Resurfaced JLo And Ben Affleck Interview Will Give You Deja Vu As Lopez Shares Name Change And Other Plans 19 Years Before It Happened

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck in Gigli.
(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

Is the fact that Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck were engaged again proof that we are living in a 20 year time loop? Maybe not since they actually got married this time, but it sure does bring up some major déjà vu, and fans of the couple are still pretty darn excited. What's even more nostalgic is the recently resurfaced first interview with both JLo and Affleck from almost two decades ago, in which they are talking about their OG marriage plans. 

First, Jennifer Lopez was “JLo,” then she became one half of the fondly named “Beniffer” when she was dating Ben Affleck the first go-around. In Lopez and Affleck’s very first, exclusive interview together with Pat O’Brien (via NBC News), the pop star-turned-actress was asked what her name would be upon marrying Affleck. Here is how that conversation went:

  • Lopez: What do you think my name will be? Am I going change it professionally you mean? No. I think I’m going stay with Jennifer Lopez. But my name will be Jennifer Affleck obviously”
  • O’Brien: So what will your stationary say?
  • Lopez: Jennifer Affleck.
  • O’Brien: J.A. That’s J-Aff.
  • Lopez: It doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. but you gotta make sacrifices. [laughter]
  • O’Brien: Actually Jennifer Affleck’s a good name.
  • Lopez: It’s not bad. It’s not bad. I’ll take it.

It sounds like back in 2003, Jennifer Lopez was planning to take Ben Affleck’s last name, and it’s very possible it would have earned her another nickname of “J.A.” if the wedding had actually happened. Now that the two have headed off to Vegas and tied the knot almost 20 years later, JLo has indeed legally changed her last name to Affleck per the marriage certificate filing. She also announced the marriage with a signoff of the name in her newsletter (via Page Six). 

Changing her last name makes sense given that Jennifer Lopez has said that her relationship with Ben Affleck is more “fulfilling” than her Hollywood career. That being said, I still would think she would keep Lopez as her professional name, even now that she has proven she is a mainstay in Hollywood. 

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck were the “it” couple back in the early 2000s, and it seemed like every press outlet had coverage of their comings and goings. In fact, Lopez has been open about how the tabloids and press were relentless during their first go at a union. In the same interview, Lopez explained that the wedding the couple was planning wouldn’t try to hide from the press. Here is what she said exactly:

No. Is not to make it the biggest secret in the world, you know what I mean? If people want to be outside and they want to take our picture, then okay. You know, we’re not going to, you know, be with 24 million security guards that are right there. We want to just be like— have a nice wedding. We want to have it be a beautiful day about what it’s about. And if there happen to be cameras outside then that’s fine, you know. We’re not going to obsess over them.

I don’t think there could have been a nicer person about being hounded day and night by paparazzi, an experience that stuck with JLo enough to put it in a film. Jennifer Lopez sounds so sweet, though it does come off as though she was more than a little concerned that her wedding day was going to end up a chaotic sideshow due everyone trying to get a piece of the couple on their big day. 

While Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck didn’t have a big affair when they finally did get married just this past weekend, they were thankfully able to keep the ceremony more or less on the down-low. The marriage was certainly a long time coming, and we’ll just have to see if what the original interview suggested is true: that JLo will end up going by the J.A. nickname.

Carlie Hoke
Content Writer

Constantly thinking about books, coffee, and the existential dread I feel from Bo Burnham’s Inside.  While writing I’m also raising a chaotic toddler, who may or may not have picked up personality traits from watching one too many episodes of Trailer Park Boys.