Breaking her silence — and then some. Vanity Fair dropped its March 2016 cover story on Jennifer Garner on Friday, February 26, and it’s loaded with details about the star’s high-profile 2015 split from Ben Affleck, which included a now-infamous nanny scandal and claims about infidelity during their marriage. In the piece, Garner addresses, well, everything.
“I didn’t marry the big fat movie star; I married him,” the Miracles From Heaven actress, 43, told the mag. “And I would go back and remake that decision. I ran down the beach to him, and I would again. You can’t have these three babies and so much of what we had. He’s the love of my life. What am I going to do about that? He’s the most brilliant person in any room, the most charismatic, the most generous. He’s just a complicated guy. I always say, ‘When his sun shines on you, you feel it.’ But when the sun is shining elsewhere, it’s cold. He can cast quite a shadow.”
Parents of Violet, Seraphina and Samuel, the stars confirmed their split after 10 years of marriage to Us Weekly on June 30, 2015. Garner told VF that she did everything she could to salvage their relationship.
“I’m a pretty hard worker. It’s one of the pains in my life that something I believe in so strongly I’ve completely failed at twice,” she said, referring to her first marriage to Scott Foley. “You have to have two people to dance a marriage. My heart’s a little on the tender side right now, and it’s always easier to focus on the ways that you feel hurt, but I know that, with time and some perspective, I’ll have a clearer sense of where I let the system down, because there’s no way I get off in this.”
There was a lot of pain involved even after she and Affleck agreed to split. After the couple announced their divorce, Us Weekly broke the news that Affleck was seeing their former nanny Christine Ouzounian. “Let me just tell you something. We had been separated for months before I ever heard about the nanny. She had nothing to do with our decision to divorce. She was not a part of the equation,” Garner dished to VF. “Bad judgment? Yes. It’s not great for your kids for [a nanny] to disappear from their lives.” Months later, she’s still assessing the damage. “I have had to have conversations about the meaning of ‘scandal.'”
She also addressed Ricky Gervais‘ introduction of Matt Damon at the Golden Globes in January. During the memorable stint, Gervais referred to Affleck’s BFF Damon as “the only person who Ben Affleck hasn’t been unfaithful to.” Garner told VF she found it funny.
“I laughed. People have pain — they do regrettable things, they feel shame, and shame equals pain. No one needs to hate him for me. I don’t hate him,” she claimed. “Certainly we don’t have to beat the guy up. Don’t worry — my eyes were wide open during the marriage. I’m taking good care of myself.”
The mom of three is learning to prioritize her needs. “I definitely put a lot of time towards my marriage that I will now have for myself,” she explained. “I don’t know how I will use that.”
Something else she’s learned is independence. “It’s not Ben’s job to make me happy,” she said. “The main thing is these kids — and we’re completely in line with what we hope for them. Sure, I lost the dream of dancing with my husband at my daughter’s wedding. But you should see their faces when he walks through the door. And if you see your kids love someone so purely and wholly, then you’re going to be friends with that person.”