For decades, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner — two of the hottest stars in Hollywood — were America’s dream couple. Talented, attractive, and oozing with affectionate for one another, they appeared as if their love were strong enough to overcome any hurdle.

Unfortunately, even the iconic marriage of “Bennifer” fell apart. And now, after years of ups and downs, tenderness and bittersweet strife, Ben Affleck is finally telling the whole story, revealing the true reason behind the split. It’s leaving people speechless.

Although they both were making their rise to stardom around the same time, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner didn’t meet until they both had roles in 2000’s Pearl Harbor. There was a tiny obstacle that prevented their star-crossed romance from beginning.

NBC

Sure, the two good-looking actors spent some time together on set, but Affleck was dating Jennifer Lopez at the time! Meanwhile, Garner had recently said her vows to then-husband Scott Foley. Oops!

And in 2002, when Ben and Jen reunited on the set of superhero flick Daredevil, both were still engaged in committed relationships. However, that’s not to say that sparks didn’t still fly. In fact, the chemistry was so strong that Ben later came out with a candid admission.

Marvel Enterprises – Daredevil

Looking back on it, he said the set of Daredevil was where the two originally fell in love. “She won most of the fights in the movie, which was a pretty good predictor of what would happen down the road,” he jokingly quipped.

Marvel Enterprises – Daredevil

In 2003, the cards would started falling into place for their relationship to blossom. Garner divorced Foley, in part because she had recently achieved huge levels of celebrity. “We didn’t have a shot,” the starlet said.

Wikimedia Commons

And then only a year later, in 2004, Affleck called off his much talked-about engagement to the world-famous Jennifer Lopez. The latter was devastated by the breakup, going as far as to say that she felt “eviscerated”.

ABC – American Idol

Months afterwards, the newly single Ben and Jen officially came out as a couple. They were photographed together in a moment of intimacy at the 2004 World Series (when the Boston Red Sox ended the Curse of the Bambino against the Cardinals).

MLB

Then, finally, the inevitable happened. Affleck proposed to Garner on her 33rd birthday in 2005, and they began to produce their brood of three adorable children: Violet, now 14, Seraphina, 11, and Samuel, 7.

Marvel Enterprises – Daredevil

The wedding was held in June of 2005 and was an extremely private ceremony, with only four people in attendance: Jen’s Alias co-star Victor Garber — who also officiated— Garber’s husband, and the lucky bride and groom.

Expert Photography

Throughout the years, the two publicly expressed their adoration for one another. When Affleck accepted his award for best director for Argo, he said to her, “I love you. You’re my everything.” He also described Garner as “by leaps and bounds the most important person to me.”

Academy of Motion Pictures

However, despite the picture perfect exterior, by 2015 the relationship started to show signs of trouble. Ben was pictured in Las Vegas with the family’s nanny, Christine Ouzounian, below, and rumors of an affair began to swirl in the tabloids.

Ben and his reps denied everything, saying the trip was innocent. However, a month later Affleck and Garner devastated the nation by announcing their plans for divorce. Still, the true dramatic purpose behind the decision was carefully hidden from the public.

Garner gave her side of the story in 2016, weighing in on the nanny situation: “We had been separated for months before I ever heard about the nanny. She had nothing to do with our decision to divorce. She was not a part of the equation. Bad judgment? Yes.”

YouTube – Today

Despite the questionable nature of what transpired, Garner still had heartbreaking words to speak about her ex. She labeled him the love of her life, continuing, “He’s the most brilliant person in any room, the most charismatic, the most generous. He’s just a complicated guy.”‘

YouTube – Today

These various statements to the public appeared incredibly candid given the level of their fame, but even at this point, the dark reality behind what had happened behind the scenes was still being kept under wraps.

Finally, in 2018, once their separation process had officially ended in divorce, Ben Affleck revealed the disturbing truth behind the breakup — the trauma he’d been keeping inside for so long.

YouTube -ABC News

He spoke of the heartbreaking effects addiction had on their union: “I drank relatively normally for a long time. What happened was that I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart. This was 2015, 2016. My drinking, of course, created more marital problems.”

Miramax Films

Affleck also introspected on the vicious cycles that addicts often experience, remarking that “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.”

Ben Affleck / Facebook

Then, in a tell-all with the New York Times, the actor exposed the biggest bombshell of them all: ““The biggest regret of my life is this divorce.” It’s enough to make even the most stone-hearted cynic shed a tear or two.

