Ben Affleck calls Jennifer Garner divorce 'the biggest regret of my life'

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Ben Affleck is opening up about getting sober and coming to terms with his divorce from Jennifer Garner in a raw new interview for the New York Times.

"The biggest regret of my life is this divorce," the 47-year-old actor, writer and director says of his 2015 separation and eventual divorce from Garner, which was finalized in October 2018. The Pearl Harbor and Daredevil co-stars were married in 2005 and have three children.

Affleck tells the paper that his drinking contributed to the split, which in turn led to more alcohol abuse in what he describes as a "vicious cycle".

"People with compulsive behaviour, and I am one, have this kind of basic discomfort all the time that they're trying to make go away," he tells the paper. "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. Then you do more of it to make that discomfort go away. Then the real pain starts. It becomes a vicious cycle you can't break. That's at least what happened to me.

"I drank relatively normally for a long time," he continues. "What happened was that I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart. This was 2015, 2016. My drinking, of course, created more marital problems."

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LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 19: Ben Affleck is seen on March 19, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 25: Ben Affleck is seen on February 25, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 27: Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck are seen on February 27, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 03: Ben Affleck is seen on February 03, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 28: Ben Affleck is seen on January 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 27: Ben Affleck is seen on January 27, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 23: Ben Affleck seen out and about in Manhatttan on January 23, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Robert Kamau/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 22: Ben Affleck is seen in the Upper West Side on January 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 21: Ben Affleck and Lindsay Shookus enjoy coffee while holding hands on January 21, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 08: Ben Affleck is seen on January 08, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 13: Ben Affleck attends the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' 'Justice League' on November 13, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/ WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 17: Ben Affleck and Lindsay Shookus are seen on November 17, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Robert Kamau/GC Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 16: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and guest Ben Affleck during Thursday's November 16, 2017 show. (Photo by Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 16: Ben Affleck departs Ed Sullivan Theater after his taping of 'The Late Show With Stephen Colbert 'on November 16, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Karl Moor/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 14: Ben Affleck seen at JFK Airport on November 14, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Robert Kamau/GC Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 13: Ben Affleck arrives at the Premiere Of Warner Bros. Pictures' 'Justice League' at Dolby Theatre on November 13, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 27: Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck are seen on February 27, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 25: Ben Affleck is seen on February 25, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 25: Ben Affleck is seen on February 25, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 21: Ben Affleck is seen on February 21, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 15: Ben Affleck is seen on February 15, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by PG/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 15: Ben Affleck is seen on February 15, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 14: Ben Affleck is seen arriving at 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' on February 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 14: Ben Affleck is seen at 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' on February 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by RB/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 08: Ben Affleck is seen on February 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 08: Ben Affleck is seen on February 08, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 05: Ben Affleck is seen on February 05, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 24: Ben Affleck is seen on January 24, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 24: Ben Affleck is seen on January 24, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 24: Ben Affleck is seen on January 24, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 22: Ben Affleck is seen on January 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 20: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are seen on January 20, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 20: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are seen on January 20, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 20: Ben Affleck is seen on January 20, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 18: Ben Affleck is seen on January 18, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 18: Ben Affleck is seen on January 18, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 18: Ben Affleck is seen on January 18, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 16: Ben Affleck is seen on January 16, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 15: Ben Affleck is seen on January 15, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 11: Ben Affleck is seen on January 11, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by BG004/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
TOPSHOT - 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Doctor Denis Mukwege (L) shakes hands with US Actor Ben Affleck (R) as he prepares to leave, following a meeting, at the Panzi hospital, in Bukavu, on December 29, 2018. - Denis Mukwege is a crusading gynaecologist who has spent more than two decades treating appalling injuries inflicted on women in the DRC. (Photo by Fredrik Lerneryd / AFP) (Photo credit should read FREDRIK LERNERYD/AFP/Getty Images)
2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Doctor Denis Mukwege (L) hughs US Actor Ben Affleck (R) as he prepares to leave, following a meeting, at the Panzi hospital, in Bukavu, on December 29, 2018. - Denis Mukwege is a crusading gynaecologist who has spent more than two decades treating appalling injuries inflicted on women in the DRC. (Photo by Fredrik Lerneryd / AFP) (Photo credit should read FREDRIK LERNERYD/AFP/Getty Images)
US Actor Ben Affleck (L) and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Doctor Denis Mukwege (R) speak to the press following a meeting at the Panzi hospital, in Bukavu, on December 29, 2018. - Denis Mukwege is a crusading gynaecologist who has spent more than two decades treating appalling injuries inflicted on women in the DRC. (Photo by Fredrik Lerneryd / AFP) (Photo credit should read FREDRIK LERNERYD/AFP/Getty Images)
US Actor Ben Affleck (L) and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Doctor Denis Mukwege (R) speak to the press following a meeting at the Panzi hospital, in Bukavu, on December 29, 2018. - Denis Mukwege is a crusading gynaecologist who has spent more than two decades treating appalling injuries inflicted on women in the DRC. (Photo by Fredrik Lerneryd / AFP) (Photo credit should read FREDRIK LERNERYD/AFP/Getty Images)
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The Oscar winner sought treatment for alcoholism in 2017 and again in 2018 after a widely publiciszed relapse, in which Garner herself was photographed driving him to a treatment facility. Last autumn, he admitted to another "slip", but vowed to not let it "derail" his commitment to sobriety.

