Now that’s a good friend. The ever-so-loyal Matt Damon defended his longtime best friend, Ben Affleck, in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, claiming that Jennifer Garner’s ex has a different personality than what’s perceived by the public.
“There’s nobody who’s more misunderstood,” the Martian actor, 44, said of his old pal. “Ten years ago, the public image of him could not have been farther apart from who he actually is. It was like he was being cast in a role, that he was a talentless kind of meathead, with his whole relationship with Jennifer Lopez.”
Damon, of course, was referring to Affleck and Lopez’s days as “Bennifer.” (The high-profile stars famously got together in 2002, but called quits in January 2004 after a rocky engagement. After the split, Affleck eventually found love in his now-estranged wife, Garner, whom he married in 2005, while Lopez got together with her now-ex-husband Marc Anthony.)
“He just got cast as this person that he wasn’t,” Damon said of Affleck, 43, when he was with J.Lo, now 46. “It was just really painful. It was painful to be his friend, because it wasn’t fair, you know? To my mind, nobody really got him at all.”
Affleck’s all-time career low is widely considered Gigli, the critical and box office bomb in which he starred opposite Lopez. Affleck, though, eventually redeemed himself with successful films like the Oscar-winning Argo (which he also directed) and Gone Girl.
“Through his work, he climbed from the bottom of the mountain all the way back up to the top,” Damon noted. “And past where either of us had ever been.” (Damon did not comment about Affleck’s split from Garner, and his relationship with former nanny Christine Ouzounian.) Click here to see more new pics of single Garner on the red carpet.
Affleck wasn’t the only one out of the dynamic duo to make mistakes in his earlier years. “I had a terrible temper,” Damon recalled of his youth in Hollywood. “I mean, like, a problematic temper. I still get riled up and competitive.”
This spirit, of course, applies to his role upcoming sci-fi film, The Martian, which is already generating Oscar buzz. “I’m not angst-free,” Damon told the mag. “I mean, look, I’ve got a lot riding on this movie.”
He also dished some details about his global franchise role as super spy Jason Bourne. “He’s so easy to root for,” Damon said of Bourne. “I always wanted to play him again.”
Another figure Damon is rooting for — in real life? “I’m supporting Hillary,” the dad of multiple daughters told THR of the 2016 presidential election. Donald Trump, on the other hand, does not have Damon’s support — particularly for his comments about immigration and Mexicans.
“When people are talking about putting a wall up, I just can’t take them seriously. I can’t. It seems so un-American. We have people running for the highest elected office talking about putting a wall up that would keep my wife [Brazilian native Luciana Barroso] and her family out of the country, you know?”
Take a look back at Garner and Affleck’s relationship in the video above.
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!