Magdalena Wosinska – The New York Times

However, even in the darkest of circumstances, where there is love there is always hope. Affleck has been in and out of rehab, trying his best to remain sober. Garner has even accompanied him there, remaining supportive even after their falling out.

Instagram – Jennifer.Garner

After being released from a 2018 forty day stint in rehab, Affleck remarked that “Battling any addiction is a lifelong and difficult struggle. Because of that, one is never really in or out of treatment. It is a full-time commitment. I am fighting for myself and my family.”

Magdalena Wosinska – The New York Times

According to Ben, one of the most painful aspects has been trying to protect their children, admitting that “I really wish it wasn’t on the internet for my kids to see. Jen and I did our best to address it and be honest.”

US Weekly

It seems that a new era is beginning, however. Ben’s newest movie The Way Back stars him in a role that oddly mirrors his life — a coach struggling with addiction and marital problems. He also has tons of Hollywood stars he can lean on.

Warner Bros – The Way Back

Brad Pitt is the all-American, modern day actor. Who doesn’t love the guy? His performances have warmed hearts, earned laughs, and shaken people to their cores (his role in 1993’s Kalifornia still haunts us). But inside his mind, things aren’t always so beautiful.

Propaganda Films

His relationship drama has graced the covers of People, Star, In Touch, and countless other magazines, making it seemingly impossible for Pitt to escape countless questions about his complicated past with Jennifer Aniston. This time in his life was a tumultuous one.

Because in 2004, while Pitt was married to Aniston, he met Jolie on the set of steamy crime film Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Rumors almost immediately circulated that the two were having a affair. Uh-oh.

20th Century Studios

Jolie had quite the reputation at the time, as she was noted for being a Bad Girl™ with tattoos who’d occasionally make out with her brother (okay, so that was just one time). The two hit it off, which resulted in Jen and Brad formally separating.

Jen filed for divorce in 2005 due to “irreconcilable differences.” Sure. It wasn’t long before Angie was pregnant with Brad’s baby, Brad adopted her children, and they continued to build their famed Brangelina empire.

Steven Klein

After having three biological children (Shiloh, Vivienne, and Knox), and raising three more adopted children (Maddox, Zahara, and Pax), they finally got married in 2014, at the incessant will of their dear kids.

Fame Flynet

Sadly, they just weren’t meant to be. Jolie filed for divorce in 2016. But why? The world was shocked; the couple seemed to be the epitome of romance. Well apparently home life became a bit messy, as they had “differing parenting styles.”

20th Century Studios

There’s nothing wrong with having distinct approaches to parenting — it’s no easy gig. But when Brad admitted to having a complicated relationship with alcohol in 2017, while in the midst of the divorce, it made people realize that you never know what goes on behind closed doors.

Annie Leibovitz / Vogue

In a 2017 interview with GQ entitled “Brad Pitt Talks Divorce, Quitting Drinking, and Becoming a Better Man,” the actor detailed how alcohol became toxic in his life. His words glowed with honesty.

Annie Leibovitz / Vogue

“We have a winery. I enjoy wine very, very much, but I just ran it to the ground. I had to step away for a minute. And truthfully I could drink a Russian under the table with his own vodka. I was a professional. I was good,” Pitt said.

Miraval portraits

He further explained that he no longer wanted to live life that way. In a The New York Times interview, Pitt said, “I had taken things as far as I could take it, so I removed my drinking privileges.” The public had no idea how much he was struggling.

He even openly spoke about his positive experiences in an all-male AA group, in a general sense, of course. Pitt explained that it was “actually really freeing just to expose the ugly sides of yourself” and that there’s “great value in that.” 

Sony Pictures Entertainment

“You had all these men sitting around being open and honest in a way I have never heard. It was this safe space where there was little judgment, and therefore little judgment of yourself,” he continued. But there was one specific man who really helped Pitt through the process.

Ryan McGinley / GQ

When Pitt won Best Supporting Actor at the National Board of Review Annual Awards Gala in January 2020 for his extraordinary role in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, his equally-handsome buddy, Bradley Cooper, happily presented him with the award.

Warner Bros.

Pitt hugged the ruggedly handsome A Star Is Born leading man, and proceeded to thank and praise Cooper for helping him get sober, which was a shock to nearly everyone. The two Brads were closer than both Hollywood royalty and us normies ever thought.

