Article Nov 05, 2016

You are no longer passing

Jennifer Garner: 'Family is the most important thing in life'

Jennifer Garner's family members go way beyond blood relatives.

The 44-year-old actress has three children with her estranged husband Ben Affleck, 10-year-old Violet, seven-year-old Seraphina and four-year-old Samuel. But when it comes to considering her relatives, Jennifer's inner circle goes way beyond her former spouse, children, parents and siblings.

“Family is the most important thing you could possibly have," she told People magazine. "But family isn’t just your mother, father, sisters, brothers, kids, aunts, uncles, when I go home to West Virginia, I go and see my family. And that is my ballet teacher, I go and see my best friend from growing up, her mom, I visited her in the nursing home, and I took my son and we went and saw her, just as if she were my mom. She’s so important to me.

"Family is somebody who has just reached outside of themselves over and over to help you and make your life better and with great patience as you have been in enormous pain and I have had a lot of people who have been very patient with me. So I see family as just an extension of yourself, however that may fall in your life."

Jennifer was speaking to the magazine after being named one of their 25 Women Changing the World, alongside Save the Children CEO Carolyn Miles. The former Alias star is now a trustee of the non-profit organisation, and considers her position as a mother to have dramatically influenced her philanthropic pursuits.

"(I don't) think you need to be a mother to connect to other mothers, (but) becoming a mother just automatically crosses any boundary you might have with another woman," she said. "It’s like joining this huge, enormous global club. When you see somebody struggling, you instantly think, ‘Well, that could be me.'"

The actress has also learned a lot from working alongside Carolyn, who she also counts as a friend, and has adopted the same hands-on approach as her businesswoman pal.

And it's this outlook that Jennifer credits for the success of her work with the organisation.

"I don’t see myself as someone who’s an expert on poverty in rural America or who has a business degree and should be on a board of a huge organisation like Save (the Children). But I do understand tackling a problem. And I do understand just diving in,” she added.