'Two People with Different Approaches': How Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck Differed in “Greatest Love Story Never Told”

The "I'm Real' singer admitted Ben Affleck wasn't entirely comfortable with sharing details about their private life in her 2024 documentary

<p>Kevin Winter/Getty</p> Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez

Kevin Winter/Getty

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez

When Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck rekindled their romance back in 2021, it wasn't hard to tell they were happy.

In fact, the reconciliation inspired Lopez's first album in 10 years. Titled This Is Me ... Now, the record was released alongside a musical movie of the same name that chronicled the Bronx native's personal love journey from the time she was a kid to the moment she finally met the love of her life.

The project, which was released on Feb. 16, 2024, was an entirely self-funded labor of love.

"Everybody thought I was crazy when I said I would [self-fund the film]. We did have financing, and then that fell out," Lopez previously revealed. "They pulled out at the last minute, and then it was that moment where you go, 'OK, do we just make a video or do we go ahead and do this thing?' "

In the documentary film for the project, Greatest Love Story Never Told, the multi-hyphenate took fans behind-the-scenes of making the film and the album. In it, she gave insight into the years leading up to the reconciliation with Affleck, in addition to her own creative process — which often differs from his, they both admitted in the film.

Below, see some of the differences Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck revealed in her Prime Video documentary.

On the Inspiration Behind Her New Album

<p>Frazer Harrison/Getty</p> Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez

Frazer Harrison/Getty

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez

At the beginning of the documentary, Jennifer Lopez opened up about how the process of making the music came about. She revealed that part of her inspiration was a collection of letters she and Ben Affleck had previously exchanged.

"On that first day [in the studio], I showed everybody this book. This book is a book that Ben gave me on our first Christmas back together. It is every letter and every email that we wrote to each other from 20 years ago," she says.

"It became like our Bible and we just left it there in the studio and people would thumb through it."

His Reaction to Finding Out She Shared Their Love Letters

<p>Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic</p> Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck


Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck

While the book of love letters served as a touchstone for creating new music, Ben Affleck admitted to having been taken aback when he found out Jennifer Lopez had been showing her producing team the private letters.

The correspondence even earned him the nickname "Pen Affleck" from her writing team, which he shook his head to when speaking about it in the film.

"I did really find the beauty and the poetry and the irony in the fact that it's the greatest love story never told, and if you're making a record about it, that seems kind of like telling it," he admitted.

His Notes About the Script

<p>Lionel Hahn/WireImage</p> Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez

Lionel Hahn/WireImage

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez

While parsing through parts of the script with J.Lo, Ben Affleck made a cheeky joke about how she cast herself as the younger version of herself in the movie.

"I love that you want to play younger even in the autobiographical," The Accountant actor said with a smile.

"This is not my autobiographical," Lopez clarified. "This is meta. This is me using some of my story—" Affleck then interjected, saying, "Oh, I see. Semi-autobiographical. It's your story but younger."

Lopez seemed to take the joke in stride as she joked back, "You're an idiot," and she proceeded to read parts of the script to him.

His Take on Being Her 'Muse'

<p>Stefanie Keenan/Getty</p> Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez

Stefanie Keenan/Getty

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez

In the documentary, Jennifer Lopez also admitted that while Ben Affleck was supportive of her creative process, he wasn't exactly ecstatic about how much she was willing to reveal about their private life.

"I don't think he's very comfortable with me doing all of this," she admitted. "But he loves me, he knows I'm an artist and he's going to support me in every way he can because he knows he can't stop me from making the music I made and writing the words that I wrote. That's going to happen and he doesn't want to stop me."

She continued, "He wants to do that [for me], but that doesn't mean he's comfortable being the muse."

On Privacy

<p>Mindy Small/Getty </p> Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck

Mindy Small/Getty

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck

For his part, Ben Affleck admitted that he had to adjust.

"Jen was really inspired by this experience which is how artists do their work. They get inspired by their personal life, it moves you. I know as a writer and director, I certainly do the same things," he began.

"But things that are private, I'd always felt, are sacred and special, because, in part, they're private. So this was something of an adjustment for me," he said.

On the Toll Their 2004 Breakup Took on Her

<p>Kevork Djansezian/Getty </p> Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck

Kevork Djansezian/Getty

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck

"Ben and I broke up four days before our wedding and we had a big wedding plan, with like 14 ushers and bridesmaids, and three days before we just crumbled under the pressure," she revealed.

"I think we all go along thinking 'I'm doing okay. I've been through these things.' If you're like me you kind of shake it off and put your best foot forward, and just do your thing and f------ conquer the world."

