As Hollywood glamour couple Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck finally settle into married life after 20 years, plans are under way for a big party extravaganza and honeymoon.
The couple revealed on Monday they had tied the knot quietly on July 17 (Australian time) at a Las Vegas wedding chapel, with the “best witnesses you could ever imagine [their children], a dress from an old movie and a jacket from Ben’s closet”.
She said it was the best night of their lives.
On Tuesday, celebrity news website TMZ reported the new Mrs Affleck and her husband had spent $US60 million ($88 million) on an off-market deal for a Beverley Hills mansion previously owned by Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman. They plan on moving into the estate.
A People magazine source said Affleck, 49, and Lopez, 52, also “plan on having a bigger party so they can celebrate with family and friends”.
TMZ said celebrations and champagne will be at Affleck’s home in the coastal town of Riceboro, Georgia.
“They don’t have a honeymoon planned yet. Jennifer says that every day with Ben is a honeymoon,” the source said.
2002 wedding plans scuttled under media pressure
The Good Will Hunting and Pearl Harbor A-lister, and Lopez – at the time Hollywood’s highest-paid Hispanic actress (Maid in Manhattan, The Wedding Planner) – had a whirlwind romance almost 20 years ago.
After a four-month courtship, Affleck proposed in November 2002, with a 6.1-carat pink diamond Harry Winston engagement ring.
Their “glamorous romance fuelled early-tabloid culture, set the standard for ship names [Bennifer], then fizzled out faster than it began”, wrote Vulture.
So what went wrong?
They issued a statement in September 2003, calling off their nuptials.
“Due to the excessive media attention surrounding our wedding, we have decided to postpone the date,” it read.
“When we found ourselves seriously contemplating hiring three separate ‘decoy brides’ at three different locations, we realised that something was awry.”
They officially split in 2004, and led separate lives for 17 years.
In 2005 Affleck married fellow actor Jennifer Garner (The Adam Project), with whom he shares three children, Seraphina, Violet and Samuel. They divorced in 2018.
Lopez married singer Marc Anthony in 2004 (divorced in 2014). They have 14-year-old twins Emme and Max together.
It would be another four years before Affleck spoke about their split on the British TV show Live in 2008.
“I think Jen and I made a mistake in that we fell in love, we were excited and maybe too accessible,” he said.
“I don’t think either of us anticipated the degree to which it would take on a world of its own.”
Lopez also opened up, telling People in 2016: “We didn’t try to have a public relationship”.
“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.”
According to People TV in 2018, Lopez acknowledged their notoriety in the video for her song Jenny from the Block, which featured paparazzi shots of herself and Affleck doing everything from putting petrol in their vehicles to lounging on a yacht.
Excitement about Bennifer 2.0 … back together?
After her 2020 film Hustlers got rave reviews and a Golden Globe nomination, Affleck was among the first to congratulate Lopez, telling the New York Times she should have also got an Oscar nod.
“She should have been nominated. She’s the real thing,” he told NY Times reporter Brooks Barnes.
“I keep in touch periodically with her and have a lot of respect for her. How awesome is it that she had her biggest hit movie at 50?” he said.
Lopez then split from Alex Rodriguez in April last year.
By May, rumours about Bennifer 2.0 were mounting after the pair were spotted working out together at a Miami gym and staying at a $US130,000-a-month rental.
They were also seen near Affleck’s Big Sky, Montana, holiday home during a week’s break.
A source told People at the time they were serious and this time wanted the relationship to be long lasting.
Speaking of lounging on yachts together, on July 24 they went official on Instagram.
Whirlwind romance No. 2
With 218 million Instagram followers, Lopez was suddenly back in the global spotlight after sharing an intimate kiss with Affleck on board their yacht near Amalfi in photographs marking her 52nd birthday.
The next 12 months would prove magical for both of them. They kicked off with a return to the red carpet for September’s Venice Film Festival, for the first time since reuniting for Affleck’s The Last Duel.
Channelling “old Hollywood vibes”, the couple shared a passionate kiss at their first Met Gala together on September 13, and again at the Lincoln Centre in New York for Affleck’s US film premiere.
Lopez’s Marry Me premiere in February should have been a sign of things to come: “I feel so lucky and happy and proud to be with him,” she told People of her rekindled romance with Affleck, adding, “It’s a beautiful love story that we got a second chance”.
It wasn’t long before they went public.
On April 8, she took to Twitter to show off a huge, green diamond on her ring finger: “So I have a really exciting and special story to share …” Lopez told fans, sharing more details in her On The JLo newsletter.
Mrs Jennifer Lynn Affleck: ‘We did it!’
Then, last weekend, they dodged what would have been a massive media spotlight and got married in a late-night ceremony at a Las Vegas drive-through chapel.
Lopez announced it to the world afterwards, telling her newsletter fans: “We did it”.
“Love is beautiful. Love is kind. And it turns out love is patient. Twenty years patient,” she wrote.
Lopez said she and Affleck flew to Las Vegas on Saturday, lined up for their licence with four other couples, and were wed just after midnight at A Little White Wedding Chapel, which boasts a drive-through “tunnel of love”.
People says Lopez is looking forward to growing old with Ben.
She’s happy, content and she “couldn’t ask for anything else. She thinks it’s all perfect”.