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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 July, 2003, 08:33 GMT 09:33 UK
J-Lo and Affleck dodge wedding queries

By Peter Bowes in Hollywood

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, in case you have not heard, are planning to get married. They also have a new movie to promote.

The pair star together in Gigli - a dark romantic comedy about a hapless hitman. Early reviews have been less than enthusiastic although the film is almost certain to enjoy a healthy first-weekend at the box office.

They fell in love while they were making the movie although their relationship was not made public until filming was completed.

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez
Affleck and Lopez star in Gigli together
For months their every move together has been subjected to intense media scrutiny.

Titbits of Ben and Jen gossip are a staple diet of the tabloids.

They hardly need the publicity, but thanks to a contractual obligation to promote the film, Hollywood's number one power couple have been subjecting themselves to a relentless round of media interviews.

The venue was an up-market Beverly Hills hotel.

The couple were to be interviewed separately - a US TV network got the exclusive in the only chat with them together.

Both stars - contrary to all the reports about diva-like behaviour by Lopez - were extraordinarily friendly and relaxed.

Jennifer Lopez
Lopez is a singer as well as an actress
But each expressed a sense of frustration that their private lives were such a hot topic with the press.

"I can be rude about it but that's not my style," said Lopez.

"So I just answer the questions - there's nothing we can do. We try as much as we can to talk about the film and do our jobs as actors and our responsibility to the studios that we have to promote the movie."

Affleck said he regretted the extent to which all the wedding gossip was overshadowing the release of Gigli.

"I would like to be able to be an actor and have nothing about my life, that isn't involved in the movies, be out there in the press for my own selfish reasons," he said.

"I think it does a disservice to the movies - increasingly, publicity about releases becomes so closely intertwined with people's private lives that it makes it very difficult to separate the two.

"I hope people don't carry too much baggage when they go and see this movie. I hope they can just enjoy it and forget about all the tabloid stuff."

Ben Affleck
Affleck co-starred in Oscar-winning Good Will Hunting
"I think it takes away some of the mystery and the magic of what the movies used to be," added Lopez.

"I remember even 10 or 15 years ago watching movies and just not knowing anything about the actors - very famous actors who were in movies.

"It was so much better. You just go in there and enjoy the movie for what it is and I think that the audience today is robbed of that."

Their romance is said to have blossomed during the filming of Gigli.

At the time, Lopez was still married to Cris Judd, a former backing dancer with the singer.

Both Ben and Jennifer are coy about revealing the precise moment they started to fall in love, although Affleck knows the intrigue will help sell tickets for the movie.

"Probably people will go looking to see whether or not, you know, 'did they hit it off here or what was the chemistry like?' - and it's just overshadowed by a bunch of stuff that has nothing to do with the movie."

'A nice living'

Affleck also acknowledges that, historically, films featuring actors that are romantically linked to their co-stars tend to fail.

"It seems like I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't," he says.

"I suppose it helps in some ways and it also hurts in other ways.

"I'm a big boy, I make a nice living I have a lot of opportunities so I have very little to complain about," he added.

The selling of cheap imitations of stars' clothes or jewellery is common practice - especially around Oscars time.

The current flavour of the month product is a $39 (£24) replica of J-Lo's pink engagement ring that is being sold on the internet.

"It's just people I guess trying to make money - there's nothing you can do about it," said Lopez.

Wedding date

"All this other stuff is not my business - and I think that's where it gets confusing too and is kind of sad for the public as well because they might have a perception that this is all us.

"It's not - what we do is the acting.

"When you balance it, at the end of the day I'm still very happy and very grateful that I'm able to get up everyday and do what I love doing," she said.

So, what about the wedding - when is it happening?

"Do you think you are the first person that's asked me that today?" said Lopez, with a giggle.

"We are not letting anybody know when we are getting married - we're going to keep that as private as we can as far as we can."

However, unlike other recent Hollywood weddings, Lopez said they would not be going all out with security measures to completely foil the press or fans.

"I wouldn't mind if the fans were out there at all, it's when the paparazzi start chasing you in cars and stuff that it becomes uncomfortable.

"But even with that stuff I'm not going to obsess over it and have like five million security guards and try to get helicopters out of the air - we're just not going to deal with it, we're just going to have our day," she said.


One more try. The wedding date?

Affleck smiled.

"You haven't received your invitation, I guess?"

No Ben.

"That's a shame," he laughed.

"It's in Namibia on November 15th. So you go ahead and fly on down and we'll see you there."

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