J-Lo became Mrs Jennifer Lynn Affleck last week in a love story denouement even the best Hollywood scriptwriters couldn’t have come up with. Twenty years after they first got together and with other marriages and children in between, Jennifer Lopez and her A-list fiancé, Ben Affleck, 49, sidestepped the spotlight of the world – and the paparazzi – and tied the knot in secret at the Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas. “We did it, Love is beautiful. Love is kind. And it turns out love is patient. Twenty years patient,” Jennifer, 53, wrote in her On the JLo newsletter, also posting pictures of the happy couple getting ready for the short ceremony and sharing an embrace.
She revealed that they had flown to Las Vegas on 16 July and stood in line for their licence with four other couples, before hotfooting it to the chapel, which features a drive-through “tunnel of love”, just before it closed. “They graciously stayed open a few minutes, let us take pictures in a pink Cadillac convertible evidently once used by the king himself (but if we wanted Elvis himself to show, that cost extra and he was in bed),” she wrote. In true J-Lo style, the beautiful bride wore not one but two wedding gowns. One was a white lace, off-the-shoulder, long-sleeve dress with a sweetheart neckline, corset bodice and fishtail train with matching veil and lace trim, by Zuhair Murad. The other, she revealed, was a dress from an old movie. Double Oscar winner Ben, who dressed in white, wore a jacket from his wardrobe.
She thanked the chapel, which has hosted many celebrity weddings – including Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow, Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, and Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner – for letting both her and the groom change in the restroom. The actress and singer wrote that they’d read their own vows and “gave each other rings we’ll wear for the rest of our lives”, before using a Bluetooth speaker to take “a short march down the aisle” in what she described as “the best possible wedding we could have imagined”. And one, she added, that they had dreamt of “long ago and made real (in the eyes of the state, Las Vegas, a pink convertible and one another) at very, very long last”.
She added: “When love is real, the only thing that matters in marriage is one another and the promise we make to love, care, understand, be patient, loving and good to one another. We had that. And so much more. Best night of our lives.”
Ben was previously married to actress Jennifer Garner, with whom he has three children – Violet, 16, Seraphina, 13, and ten-year-old Samuel. Jennifer has been married three times before and has 14-year-old twins, Emme and Max, from her third marriage, to Marc Anthony, from whom she separated in 2011. Both sets of children were witnesses.
Jennifer recently described herself and Ben, who are also known by their hybrid celebrity name Bennifer, as “two very lucky people. Who got a second chance at true love”. She signed off her letter saying: “They were right when they said: ‘All you need is love.’ We are so grateful to have that in abundance, a new wonderful family of five amazing children and a life we have never had more reason to look forward to. “Stick around long enough maybe you’ll find the best moment of your life in a drive through in Las Vegas, twelve thirty in the morning… with your kids and the one you’ll spend forever with. Love is a great thing, maybe the best of things – and worth waiting for.” Signing off as Mrs Jennifer Lynn Affleck, she later posted a picture on Instagram of her in bed wearing what was said to be a platinum wedding ring. Her engagement ring – a natural green diamond worth around $3m (£2.5m) and reportedly the most expensive celebrity engagement ring so far in 2022 – was the most extravagant aspect of their low-key engagement in April, when Ben proposed while his fiancée was having a bubble bath.
Jennifer described the event as: “Nothing fancy at all but it was the most romantic thing I could’ve ever imagined… just a quiet Saturday night at home, two people promising to always be there for each other.”
The old flames had reignited their romance – to much media excitement – in June 2021, after Jennifer’s split from her retired baseball professional fiancé Alex Rodriguez and Ben’s relationship with actress Ana De Armas broke down. “We’re older now,” Jennifer said in February. “We’re smarter, we have more experience, we’re at different places in our lives, we have kids now and we have to be very conscious about those things.” They first met in 2002 on the set of the film Gigli: Jennifer was still married to second husband Chris Judd, but once their divorce came through, she and Ben went public.
By the end of 2002, Ben had proposed with a custom-made Harry Winston 6.1-carat pink diamond solitaire ring and within weeks they were one of the most popular couples in Hollywood and the focus of much media frenzy. Jennifer acknowledged this in the music video for her song Jenny from the Block, which featured paparazzi shots of her and Ben going about their daily lives. “We didn’t try to have a public relationship,” she said in 2016. “We just happened to be together at the birth of the tabloids.” Ben also reflected in 2021 on the coverage Jennifer would receive, noting: “People were so f**king mean about her – sexist, racist.” By September 2003, their wedding, due to take place in Santa Barbara, was postponed just two days beforehand with the couple citing “excessive media attention”. In January 2004, the relationship was officially over. “I think different time, different thing, who knows what could have happened, but there was genuine love there,” said Jennifer in an interview in 2016.
Cut to July 2021 and a reunited Jennifer and Ben went Instagram-official when she posted a photo of them kissing to mark her 52nd birthday, and they made their first public appearance as a couple last December at the premiere of his film The Last Duel. Last week, the newlyweds jetted to Paris for their honeymoon, a chance to continue their wedding celebrations. “I feel so lucky and happy and proud to be with him. It’s a beautiful love story that we got a second chance,” Jennifer said earlier this year.