Ben Affleck seemed to be blowing his top. During a shopping trip with wife Jennifer Lopez at a high-end jewelry store in St. Barts on December 29, 2023, the exasperated-looking actor threw his hands in the air, a pained expression on his face, as Jennifer looked up at him defiantly. “It was a quick outburst,” a source exclusively tells In Touch. “Within minutes, she had defused the situation and things calmed down. Ben is usually happy to accommodate what his wife loves, like going out and being photographed, but there are times he hits his breaking point.”

Lately, that’s happening more and more often. “Jennifer and Ben are both incredibly passionate people. They have always loved hard and fought hard,” the source says of the pair, who got married in 2022, 18 years after their first engagement fell apart under intense public scrutiny. Since then, they’ve been struggling to avoid the same pitfalls and make the marriage work. “The first time they were together, their relationship couldn’t handle the pressures of the spotlight, and those same issues are starting to get to them again.” Jennifer was even seen strolling on the beach by herself the day after their spat (left), notes the source, revealing that those close to the couple believe a trial separation is in the works, “and that would be J. Lo’s worst nightmare.

This was supposed to be their happily ever after. Rekindling their romance — after they both married, had children and got divorced — was “a miracle and something that neither one of us really ever thought would happen,” Jennifer, 54, has said. “It’s a beautiful love story that we got
a second chance.”

They claimed to have learned their lesson. Ben, 51, has said that while their reunion is “a great story,” he would never again tell it publicly. Being so open was their big mistake, Jen agreed. “We were naïve, and it got a little trampled. We don’t want any of that to come into play again,” she said, adding that they “have PTSD” from the past experience. “We’re older now, we’re smarter … we have kids now, and we have to be very conscious of those things. We’re so protective.”

But are they? Jennifer is releasing her new album, This Is Me … Now, on February 16. It’s a bookend to her 2002 album This Is Me … Then — because both albums were inspired by her relationship with Ben. And on the same day, she’ll debut a documentary of the same name, in which Ben appears and is credited as a writer. The film was described in a press release as “an intimate, reflective, sexy, funny, fantastical and highly entertaining musical and visual reimagining of her publicly scrutinized love life … a heartfelt ode to J. Lo’s journey of self-healing and everlasting belief in fairytale endings.”

In other words, it’s exactly what she vowed not to do. But Jennifer — who’s been promoting skincare and alcohol lines as well as three new movies over the past year and has a busy Instagram feed and newsletter to fill — just can’t help it, says the source. “She likes to share things about her life. It’s how she’s stayed famous and kept her career going for 30 years now.” Oscar winner Ben, who’s often the person behind the camera in her publicity posts, “tries to be supportive,” adds the source. “but he tires of it quickly.”

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez Are ‘Both Trying’ to ‘Save’ Marriage Amid Struggles
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for ELLE

The past 18 months have been exhausting in other ways as well. Not only did the pair spend their first year of marriage in an extended, indecision-plagued search for a new house — and “nobody’s ever home” in the $60 million mansion they finally settled on, says the source — but they’ve also been working together nonstop.

Aside from filming the documentary, Ben is producing and Jen is starring in the upcoming movie
Unstoppable: The Anthony Robles Story, which was delayed by the actors’ strike but resumed production in December. “Working together of course adds a lot of stress to any relationship, especially considering how horribly their past project together turned out,” the source says, referring to 2003’s Gigli, the critically panned rom-com that “marked the beginning of the end of their first relationship.”

All of that would be overwhelming for anyone. And Ben, who has long struggled with his sobriety and has been spotted smoking cigarettes again more frequently, “especially doesn’t
need the added stress,” says the source. “He could use a break when they’re done with their film. He wants his next project to be some- thing that he does alone.”

But Jennifer is determined not to let him wander off too far. “Not only would a fourth divorce be utterly humiliating for her, but she truly believes Ben is the love of her life,” says the source. “All in all, their families have blended beautifully, and their kids have become close. It’s their first year of marriage, and they have a lot to figure out, but they are both trying. She will do everything she can to save this marriage.”

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