Sony Pictures Entertainment

“Thank you, Bradley. Bradley just put his daughter to bed and then rushed over to do this,” Pitt began, clearly highlighting that Cooper is not only a good man, but a good father.

“I got sober because of this guy. And every day’s been happier ever since.” With an adorably corny thumbs-up, Pitt finished with “I love you, and I thank you.” This surprising moment undoubtedly humanized Pitt, who rarely spoke of his personal issues before 2017.

Ryan McGinley / GQ

And because the Seven star still likes to keep his speeches lighthearted and goofy, he discussed film characters who inspired him as a child and joked about his minuscule knowledge regarding the National Board of Review…to the National Board of Review, which garnered lots of laughs.

New Line Cinema

“You guys have been around for a century? I know so little, other than you love films. I started to Google you, look you up and I thought, ‘F*** it! I love films too. That’s good enough for me.'” Handsome Brad tied it up with a beautiful thank you.

NBC

Brad Pitt wonderfully refuses to shy from his mistakes, as he’s learned to open up about his faults in a way that feels genuine to his personality. The goofy jokes are still vibrant amidst the mentioning of his struggles with addiction, and we applaud him for it.

Andrew Cooper / Sony Pictures

Dealing with addiction in the glaring limelight is equally painful and complicated, and Pitt is just one of many stars who’ve publicly suffered, some right before your blind eyes. You may have even watched them silently battle weekly…on television…along with millions of other audience members.

Ryan McGinley / GQ

Starring in a hit show like Friends seems like nothing short of a dream come true. Most of the main cast, who went from virtual unknowns to household names overnight, would agree. But the experience brought out the worst of one actor.

AARP

As the brash and sarcastic Chandler Bing, Matthew Perry came off as untouchable. His poise and confidence, however, covered up personal issues that nearly derailed the sitcom, not to mention his entire life.

For as long as he could remember, Matthew wanted to become a famous actor. He left behind his native Canada to hit it big in Hollywood, and he did just that, starring in the teen show Boys Will Be Boys. That opened up the door for the young performer.

IMDb

Matthew always knew how to have a good time, but the success of Friends changed his purpose for partying. Suddenly, he felt a tremendous amount of pressure. All eyes were on him, and he couldn’t afford to make any mistakes.

Needing an outlet for all that stress, he turned to drinking. One refreshing beverage quickly spiraled into a full-on binge. Matthew did his best to hide it from the cast and crew, but many of the effects were clear.

Instagram / matthewlangfordperry

It got to the point where Matthew consumed a quart of vodka per day, though he said he never drank on set. Instead, he scheduled his benders for after work. He got into the habit of showing up to work seriously hungover each morning.

GIPHY

Despite his evident talent, Matthew’s alcoholism couldn’t help but affect his performances. He struggled to keep up with the pace of the show, which only got bigger and bigger. The actor told himself he had to find a way to stop.

Instagram / matthewlangfordperry

Matthew’s boozing took an unexpected turn when he suffered a jet ski accident in 1997. Although he wasn’t seriously hurt, the doctor prescribed him painkillers for his injury. When he took the first dose, Matthew couldn’t believe how great he felt.

Now on a steady regimen of Vicodin, Roxicodone, and OxyContin, Matthew was elated that he didn’t feel the need to drink anymore. Sadly, his sense of invincibility soon faded. He’d stumbled into an even more dangerous addiction.

Some viewers couldn’t help but notice the effects that opioids had on Matthew’s appearance. As he went on spurts of binging and abstaining from pills, his weight severely fluctuated. He just looked plain unhealthy.

To anyone close to Matthew, it was clear that he needed professional help. But was it worth it to pull him out of Hollywood for an extended amount of time so he could detox?

Instagram / matthewlangfordperry

In many ways, Matthew couldn’t leave showbiz. Friends was going strong as the number-one comedy on television, and its demanding production schedule required him to be on-set all the time. But at a certain point, he decided enough was enough.

Popsugar

Putting his whole career on the line, he checked into the Hazelden rehab center in Minnesota. It took nearly a month to flush the effects of the Vicodin addiction out of his body. He hoped that would be the end of it.

Unfortunately, Matthew couldn’t stay off the pills and booze for long. He reluctantly checked himself back into rehab in 2001, but his frustration still grew. No matter what he did, these substances were still wrecking his life.