She went on to reveal that even though she'd go on to establish a successful career and even get into other relationships, that wound never fully healed.

"For all those years it was really hard cause I didn't just feel like I lost the love of my life, I felt like I lost the best friend I ever had," she said.

"I couldn't talk for so many years, and that was the hardest part."

His Perspective on the Breakup

<p>Rich Fury/WireImage</p> Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez

Rich Fury/WireImage

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez

For Ben Affleck, her version of things was a bit shocking given that they had ended their engagement mutually. Still, he suggested they move forward.

"So when I first read the script, it looked like the inciting incident that causes all this pain down the road is our breakup," he said to her.

"And I thought, 'Wow, nobody did anything wrong. It was mutual.' I think for us to move on from that, we have to kind of forgive it. Forgive each other."

"Do you forgive me?" he said, to which she softly smiled.

Later in the documentary, Ben Affleck asked, "Do you think you've forgiven me all the way?" to which she responded, "Yes, I think I forgiven you all the way. I think I need to forgive myself some things."

Revealing the Painful Parts of Her Childhood

<p>Christopher Polk/Golden Globes 2024/Golden Globes 2024 via Getty Images</p> Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck

Christopher Polk/Golden Globes 2024/Golden Globes 2024 via Getty Images

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck

Part of the purpose of the film for Jennifer Lopez was to connect the dots of her life. That meant taking a more analytical look at her childhood.

"When I was growing up, I was always looking for somebody to make me feel loved. I was a middle child. Not the baby. Not the firstborn. You just kind of get lost a little bit in between it all. That just left me on this train to show everybody that I had worth and value too."

That sense of work ethic, according to J.Lo, is the reason why she became a success. She started playing sports as a child and began "winning medals" hoping people would notice her the way they did her sisters.

"I learned to work really hard and be very disciplined, like an athlete. So I just stuck with that. I just stuck with the working hard part because I was the best at that."

His Personal Analysis on Her Life

<p>Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Netflix</p> Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Netflix

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck

"Jen felt emotionally neglected as a child," Ben Affleck said in the segment. "We are kind of learning more and more that it doesn't have to be the kind of trauma where you're locked in a basement for a year to leave wounds on you. In fact, they're deceptive when they're harder to pin down."

He continued, "It's a hard thing to look at somebody whose professional life is wildly successful and who, on Instagram, looks like they're living the happiest life in the world."

Drawing parallels to his own struggles, Ben Affleck reflected, "The thing you discover like you do with alcohol is that there isn't enough alcohol in all liquor stores in the world to fill up that thing. And in Jennifer's case. I don't think there's enough followers, or movies or any of that stuff to still that part of you that still feels a longing and a pain. Ultimately, that's the work that you've got to do on your own."

Her Refusal to Be Silenced

<p>John Shearer/Getty</p> Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck

John Shearer/Getty

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck

During a phone call in which J.Lo asked Jane Fonda to be part of This Is Me ... Now, the Hollywood veteran advised the "Get Right" singer against putting herself out there so much.

"She's very protective of me," Jennifer Lopez shared of Jane Fonda, who she's been friends with since they worked together on 2005's Monster-In-Law. "She felt like, 'You're putting yourself out there to get beat up again.' "

Still, J.Lo maintained that any picture or footage of her and Ben showing any PDA is not for show, it's "us living our life."

Their Differing Relationships with the Press

Gotham/GC Images Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck
Gotham/GC Images Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck

Famously private, Ben Affleck also admitted that the stars dealt with media attention very differently.

"I had a very firm sense of boundaries initially, around the press, while Jen, I don't think objected to it in the way I did. I did very much object to it," he revealed.

"Getting back together, I said, 'Listen, one of the things I don't want is a relationship on social media.' And then I realized it's not a very fair thing to ask," he admitted.

"It's like you're going to marry a boat captain, and you go, 'Well, I don't like the water.' You know? We're just two people with different approaches trying to learn to compromise."

His Realization He Was 'Worrying for No Reason'

<p>Kevin Winter/Getty</p> Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck

Kevin Winter/Getty

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck

Once the musical movie was completed, it seemed Ben Affleck finally understood that This Is Me ... Now wasn't about putting their relationship on display. It was instead about Jennifer Lopez finding her own self-love and self-worth.

"It's the first time she's done something as an artistic form of expression that was purely for the sake of what she had to express. It was about bringing out things that she felt inside that she just wanted to say," he observed.

"And I don't really love being in the making-of documentary about my personal life, which is why I'm relieved that ... it seems like I might be in this but I'm not really. I was worrying for no reason. The movie wasn't about me. It was about the ability to love yourself and that love story is a lot f------ harder to find than Prince Charming."

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