Behind the scenes of Affleck-Garner split

Ben Affleck (right) and Jennifer Garner arrive on the red carpet for the 85th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California.
Ben Affleck (right) and Jennifer Garner arrive on the red carpet for the 85th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California.PHOTO: AFP

New York - Just a week after Hollywood couple Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner announced their plans to divorce, People magazine published the first post-split paparazzi photos of the actors on a family holiday in the Bahamas.

In the pictures posted on Monday, Affleck, 42, is still wearing his wedding ring as he sits on the steps to a beach with Garner, 43.

The report quoted a witness as saying the couple, who have three children, had a "serious" discussion on the steps for a few minutes and "no physical contact".

The magazine said the actors had turned up separately at Baker's Bay, a resort where the family has a place, before they made their split announcement on June 30.

What is the story behind the photos, however? In an expose on Tuesday, New York magazine reported on the planning that goes into a celebrity divorce announcement.

Former publicist Rob Shuter, who worked for singer Jennifer Lopez during her split with Affleck in 2004, told the magazine: "What happens when celebrities decide they are pulling the plug is that they'll call their PR teams and the two different publicists - hers and his - will get on a telephone call and negotiate a statement."

People magazine would be the first choice for breaking a split story and the unwritten rule was that the magazine would then do the exclusive post-split interview, Shuter said.

The Affleck-Garner divorce was announced after about a month of rumours, including reports of moving vans spotted near the couple's home in Pacific Palisades, California. People magazine published the photos of the vans on June 21, but said the actors were renovating the house.

Mr Shuter said it was "interesting that the outlet that ignored the rumours for weeks got the post-split photo exclusive".

Now a television host, he also discussed staged paparazzi shoots. "Even Princess Diana was not above this," he said. Months before she separated from Prince Charles in 1992, "she went to the most romantic building in the world, the Taj Mahal, and cried on a bench by herself in front of the press".

Mr Shuter's former clients included singer Jessica Simpson, a former girlfriend of paparazzi magnet John Mayer. "Nobody likes the press as much as John Mayer does," Shuter said.

"The only time we ever got to see Jennifer Aniston out was when she was dating him and he used to march her from La Esquina to his apartment, and that was for blocks. "That girl never, ever gave photographs and, suddenly, there's literally a marching press corps that's following her down the street."

Mr Shuter said Mayer's publicist was "aggressive" about the singer getting more press and magazine covers. "Which he wasn't until he started dating Jessica. After that, my goodness, he just dated celebrities constantly."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 09, 2015, with the headline 'Behind the scenes of Affleck-Garner split'. Print Edition | Subscribe