As Ben Affleck once told Matt Damon, “I can sell magazines but I can’t sell films,” per ABC News. In the 2000s, the once sought-after star found himself in a career slump, gaining notoriety for his personal life as opposed to his acting work. These struggles had a profound effect on Affleck, whose self-esteem was diminished by being the target of a barrage of hate.
Speaking with the Los Angeles Times, he admitted to being hurt by the animosity he faced from both the public and the media, seeking therapy as a result. “I was really struggling,” he said. “People were just writing vicious, awful, hateful stuff about me all the time and it really started to affect me.” The star conceded in an interview with Playboy that he simply became an easy target, someone “people could kick around.” Chatting to Jimmy Kimmel for Men’s Journal, Affleck admitted that paparazzi intrusion spurred self-loathing, particularly when he would see unflattering snaps published without his consent. “You can’t help but be critical of yourself. … They try to pick the one where you look the most bloated and grotesque,” he said.
What upset Affleck in particular, however, was the scrutiny foisted upon his children. As he explained to Howard Stern, his kids were constantly targeted by the paps, which filled him with guilt, since he and his ex-wife, Jennifer Garner, had chosen an A-list lifestyle, whereas their kids didn’t. “I’ve already inflicted that on them,” Affleck confessed, adding, “That’s a cross to bear.”
If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.