In 2017, the actor opened up about just how devastating his habits were. They wrecked his memory, making him unable to recollect three entire seasons of Friends. Memorable story arcs, like Chandler and Monica’s Vegas trip, are totally blank in his mind.

YouTube / Michael Rodriquez

These painful memories are a big reason why Perry has shunned every Friends reunion. Though this era was a career high for him, it represented the low point of his personal life as well.

The Daily Beast

Matthew’s struggles continued even after Friends, but at least he gained the courage to speak up about it. He shared his addiction troubles with the public to encourage other victims to seek help, which won him a Champion of Recovery award from the White House.

Gfycat

“I don’t think there’s anything in the world that I can’t face, having faced that. That was the scariest thing that’s ever happened to me. You get a whole new respect for yourself and life when you go through something that difficult,” reflected Matthew.

He hasn’t quite shaken his problems in more recent years either. Matthew slunk away from the spotlight in 2018 when adult entertainer Maddy O’Reilly told the press that he’d begged her for drugs.

For now, Matthew’s battle with addiction seems like a lifelong fight. But he’s resolved to keep fighting it at every turn, even if it means putting career opportunities on hold. On the bright side, he has countless fans and Friends co-stars like David Schwimmer to cheer him on.

Instagram / matthewlandfordperry

These days, David Schwimmer is instantly recognizable as Ross Geller from Friends. He wasn’t always such an iconic actor, however. In fact, he almost went into another line of work.

As a teen, he attended a Shakespeare workshop led by Ian McKellen. While he was struck by the actor’s gravitas, Schwimmer’s academic strengths were science and math; he felt destined to be a doctor.

His drama teacher encouraged him to take acting seriously, however, and, after attending a summer drama course, Schwimmer was ready to take the plunge. His parents had understandable reservations.

Broadway.com

Schwimmer’s parents wanted him to get a college degree. With that in mind, he enrolled in Northwestern University planning to study theater and speech. But he got a major education outside the classroom, too.

Schwimmer joined an improv group called the No-Fun Mud Piranhas, where he worked with a fellow student by the name of Stephen Colbert. His acting chops were growing by the day.

After graduation, Schwimmer moved to Hollywood looking for his big break. He scored his first credited role in the TV movie A Deadly Silence, which led to bigger and better things.

Schwimmer appeared on L.A Law, The Wonder Years, and NYPD Blue, but he continued to bounce between projects; nothing seemed to stick. But, one day, he got a call that changed everything.

IMDB

Kevin S. Bright was the executive producer for a new show about a group of young adults navigating life in the big city. He previously worked with Schwimmer and hadn’t forgotten the actor.

Kevin S. Bright

Bright envisioned the character of Ross Geller, a goofy yet earnest paleontologist, with Schwimmer in mind. But when he approached the actor, Schwimmer wasn’t sure about the role.

US Magazine

After some deliberation, he eventually accepted and, on September 22, 1994, Ross and his unforgettable group of friends hit the airwaves for the first time. Schwimmer’s life would never be the same.

Friends proved to be a smash hit, lasting 10 season and earning the 28th spot in TV Guide’s list of the best television series ever aired. But all good things must come to an end, and Friends was no exception.

E! Online

When Friends ended in 2004, it was time for Schwimmer to move on. While he had appeared in various projects during the show’s run, something was bothering him behind the scenes.

Entertainment Weekly

Schwimmer didn’t take naturally to the celebrity that came with starring in a beloved sitcom. In fact, he would have actually preferred to hide in the background rather than stand out.

Huffington Post

“As an actor, the way I was trained, my job was to observe life and to observe other people,” he said on the Awards Chatter podcast. “The effect of celebrity was the absolute opposite.”

“It made me want to hide under a baseball cap and not be seen,” he continued. “It was pretty jarring and it messed with my relationship to other people.”

Just Jared

Those personal struggles explain why Schwimmer mostly backed away from acting. Beyond providing his voice for Madagascar, he chose to focus on two different activities that kept him further from the spotlight.

The actor took to the stage, performing in front of smaller audiences in London and New York. He also started to hone his directing skills, preferring to work unseen behind the camera.

His feature directorial debut was the 2007 British film Run Fatboy Run; that was followed by an Off-Broadway show and a second movie. But Schwimmer had also focused on another important project.

Since 2007, Schwimmer had been building a family with artist Zoë Buckman; the pair got engaged in 2010 and had their first child in 2011. But even that relationship hit a snag.

