Ben Affleck’s announcement that he’s been treated for alcohol addiction is not a surprise.
The 44-year-old actor-director has struggled with sobriety off and on over the years, just as his father did before him.
Affleck posted a note on Facebook Tuesday saying he had sought help for a problem he’s “dealt with in the past and will continue to confront” because he wants to live “life to the fullest and be the best father I can be.”
Indeed, this isn’t the first time Affleck has sought help. In a lengthy 2012 cover story in The Hollywood Reporter, the Cambridge native said he’d gone to rehab in 2001.
“I went to rehab for being 29 and partying too much and not having a lot of boundaries and to clear my head and try to get some idea of who I wanted to be,” Affleck said. “It was more a ‘let me get myself straight,’ before it became a rite of passage.”
At the time, Affleck’s publicist confirmed he had spent 30 days at Promises Treatment Center in Malibu to deal with an alcohol problem.
“Ben is a self-aware and smart man who has decided that a fuller life awaits him without alcohol,” his rep told People magazine in 2001. “He is committed to traveling to a healthier road with the support of his family, friends and fans.”
While promoting “Argo” in 2012, Affleck spoke to Barbara Walters about his parents’ divorce and his father’s battle with the bottle.
“[My father] was an alcoholic. . . . I did know that as a child. He drank a lot. My father was a — what did they call him — a real alcoholic. He, you know, drank all day, drank every day, and to his credit, he got sober ultimately,” Affleck said. “He’s been sober for several decades, which I think is pretty impressive.”
Questions about Affleck’s sobriety have arisen periodically in recent months, with some wondering if it might be at least one of the reasons he and Jennifer Garner split in 2015 after 10 years of marriage. In his Facebook post Tuesday, the Oscar winner referred to Garner as a “co-parent,” suggesting that the couple, who have three children, may still be headed for divorce despite recent stories suggesting they’re attempting to reconcile.
In June 2016, Affleck did behave oddly during an appearance on Bill Simmons’s now-canceled HBO show, “Any Given Wednesday.” Talking about Patriots QB Tom Brady and the Deflategate saga, Affleck seemed angry and slightly unhinged during a rant that included multiple F-bombs. After some speculated on Twitter that Affleck may have been drunk, Simmons responded, albeit obliquely, by saying the segment had been taped in the morning, so, you know, no.
BTW - we taped AGW in the late-AM, Ben got fired up about DeflateGate during the convo, that's it.— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) June 23, 2016
Then in January, the New York Post published pictures of Affleck walking in Los Angeles with a woman later identified as Elizabeth Weaver, founder of Concierge Nursing Care, a company whose website offers “in-home detox support . . . 24 hr medical in-home detox care and sober companion support for patients recovering from addiction.”
Going forward, Affleck has plenty to keep him busy. Although his last film, “Live by Night,” was a box-office bomb — it cost $65 million to make, but grossed just $10 million — Affleck is set to direct and star in a movie based on Agatha Christie’s play “Witness for the Prosecution,” and he’s committed to playing Batman in “The Batman,” “Justice League,” and “Justice League Part Two.”