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Ben Affleck on His Rocky Past: ‘There’s Stuff I Look Back on and Kind of Cringe at’

Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck arrives for the European Premiere of 'Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice' in 2016. Mike Marsland/WireImage

Ben Affleck reflected on his rocky past and career failures and what finally inspired him to get back on track during an interview with The Guardian.

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The Live by Night actor, 44, discussed his mistakes in the early 2000s, when he made Pearl Harbor, Jersey Girl and Gigli, which costarred his then-fiancée Jennifer Lopez. He also reportedly checked into rehab around that time for his drinking and gambling. “I’d always had a strong idea about my values and the direction I wanted to be headed in, then I ran into getting famous, and it totally spun me around, and I flailed around for a few years,” he said. "When you’re a young man in your 20s, part of that is making mistakes and learning from them. I just made those in front of everybody, rather than privately."

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Affleck continued, “There’s stuff I look back on and kind of cringe at, but I always tried to treat other people well. My parents imbued that in me, and the mistakes I made were mostly just of the embarrassing kind."

He went on to explain that his three children — Violet, 11, Seraphina, 7, and Sam, 4, whom he shares with his estranged wife, Jennifer Garner — changed everything for him. "I think becoming a father makes you see the world differently, and it’s good,” he said. 

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Although he’s accepted that life in the spotlight comes along with increased scrutiny, he tries to shield his children from it. "You become a public figure, and it changes all the rules,” he told The Guardian. "I’m at peace with paying my own price. What I’m not at peace with is when it invades on my kids’ space and time. They didn’t make any bargains. I try to shelter them as best I can. That’s my only real gripe."

The Oscar-winning director revealed that his kids have a big impact on his professional career, too. He took on the role of Batman for his son. “Sam thinks his dad is Batman,” he said. “That’s an incredible feeling."

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