Affleck and Garner 'separated for months before she heard of nanny'

Jennifer Garner.
Jennifer Garner.

LOS ANGELES • On the eve of the all-eyes-on-Hollywood Oscars weekend, actress Jennifer Garner broke her silence on her divorce from Academy Award winner Ben Affleck and the scandal involving their three children's nanny.

Garner and Affleck, both 43, announced their break-up in June last year, a day after their 10th wedding anniversary. A month later came tabloid reports, which he denied, on his affair with the nanny, Christine Ouzounian, 28.

In an interview with Vanity Fair magazine, which was released online last Friday, Garner said: "Let me just tell you something. We had been separated for months before I ever heard about the nanny. She had nothing to do with our decision to divorce. She was not a part of the equation."

But she said of Affleck's alleged involvement with Ouzounian, who has since left the family: "Bad judgment? Yes. It's not great for your kids for (a nanny) to disappear from their lives. I have had to have conversations about the meaning of 'scandal'."

Describing the break-up, Garner said she had a "year of wine". She became temporary roommates with her daughter, Violet, 10, and when she could not sleep, she would watch television on her phone, including comics Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

But Affleck remains "the love of my life", Garner said.

The couple had eloped to the Caribbean territory of Turks and Caicos, where actor Victor Garber - whom Garner has been close to since he played her father on the television series Alias - officiated at their seaside wedding.

The actress told Vanity Fair: "I didn't marry the big fat movie star; I married him. And I would go back and remake that decision. I ran down the beach to him and I would again."

She said of her estranged husband: "He's the most brilliant person in any room, the most charismatic, the most generous. He's just a complicated guy. I always say, 'When his sun shines on you, you feel it.' But when the sun is shining elsewhere, it's cold. He can cast quite a shadow."

She is in two movies this year, Miracles From Heaven and Wakefield. Affleck, who is in two Batman movies this year, has been photographed with what gossip pages have described as a mid-life- crisis tattoo, an enormous phoenix on his entire back.

Garner said: "A phoenix rising from the ashes. Am I the ashes in this scenario? I take umbrage. I refuse to be the ashes."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 29, 2016, with the headline 'Affleck and Garner 'separated for months before she heard of nanny''. Print Edition | Subscribe