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Last Updated: Friday, 23 January, 2004, 13:44 GMT
Lopez and Affleck's final farewell

by Emma Saunders
BBC News Online entertainment staff

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck
Lopez and Affleck have gained huge press interest

Celebrity couple Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck have finally called off their engagement following months of intense media speculation. BBC News Online looks back at their much-watched relationship.

The Hollywood love affair immediately caught the public's imagination after the A-list pair met on the set of ill-fated film Gigli two years ago.

Lopez, a chart-topping singer and star of films including Maid in Manhattan and Out of Sight, has been married twice before and also had a relationship with rapper P-Diddy.

And while Oscar-winning Affleck has never married, he previously dated high-profile actress Gwyneth Paltrow and has hit headlines for his lavish lifestyle.

The couple were soon dubbed "Ben and Jen" or "Bennifer" by the media, which scrutinised their every move.

It became the world's biggest celebrity romance, prompting a fascination similar to that prompted by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in the 1960s.

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez
Their film, Gigli, was slated by many critics
But Lopez and Affleck soon realised there was a downside to the media frenzy, blaming the press for the cancellation of their wedding just days before it was due to take place in California last year.

"Due to the excessive media attention surrounding our wedding, we have decided to postpone the date," they said in a joint statement.

"When we found ourselves seriously contemplating hiring three separate 'decoy brides' at three different locations, we realised that something was awry," the statement added.

Cynics suggested it was just an attempt to trick the paparazzi and suggested the wedding would take place elsewhere.

But if the couple were hoping the media circus would die down, they soon found the move had quite the opposite effect.

Some news agencies said the couple had split for good, while The Sun newspaper quoted a friend as saying "it's all over" because "Ben got cold feet".

Ben Affleck
Affleck won an Oscar for Good Will Hunting
The pair initially confounded media speculation by appearing in public together less than two weeks after calling off the wedding.

And only last week, Affleck appeared on Channel 4's Richard And Judy show, saying: "We don't need to feed into what had become a frenzy beyond our control. So why not take our time with it?"

Affleck is now arguably more famous for his affair with Lopez than for his acting.

Gigli, in which he starred with his former lover, was a huge flop and is tipped to sweep the boards at the lighthearted Razzie awards for bad movies next month.

And his latest film Paycheck has picked up some poor reviews in the US.

Perhaps his next film will fare better although he may not be feeling too optimistic - Jersey Girl also stars his former fiancée.

Lopez and Affleck split confirmed
23 Jan 04  |  Entertainment
Odds offered on Lopez to divorce
29 Dec 03  |  Entertainment
Lopez and Affleck back in public
24 Sep 03  |  Entertainment
Gigli's bad omen
26 Sep 03  |  Entertainment

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