The year of ‘Bennifer’: how the return of Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck has become the most mediatic relationship of 2021 | People

They are the undisputed protagonists of the social chronicle of 2021. Those who have woken up the most excited screams on the red carpets and those who have made the paparazzi work the most. And they had competition, since this year we have witnessed one of the most multimillionaire divorces in history, that of Bill and Melinda Gates; the separation of two global entertainment icons like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West; or the undisguised romance of the young monarchs of Latin music, Rosalía and Rauw Alejandro. But in an industry that seems definitively inclined to elevate as new protagonists of its pages natives of Generation Z such as streamers Y tiktokers, the reconciliation of Jennifer Lopez, 52, and Ben Affleck, 49, vindicates the informative power of the stars of a classic Hollywood that refuses to give up.

A kiss captured by the cameras on June 14, during the birthday celebration of the pop star’s sister, confirmed what was already an open secret: the return of the couple 17 years after their breakup. The return of Bennifer (acronym with which they were baptized by the press) has supposed a breath of nostalgia, charismatic and hopeful, especially significant in a time of social and informational anxiety due to the pandemic. A shared emotion that symbolized like no one else the reaction of the Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence, who did not hesitate to stop a live interview to celebrate with shouts and expletives the confirmation of the news. The data corroborates their enthusiasm: the search for “jennifer lopez ben affleck” in Google brings up 17 million results in the last year alone, on Instagram there are more than thirty profiles of fans dedicated to the couple and the hashtag #Bennifer has been shared in about 50 thousand publications.

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As in so many other couples, it was the ravages of confinement that placed the artist and the interpreter in the ideal sentimental situation for their reunion. Affleck broke up with his last girlfriend, the Spanish-Cuban actress Ana de Armas, last January; And only three months later, JLo confirmed his separation from former baseball player Álex Rodríguez, after four years of relationship and two postponed weddings due, they alleged, to the health crisis. With the intention of comforting themselves after the failed romances and taking advantage of their resilient friendship, last spring they were seen together in their respective homes and even on escapades across the United States, igniting the spark of their new relationship.

The first advent of Bennifer took place between 2002 and 2004, enduring media scrutiny that is still the subject of analysis today. They met on the set of the failed comedy A dangerous relationship, just as the artist’s second marriage to choreographer Cris Judd was coming to an end, and before the public could see the film, they had already announced their engagement. The rise of the tabloid press together with the hypertrophied displays of affection and the ostentation of privileges of the couple, with the video clip of the song Jenny from the block as a sublimation of his public projection, he ended up generating a creature of a dramatic magnitude impossible to control.

“It so happened that we were together when the tabloids were born and it was too much pressure,” Lopez confessed to the magazine. People in 2016. “People were very mean to her: sexist and racist,” added Affleck. They blamed the persecution of the media both for the postponement of their marriage and the definitive end of their relationship, paying for the broken dishes of a trend that a few months later would end up producing stars. to this like Paris Hilton or Jessica Simpson. Without denying the morbid fascination that a reconciliation can awaken after years of distance, the purpose of amendment by the press and readers is another of the forces that converge in this phenomenon of 2021. “Bennifer It is not only the opportunity for Lopez and Affleck to rekindle a romance by being older and wiser, it is also an opportunity for the rest of us to let them be happy now, “says journalist Meredith Blake in Los Angeles Times, attributing the current excitement to repentance for past sins.

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Since their separation, the trajectories of Lopez and Affleck have followed paths full of parallels. Both have gone down the aisle (with singer Marc Anthony and actress Jennifer Garner, respectively), have been parents (she is the mother of twins and he has three children) and have been divorced. But, above all, they have seen how the same public opinion that censured its original success (the “neighborhood” diva and the “petulant idiot” actor) now applauds the consolidation of the Bronx as a Latin totem worthy of conquering the stage of the Super Bowl; and the legitimation, in front of and behind the camera, of an Affleck who won the Oscar for best film for Argo.

The scope of their new romance is also symptomatic of the social perpetuation of the myth of eternal love, so fueled by the entertainment industry itself. As if of the protagonists of a romantic drama made in Hollywood involved, the couple stands in the test that two people destined to be together will manage to overcome the necessary obstacles in order to meet. A vision shared by the actor himself, who in an interview with him Wall Street Journal He confessed “lucky” for the unexpected opportunity that had presented itself. “I have benefited from second chances and I am aware that other people do not even have a first,” he said. At a time when the cinema industry seems committed to telling us the same story over and over again, few remakes more interesting and enjoyable we can find on the screens that this Bennifer 2.0.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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