When art imitates life. Ben Affleck reveals his “biggest regret” is divorcing his ex-wife, Jennifer Garner, during a candid interview with The New York Times. The critically acclaimed actor speaks out about their relationship while drawing comparisons to the character he plays in his upcoming film, The Way Back, which is hitting theaters March 6.

In the flick, Affleck, 47, portrays a willful high school basketball coach with major problems going on in his personal life, and it causes him to turn to his vices in order to cope. “You’re trying to make yourself feel better with eating or drinking or sex or gambling or shopping or whatever. But that ends up making your life worse,” the Hollywood heartthrob explains.

“Then you do more of it to make that discomfort go away. Then the real pain starts,” Affleck continues. “It becomes a vicious cycle you can’t break. That’s at least what happened to me.”

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner

The father of three says he started drinking alcohol more heavily when his marriage to Garner, 47, “was falling apart” in 2015 to 2016. He notes how that only intensified their issues and ultimately led to their divorce in 2018. Now, Affleck reveals he still feels “guilt” over what transpired between them, but he is working on letting go of the feelings that no longer benefit him.

“Shame is really toxic,” he adds. “There is no positive byproduct of shame. It’s just stewing in a toxic, hideous feeling of low self-worth and self-loathing.” Affleck hints that he wants to take what he’s learned from the experience and grow from it.

“It’s not particularly healthy for me to obsess over the failures — the relapses — and beat myself up,” he tells NYT. “I have certainly made mistakes. I have certainly done things that I regret. But you’ve got to pick yourself up, learn from it, learn some more, try to move forward.”

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner

During the interview, Affleck also addresses how he’s trying to set a positive example for his kids, while striving to break a very difficult habit. “It took me a long time to fundamentally, deeply, without a hint of doubt, admit to myself that I am an alcoholic,” he confesses. “The next drink will not be different.”

Back in October 2019, Affleck had a public relapse and an insider told In Touch exclusively that Garner did her best to be “sympathetic” while trying to keep him on the right path. “Ben knows that when he relapses, things change, there are consequences,” the source said. “Jen wants Ben at his best. Video of him stumbling around in public, that’s not it.”

These days, the social activist and his former flame appear to be on good terms, and they are doing everything possible to make sure they amicably coparent the three children they share — Violet, 14, Samuel, 7, and Seraphina, 11.

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