Ben Affleck says Jennifer Garner divorce 'biggest regret of his life' and opens up on alcohol addiction

Lucy Pavia
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Actress Jennifer Garner and actor-director Ben Affleck arrive at the Oscars at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 24, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images): getty images

Ben Affleck has opened up about his divorce from actress Jennifer Garner, calling the breakdown of his marriage his "biggest regret."

Speaking to The New York Times, Affleck said he felt a toxic shame after the split. The couple first separated in 2015 and later finalised their divorce in 2018.

"The biggest regret of my life is this divorce. Shame is really toxic. There is no positive byproduct of shame," he said, "It's just stewing in a toxic, hideous feeling of low self-worth and self-loathing."

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner at the Vanity Fair Oscars party (Getty Images)

The actors first worked together in the 2000 film Pearl Harbor but were both in relationships so remained platonic.

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner (Getty Images)

In 2003, Garner filed for divorce from her then-husband Scott Foley. Affleck and popstar Jennifer Lopez broke off their engagement in 2004.

2004 was the year Affleck and Garner made their first public appearance as a couple. They married in June 2005 and had three children, Samuel, 7, Seraphina, 11 and Violet, 14.

With former fiancee Jennifer Lopez (Getty Images)

Affleck told The New York Times he began drinking when the relationship with Garner began to deteriorate in 2015.

"I drank relatively normally for a long time. What happened was that I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart," he said. "This was 2015, 2016. My drinking, of course, created more marital problems."

"I wish it didn't happen. I really wish it wasn't on the internet for my kids to see," he added. "Jen and I did our best to address it and be honest."

Ben Affleck with his brother Casey Affleck (Getty Images)

Affleck said there had been "a lot of alcoholism and mental illness in my family" and his father Timothy would drink heavily when he was growing up.

He says among those to support him through his addiction were Bradley Cooper and Robert Downey Jr.

Ben Affleck with Bradley Cooper at the BAFTAs (Getty Images)

"[They're] guys who have been very supportive and to whom I feel a great sense of gratitude. One of the things about recovery that I think people sometimes overlook is the fact that it inculcates certain values. Be honest. Be accountable. Help other people. Apologize when you're wrong" he said.

(Getty Images)

Brad Pitt also recently thanked Bradley Cooper for helping him overcome his own alcohol addiction, giving him credit in a speech at the National Board of Review Awards.

Affleck said alcoholism also impacted on his decision to step back from his Batman role: "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.'"

Affleck is set to star in The Way Back - opening 6th March - and opposite Anne Hathaway in The Last Thing He Wanted on Netflix which begins streaming 21st Feb.