"It's not particularly healthy for me to obsess over the failures — the relapses — and beat myself up," he says. "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."

Affleck is speaking out about the "vicious cycle" of substance abuse. (Photo: Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

Those regrets include falling off the wagon.

"Relapse is embarrassing, obviously," he admits. "I wish it didn't happen. I really wish it wasn't on the internet for my kids to see. Jen and I did our best to address it and be honest."

The interview also sees the Argo star addressing his father's own history with alcoholism, as well as his "gratitude" to "very supportive" peers like Bradley Cooper and Robert Downey Jr., who have also gone sober.

"One of the things about recovery that I think people sometimes overlook is the fact that it inculcates certain values," he muses. "Be honest. Be accountable. Help other people. Apologise when you're wrong.

"It took me a long time to fundamentally, deeply, without a hint of doubt, admit to myself that I am an alcoholic," he also says in the piece. "The next drink will not be different."

Affleck's drinking has influenced his career, including passing on The Batman and paving the way for Robert Pattinson to take over as the Caped Crusader.

"I showed somebody The Batman script," Affleck says. "They said, 'I think the script is good. I also think you'll drink yourself to death if you go through what you just went through again."

Affleck addressed his alcoholism and infamous back tattoo in an interview with the New York Times. (Photo: Jorge Sanz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

He was instead drawn to his latest film,The Way Back, in which he plays a basketball coach battling addiction and a ruined marriage — a strikingly relatable role he found "very therapeutic". Director Gavin O'Connor tells the Times that the film includes a powerful moment in which Affleck's character apologizes to his ex-wife (played by Janina Gavankar) for letting their marriage down, a scene that reportedly prompted the actor to have a "total breakdown" afterward.

Elsewhere in the interview, Affleck is asked about the trial of former Miramax collaborator Harvey Weinstein trial — "I don't know that I have anything to really add or say that hasn't been said already and better by people who have been personally victimized or who are survivors of what he did," he responds — and addresses his past claim that his large, colorful, very real phoenix tattoo on his back was just for a film role.

"I resented that somebody got a picture of it by spying on me," he says of pretending the tattoo was fake. "It felt invasive. But you're right. I could have said, 'That's none of your business.' I guess I got a kick out of messing with Extra. Is your tattoo real or not real? Of course, it's real! No, I put a fake tattoo on my back and then hid it."

- This article first appeared on Yahoo

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