Ben Affleck Reflects on Ex Jennifer Lopez Facing 'Sexist, Racist' Talk During Their Engagement

'People were so f**king mean about her,' Affleck recalls, of what tabloids wrote about Lopez when they were together in the 2000s.

Ben Affleck is looking back at his former relationship with Jennifer Lopez.

While guest appearing on The Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast, the 48-year-old actor recalled how "mean" people were when the two were dating back in the 2000s. Affleck and Lopez were engaged in 2002, but went their separate ways in January 2004.

"There's always a story of the month, and me dating Jennifer Lopez happened to be that tabloid story at the time when that business grew exponentially ... they needed something to write about and we were that thing," Affleck recalled. "Still, to this day, [some] will go, 'I see you out there in the paparazzi and the pictures!' It's like, 'Yes, I left my house and took out the trash. It's not like I'm trying to—' And it's still like, 'You were taking a pap walk!' As if, if you leave your house, you're only doing so in the hope that you could be so lucky that you could end up as the sixth item in The Daily Mail. It's absurd."

"People were so f**king mean about her -- sexist, racist, ugly, vicious s**t was written about her in ways that if you wrote it now you would literally be fired for saying those things you said," he continued. "Now it's like, she's lionized and respected for the work she did, where she came from, what she accomplished -- as well she f**king 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."

Earlier in the podcast, Affleck also spoke about what it was like going straight from rehab in 2018 to the set of The Way Back. In the Gavin O'Connor-directed film, Affleck plays an alcoholic that's hired to coach a high school basketball team.

"One of the things that happened to me was that I was forced to really honestly look at myself -- my failings, my shortcomings, my character flaws -- to find accountability, to not hide or run from feelings," he explained. "And I developed a much greater access, this sounds very actory, so forgive me, to the full range of my emotions."

"I have had so many more life experiences and so much more to bring to a performance," he added. "Now I feel like a much, much better actor than I've ever been. And I love it."

Hear more on Affleck in the video below.