as a Viking named Astrid from the movie — in full costume and face paint — but her son wasn’t as impressed as she hoped.
“Well, guess what. It turns out 7 is the age my kid stops thinking it’s cool when I dress up for the party,” she wrote on Instagram. In an interview with “Entertainment Tonight,” Affleck revealed that his son told Garner, “OK Mom, we already have an Astrid,” and that Garner “was devastated.”
“We’re just not that cool,” Affleck added.
Experimenting With Makeup
Garner revealed recently that now that her eldest is a teenager, Violet is trying out different makeup looks. She told People that it’s “a process” and that Violet is “really smart about, ‘Okay, now I’m leaving the house, now I need to check with my mom because chances are she’s gonna make me take this lip off.'”
“Which I do,” Garner added, acknowledging that “It’s just hard to be an adolescent.” Of course, it’s also hard to be a parent. In October 2018, Garner shared a note she’d received from her younger daughter Seraphina, which accused her of being a “fun-killing mom.”
“Is this a nine year old burn? Or the ultimate compliment?” Garner captioned the pic on Instagram.
Two Versions Of Mom
Garner acknowledges that the type of career she has, and the time she’s spent in the makeup chair, may have made things complicated things for her kids.
She told People Magazine: “I think it’s probably extra complicated when you literally were nursed in the makeup chair as an infant, and have grown up sitting in your mom’s lap while she got her makeup done your whole life. My kids know two versions of me: They know the version that I see in the mirror right now that looks crazy, and it’s what they see 90 percent of the time. Other times, they see a version of me that I never saw with my mom or anything, where I’m done up, my hair’s done, my makeup is done, so I wonder what that puts in [Violet’s] mind.”
Shutting Down Pregnancy Rumors
When a magazine “revealed” that Garner and her fellow actress Reese Witherspoon were pregnant, the A-list moms laughed off the reports on Instagram. Witherspoon shared a picture of the magazine cover with the caption, “Hey @jennifer.garner! Can we raise our imaginary babies together?” Garner was quick to respond, writing, “[We’ll be] the cutest imaginary family!” together with a laughing emoji. “I’ll just go ahead and move in now,” she added.
New Living Arrangements
In 2018, Affleck bought a $19.2 million “family friendly” seven-bedroom home less than a mile from their former marital home in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles. After their divorce was finalized, Affleck and Garner sold their former family house to Maroon 5’s Adam Levine and his wife Behati Prinsloo. Garner’s new home, which is in the nearby Brentwood area of Los Angeles and was designed by renowned architect Ken Ungar, is currently under construction, with an estimated completion date of summer 2019.
Both Affleck and Garner are now in new relationships.
Garner is dating CaliGroup CEO John Miller, while Affleck recently rekindled his relationship with ex-girlfriend and “Saturday Night Live” producer Lindsay Shookus. A source told HollywoodLife that everything is very amicable among the parties, in part due to Miller’s patience.
“Things are working well for Jen with John because he is patient with her and not too demanding of her time,” said the source. “He has kids too, so he gets it that her family comes first, and she respects his space, too. John also has a great attitude and respect for Ben who is very present in Jen and the kid’s lives. Overall, Jen and John are getting along great and have found room for their families and each other.”
Making A Difference
Since leaving rehab in 2018, Affleck seems to be focused on giving something back to the community — he recently took part in a beach cleanup in Santa Monica with Seraphina and Samuel. As far as future work projects go, Affleck recently revealed that he would consider appearing in the reboot of “Jay and Silent Bob,” telling People that he hadn’t been asked to make an appearance “but you never know, there’s still time.”
He also has some projects of his own in the pipeline, but has said only that he has “a couple of different things that are all in various stages of script, and outline, and finished script… we’ll see which one comes together and who wants to make them.”
One project that Affleck won’t be involved in is “The Batman,” which is slated for release in summer 2021. He announced in early 2018 that he was stepping down from his directorial duties on the movie, and earlier this year confirmed that he wouldn’t have a role either.
Affleck, who played Bruce Wayne in three previous movie, “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Suicide Squad,” and “Justice League,” told Jimmy Kimmel, “I tried to direct a version of it and worked with a really good screenwriter, but just couldn’t come up with a version, I couldn’t crack it. So I thought it was time to let someone else take a shot at it. They got some really good people, so I’m excited.”
Garner Goes Back To TV
In 2018 Garner was back on the small screen in HBO’s eight-part comedy series “Camping,” in which she plays a minor Instagram celebrity named Kathryn. Based on the British series of the same name created by Julia Davis, “Camping” was developed by Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner, and also stars David Tennant, Juliette Lewis, Ione Skye and Chris Sullivan. Another television project Garner has in the works is the Apple miniseries “My Glory Was I Had Such Friends,” based on the 2017 memoir by the same name by Amy Silverstein. As well as starring in the show, Garner is an executive producer alongside “Alias” creator J.J. Abrams.
Garner lent her voice to the upcoming animated film “Wonder Park,” in which a young girl with a big imagination discovers a deserted theme park that is occupied by magic. Another future project that’s sure to be close to Garner’s heart is the Netflix adaptation of the Amy Krouse Rosenthal book “Yes Day,” about parents giving only “Yes” answers to their kids for an entire day, which she’s both producing and starring in.
Saving The Children
On May 9, 2019, Garner will be honored with the Champion for Children Award at the 41st Annual Outstanding Mother Awards, to acknowledge her support of Save the Children and her ongoing commitment to the organization’s mission. She’s been a Save the Children ambassador for years and has been on the charity’s board of trustees since 2014.
“Working with Save the Children, I hope to help young mothers give the same educational boost to their children that I try to give my own kids,” said the actress, who hosted the sixth annual Save the Children Illumination Gala in 2018.