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Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel Recall Their First Love (Exclusive)
ET recently spoke to the two stars about their new film, Love, Simon -- in which they play parents to their son, Simon, a closeted gay teenager dealing with high school -- as well as actor Nick Robinson, who plays Simon. Garner and Duhamel joked about the inevitable dating rumors that surrounded them, due to their highly publicized splits from Ben Affleck and Fergie, respectively.
"We're going to church, the whole thing," Duhamel cracked to ET's Cameron Mathison about him and his co-star.
"Yeah, I know, did you know you were a Methodist?" Garner quipped back.
On a more serious note, Duhamel said he admires the mother of three as a person, and payed her a heartfelt compliment.
"We're both private people," he noted. "I laugh at it [the rumors]. Jen is an amazing catch. She deserves somebody far better than me."
Duhamel and Garner stressed the importance of their upcoming film, specifically, how they play understanding and supportive parents to a teenager coming out.
"I will say that playing a mom that handles her child coming out as beautifully as this character does is kind of the fantasy version of what you want a mom to say, and I selfishly wanted to say those lines," Garner admitted. "I wanted it to be me because I feel that for moms or dads or anyone who sees us ... or wonders how they would handle it, this is a beautiful template, you know?"
As for Duhamel, he says the message of unconditional love is what sticks with him the most, especially given his own role as a father to his 4-year-old son, Axl.
"What I liked about this guy is that he's like a lot of guys out there," Duhamel noted. "He's not homophobic, but it doesn't cross his thought process that his son would be gay, so he makes some gay jokes that he regrets later, but I think what he learns in the process is that he loves his son no matter what."
"Now that I'm a dad -- that obviously helps -- but there's a scene in particular where he sort of has a conversation where he talks about... 'Listen, I'm sorry if I ever said anything or did anything that made you feel uncomfortable, but I love you no matter what,'" he continued. "And I think that's really what any guy or any parent can learn from this."
Robinson also had nothing but praise for his on-screen parents.
"I'm hoping that [the audience] takes away a feeling of being included and feeling that they have been represented in a way that is for them, and I feel like that they should walk away feeling like they wish they had Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Garner as parents," he said.
Garner and Duhamel also praised the lighthearted nature of the film, which is tricky to pull off given its important subject matter.
"It's just a beautiful, fun, sweet, funny movie," Garner said. "And it happens to have at the center of it a really gorgeous version of a young man coming out, and it can either be about that for you -- and really speak directly to you -- or it can be a movie that you go and just have popcorn and have a great time, because it does have all of those kind of frothy, fun whimsical qualities, just with something really beautiful at the core."
An important part of the film is definitely its good sense of humor.
"When I read it, it was something I felt was different from what I had seen before, there was nothing heavy-handed about it," Duhamel added. "It was funny, it dealt with something I think is important -- acceptance, tolerance, all those things -- and I got a chance to work with Jen, Nick, [director] Greg Berlanti, who I love, and you know, it's just one of those things you do because you know you're going to have a good time."