Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck ("Bennifer") have seemingly reunited with romance rumours swirling that take us right back to 2003's Gigli and 2002's "Jenny from the Block" music video days.
"He was very secure that she adored him," body language expert Dr. Lillian Glass told Yahoo Canada as she analyzed some of their pre-breakup photos from the early 2000s. "They were so connected, they were certainly a match."
"Maybe it was too much for him to take at that point in time in his life but now there's a lot under his belt with marriage and children,... I think maybe this is the perfect time. She's in a very vulnerable position, he's very vulnerable and maybe both of their vulnerabilities can make a healing for both of them."
Various anonymous sources are now coming out with alleged information on the Bennifer relationship, with one source telling People that Lopez's ex Alex Rodriguez is "not thrilled" about the reunion that "hurt his ego." Another source told the outlet that Lopez is "very excited about how things are going with Ben" and the two have been in touch every day since the 51-year-old singer/actor and 48-year-old Affleck took a trip to Montana last week.
While we only have limited photos of the pair together recently, with really only one photo of them in a car together near Big Sky Resort in Montana, Glass does point out that they look very serious, possibly having real discussions about what their relationship will look like in the future.
"Are they going to be friends or are they going to have a relationship? I don't think that love ever died, they just kind of went their separate ways," she said.
A key takeaway from the body language expert is that it is clear that Lopez, in particular, was "crazy about him."
"In all these pictures, it seems like she's the one that's pretty much head over heels, more head over heels than he is, [but] that's not to say he doesn't like her," Glass said.
Celebrity enthusiasts love a blast from our past reunion, like when Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston reunited at the SAG awards last year, and Bennifer is not different.
Dr. Samita Nandy, director of the Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies in Toronto, identified that part of our fascination with Lopez and Affleck at this particular moment in time also has a link to COVID-19.
"I think in the context of the pandemic, there is more excitement," Nandy told Yahoo Canada. "To see Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck come together is giving a sense of hope for the future and it’s also giving nostalgia for the past."
"They shared a history in the past...and fame is all about leaving a legacy. So really, truly that's what they're doing... It really leaves a legacy that people are probably craving for at this time."
Part of our fascination with celebrity relationships in general also stems from the normal or "ordinary" aspects of their lives, similar to seeing our favourite stars without makeup, versus their larger-than-life image on screen. Getting another glimpse into the personal lives of Lopez and Affleck, 17 years later, fits the bill.
When and why did Ben and Jen break up?
Lopez and Affleck met on the set of the less than successful movie Gigli in 2001, where they took the on-screen romance into their off-screen world. Lopez was married to Chris Judd at the time.
The couple got engaged in 2002 with a wedding planned for the following year.
In September 2003, Lopez and Affleck postponed their wedding plans and released the following statement:
"Due to the excessive media attention surrounding our wedding, we have decided to postpone the date. When we found ourselves seriously contemplating hiring three separate 'decoy brides' at three different locations, we realized that something was awry. We began to feel that the spirit of what should have been the happiest day of our lives could be compromised. We felt what should have been a joyful and sacred day could be spoiled for us, our families and our friends."
The couple broke up in January 2004, before Lopez married singer Marc Anthony in June of that same year and Affleck went on to marry Jennifer Garner in 2005.
"I think different time different thing, who knows what could’ve happened, but there was a genuine love there,” Lopez said in an interview with Jess Cagle back in 2016.
"We just happened to be together at the birth of the tabloids, and it was like ‘Oh my God.’ It was just a lot of pressure.'"
With the media attention largely cited by Lopez and Affleck as impacting their relationhip in the early 2000s, and the frenzy already starting again now, Nandy said that when there is a lot of missing information, like this vacation to Montana, this "overnight sensation" type of reported information is expected.
"For journalists, I mean there's no other way to show this because that's the only information they have," she said. "What's probably lacking is the process, the whole life background behind it... So I think that’s something fans are very much interested to know."
While we'll certainly continue to keep tabs on how this relationship evolves, we'll see if Bennifer ultimately makes it back together again - but we'll maybe we can skip another Gigli movie.