When talking about the career and the life of Ben Affleck, the analogy of a double-edged sword comes to mind; Ben Affleck is the product of fame, and he is a victim of it!
Fame granted him two Academy Awards, carried him through several high-profile relationships, left him a legacy worth $130 million, and while not solely responsible for it; fame also exacerbated his alcoholism.
Ben Affleck would be the first to tell you that he has an alcohol problem- if his recent tell-all with The New York Times is any indication. In the piece, Affleck spoke candidly of alcoholism as a family affair and his perpetual struggle trying to keep his hands off the bottle.
While the stigma around alcoholism has been lessened with rigorous study delving into the psychological nature at the heart of the condition, still, it is not a good look for someone who famously played Batman.
Worse still is the smorgasbord of problems Affleck faced in his professional and personal life due to his penchant for grabbing a drink (or ten!).
But you have to give it to the man: he hasn't succumbed to alcoholism easily! He has been in and out of rehab multiple times, trying to rid himself of his proclivity, but it has been an uphill struggle.
The New York Times piece sheds light on the "dark side of Ben Affleck"-if you will- and chronicles his alcoholism and all that it has cost him over the years.
Despite his alcohol-induced tantrums being all over the web, Affleck has surprisingly kept mum about his alcohol dependency.
That all changed in a February 18, 2020 profile piece about Ben Affleck published by The New York Times. The interview featured a never-before-seen look at Ben Affleck's affliction.
Affleck has had a long and arduous battle with addiction, seemingly making full recoveries only to relapse and end back in rehab. But never before has he been as forthcoming as he was in The New York Times interview.
A lot of ground was covered in the profile piece on one of Hollywood's finest. Here are some of the fascinating bits that were unearthed in the interview:
Recent studies into alcoholism have revealed that genetics has, at the very least, some say on whether an individual develops a proclivity towards alcoholism. Now that isn't to say that genetics is the sole reason one becomes an alcoholic.
In fact, there is a litany of various reasons- not the least of which is psychological. If that were the case, it is no wonder Ben grew up to become an alcoholic, as his family tree is littered with instances of addiction struggles of one sort or another.
Ben's father, Timothy Byers Affleck, was a chronic alcoholic, who continued drinking through his divorce with Ben's mother and only got sober when Affleck was 19. His brother, Casey Affleck; his paternal grandmother; his aunt; all had compulsive addiction of some sort.
He himself was teetering on the edge of alcoholism by 15, but considering Ben Affleck's family has been so wrought by addiction; there is some leniency to be had.
About his family's struggles with addiction, Affleck said:
"There’s a lot of alcoholism and mental illness in my family. The legacy of that is quite powerful and sometimes hard to shake."
The star of such movies as The Town and Good Will Hunting would find himself in the good graces of the comic-book-loving contingent of moviegoers for his portrayal as Batman, first in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, and again in Justice League.
He played the dark and broody superhero with the right amount of melancholy and dry humor, but the role hit a little too close to home.
After his troubles with the powers-that-be over the vision for Justice League- Ben made the decision to "hang up the cape".
He recalled the dark prophecy set for him if he continued to play Batman:
"I showed somebody ‘The Batman’ script. They said, ‘I think the script is good. I also think you’ll drink yourself to death if you go through what you just went through again.’”
Addiction and shame go hand-in-hand. The shame-causing-addiction-causing-shame vicious cycle has brought even the best to their doom.
It seemed Ben turned a corner when he got married to the actress, Jennifer Garner, in June 2005. Ben's life was as stable as it had ever been, and after three children, it looked like Ben was over his addiction- this time for good.
But he relapsed in 2018 and checked into a professional intervention center. Things quickly went downhill when he was accused of cheating on Jennifer with their children's nanny. Things were already on the rocks for the couple, but after the scandal proved to be the final straw, and they divorced in April 2017. Their divorce would be finalized in October 2018.
In the interview, Ben opened up about his divorce with Garner and the subsequent shame, saying:
"The biggest regret of my life is this divorce. Shame is really toxic. There is no positive byproduct of shame. It’s just stewing in a toxic, hideous feeling of low self-worth and self-loathing."
While still visibly upset, he would end with a more positive outlook on things, saying:
"It’s not particularly healthy for me to obsess over the failures — the relapses — and beat myself up. I have certainly made mistakes. I have certainly done things that I regret. But you’ve got to pick yourself up, learn from it, learn some more, try to move forward.”