Jennifer Garner sat down with The Hollywood Reporter for a broad interview that covered her evolving relationship with Hollywood and her ex, Ben Affleck.
Garner says she imagined raising a family in the South, like her parents. But then she landed on Felicity, and Alias. “I was very Southern and obsequious, and I needed a little swagger,” she says.
Garner says of her two-time Oscar-winning ex: “People are in awe of him. He's done incredible things, he's six-four, he's … him, and they treat him with a kind of reverence.”
Then, she says of herself: “They say that people treat me like we were just in the middle of a conversation and they want to get back to it. They'll see me and be like, 'Oh, I've been meaning to tell you … ' “
She says of the tabloid fascination with their life: “You'd go through a yellow light and 15, 20 cars would go through the red light behind you, driving up on the side of roads, and this is just for a mom and a kid. We lived down a street that was chock-a-block full of actors, much more successful and famous and decorated than me, including Ben, and they'd all go by one by one, no problem, and then I'd go do a school run and it'd be 15 cars going with me. I never had a day without them, and if I did, if I made it to a park by hiding in the bottom of the pool man's truck or something, then a nanny would see me there and call a number and they'd swarm.”
When she married Affleck in 2015, she pivoted to parenting their three kids, Violet, 15, Seraphina, 12, and Samuel, 9. When she got a call in 2012 for Dallas Buyers Club, she says her agent told her: “He said, 'This is going to be a call about one of two things: It's going to be a call about you doing this little movie, or it's going to be a call about you retiring.’ And I knew I'd asked enough of my representatives, who'd been working their tails off for me and I had said no to everything and kept getting pregnant. But I was truly overwhelmed by a third kid. Ben was making Argo and I was just trying to keep the plates spinning. I also knew that I didn't want to be done acting, so I said, 'OK, I'll do it.' “
When they split in 2015, she was concerned about how the split and their issues would affect the trio. “When they were smaller and there were things out there that were shocking, my request to them was always, 'Let Dad and I talk you through whatever it is,' ” she says, alluding to but never explicitly describing headlines about Affleck cheating, drinking or heading to rehab. “I'd tell them, 'If you see an image on the front of a magazine, I'll look at it with you and we'll process all the scary feelings that come up together.' “
“Going through a divorce in public is not what's hard, going through it is what’s hard, A,” Garner admits. “And B, my children's eyes are on me.”
But it seems things are better now. “When our kids get married, we'll dance, I know that now,” she tells THR. “We'll boogaloo and have a great time. I don't worry about that anymore.”