Ben Affleck is still angry at the negative media coverage surrounding his and Jennifer Lopez's box office flop Gigli, insisting it was over the top.
The actors dated for two years after meeting on the set of the 2003 film, but the movie was savaged by critics and bombed at the box office, and the panned project has continued to haunt Ben ever since.
He addressed the criticism leveled at both the movie and the then-couple during a TimesTalks event in New York on Monday (12Dec16), when he insisted the press was unfair in the special attention it paid Gigli's failure simply because of his highly-publicized romance with Jennifer.
"It could have been a bad movie no one cared about. Angelina Jolie had a bad movie that year and no one cared," he explained, referencing her little-known romantic drama Beyond Borders. "But it was because I was dating Jennifer Lopez that made it a big f**king deal. So not only was it just a bad movie but 'they dated each other.'"
Ben went on to recall one particular example of how exaggerated the reporting of the film's flop had been.
"There was a reporter doing stand-up in front of the theater that Friday morning (upon Gigli's release), (saying), 'Here I am outside of Gigli, and as you can see, no one is here in line,'" he said. "I was like, 'What is this, hurricane coverage?'"
Ben and Jennifer became engaged after a four-month romance, but ended up calling off the relationship in 2004.
He went on to marry Jennifer Garner, his co-star in Pearl Harbor and Daredevil, another box office bomb, but they separated after their 10th wedding anniversary last year (15).
The former couple has remained close for the sake of its three children, and despite their split, Ben insists becoming a dad will always be his proudest achievement.
"In my career or otherwise, it is the birth of my children," he smiled when asked to reflect on the highlights of his life. "The entrance of my children into the world. It's a joy to hang out with them. I think the meaning of life is to make good people."
Heaping praise on his estranged wife, he added, "(Jennifer is) the greatest mum in the world."