The Jewish Chronicle

In 2017, the couple decided to split up. “It is with great love, respect and friendship that we have decided to take some time apart,” the pair said in a joint statement. Once again, Schwimmer found himself “on a break.”

Schwimmer’s story just goes to prove that Hollywood success doesn’t automatically make your life easier. And he’s not the only Friends star to feel that way, either…

Starring in a hit show like Friends seems like nothing short of a dream come true. Most of the main cast, who overnight went from virtual unknowns to household names, would agree. But the experience brought out the worst of one actor.

AARP

As the brash and sarcastic Chandler Bing, Matthew Perry came off as untouchable. His poise and confidence, however, covered up personal issues that nearly derailed the sitcom, not to mention his entire life.

All his life, Matthew wanted to become a famous actor. He left behind his native Canada to hit it big in Hollywood, and he did just that, starring in the teen show Boys Will Be Boys. That opened up the door for the young performer.

IMDb

Matthew always knew how to have a good time, but the success of Friends changed his purpose for partying. Suddenly, he felt a tremendous amount of pressure. All eyes were on him, and he couldn’t afford to make any mistakes.

Needing an outlet for all that stress, he turned to drinking. One refreshing beverage quickly spiraled into a full-on binge. Matthew did his best to hide it from the cast and crew, but many of the effects were clear.

Instagram / matthewlangfordperry

It got to the point where Matthew consumed a quart of vodka per day, though he said he never drank on set. Instead, he scheduled his benders for after work. He got into the habit of showing up to work seriously hungover each morning.

GIPHY

Despite his evident talent, Matthew’s alcoholism couldn’t help but affect his performances. He struggled to keep up with the pace of the show, which only got bigger and bigger. The actor told himself he had to find a way to stop.

Instagram / matthewlangfordperry

Matthew’s boozing took an unexpected turn when he suffered a jet ski accident in 1997. Although he wasn’t seriously hurt, the doctor prescribed him painkillers for his injury. When he took the first dose, Matthew couldn’t believe how great he felt.

Now on a steady regimen of Vicodin, Roxicodone, and OxyContin, Matthew was elated that he didn’t feel the need to drink anymore. Sadly, his sense of invincibility soon faded. He’d stumbled into an even more dangerous addiction.

Some viewers couldn’t help but notice the effects that opioids had on Matthew’s appearance. As he went on spurts of binging and abstaining from pills, his weight severely fluctuated. He just looked plain unhealthy.

To anyone close to Matthew, it was clear that he needed professional help. But was it worth it to pull him out of Hollywood for an extended amount of time so he could detox?

Instagram / matthewlangfordperry

In many ways, Matthew couldn’t leave showbiz. Friends was going strong as the number-one comedy on television, and its demanding production schedule required him to be on-set all the time. But at a certain point, he decided enough was enough.

Popsugar

Putting his whole career on the line, he checked into the Hazelden rehab center in Minnesota. It took nearly a month to flush the effects of the Vicodin addiction out of his body. He hoped that would be the end of it.

Unfortunately, Matthew couldn’t stay off the pills and booze for long. He reluctantly checked himself back into rehab in 2001, but his frustration still grew. No matter what he did, these substances were still wrecking his life.

In 2017, the actor opened up about just how devastating his habits were. They wrecked his memory, making him unable to recollect three entire seasons of Friends. Memorable story arcs, like Chandler and Monica’s Vegas trip, are totally blank in his mind.

YouTube / Michael Rodriquez

These painful memories are a big reason why Perry has shunned every Friends reunion. Though this era was a career high for him, it represented the low point of his personal life as well.

The Daily Beast

Matthew’s struggles continued even after Friends, but at least he gained the courage to speak up about it. He shared his addiction troubles with the public to encourage other victims to seek help, which won him a Champion of Recovery award from the White House.

Gfycat

“I don’t think there’s anything in the world that I can’t face, having faced that. That was the scariest thing that’s ever happened to me. You get a whole new respect for yourself and life when you go through something that difficult,” reflected Matthew.

He hasn’t quite shaken his problems in more recent years either. Matthew slunk away from the spotlight in 2018 when adult entertainer Maddy O’Reilly told the press that he’d begged her for drugs.

For now, Matthew’s battle with addiction seems like a lifelong fight. But he’s resolved to keep fighting it at every turn, even if it means putting career opportunities on hold. On the bright side, he has countless fans and Friends co-stars to cheer him on.

Instagram / matthewlandfordperry