Don’t mess with Jennifer Garner. The Peppermint star is doing whatever it takes to protect her kids — which means she’s giving Ben Affleck a strict set of rules to abide by if he wants to see them. Her ex-husband is fresh out of rehab, and although it seems like he’s been on his best behavior lately (even bailing on BFF Matt Damon‘s wild Vegas birthday bash), a source tells In Touch exclusively that Jen is in control.

“Jen dictates all outings and gatherings — birthdays, holidays, special events,” a friend of the former couple tells us. “She’s keeping him on a tight leash, and he doesn’t have much choice other than to go along with it.”

Ben Affleck drinking
Getty Images

The 46-year-old has even put restrictions on his love life. Despite reports that Ben is newly broken up with his 22-year-old Playboy model girlfriend, Shauna Sexton, she revealed to us exclusively that reports they split are simply “not accurate.”

And Jen is less than thrilled with his latest fling. “The kids are to have no interaction with Shauna or any other girlfriend that Ben might have,” the friend dished. “Jen’s intent on keeping it a tight-knit family unit.”

In the past, Jen expressed her concern for Shauna after she listed “whiskey all day” as her favorite drink in a recent interview. “She told him to dump Shauna or else,” a separate insider told Life & Style, adding that Jen thinks she’s a bad influence. “It isn’t healthy.”

While our source says the pair have joint custody of their children Violet, 12, Seraphina, 9, Samuel, 6, Jen retains physical custody — and she will use that to keep him in line if she has to. “If Ben shows any signs of partaking in his old vices, he’s going to pay a hefty price as far as time with the kids is concerned,” they explained. “She still doesn’t fully trust him.”

For more on this story, pick up the latest issue of In Touch Weekly, on newsstands now!

Have a tip? Send it to us! Email In Touch at