This is when J-Lo and Ben will file for divorce

Insiders say Jen’s biding her time before accepting defeat

This is when J-Lo and Ben will file for divorce

by closer |
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When you’re a celebrity, you’re used to whacking on a smile – ensuring you look picture perfect at all times and from all angles, no matter what’s going on behind the scenes. But, by all accounts, that need to maintain a happy public image goes into overdrive when your personal life is in turmoil – and that’s something that, sadly, Jennifer Lopez knows all too well.

Last week, the performer put on her most ambitious show to date as she engaged in a series of public appearances with her husband Ben Affleck, amid reports that there’s no going back for the fractured pair. Stepping out with their blended family on several occasions, the famous couple ostensibly tried their best to put rumours to bed that they’re heading for divorce and are living separate lives – holding hands in front of the cameras, and even engaging in a supremely awkward cheek-to-cheek kiss.

But insiders say that their “candid” appearances are, in fact, hiding the sad truth that the couple are in talks regarding an “exit strategy”. But while Ben is apparently ready and waiting to sign on the dotted line, Jen’s hoping she can still somehow steer them back on course. She’s apparently giving herself the summer to do just that and, if she fails, she’s willing to accept defeat and end their marriage for good.

Jennifer Lopez
There is no going back for Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck ©Marc Piasecki/GC Images

“Jen is a genius when it comes to putting on a show for the cameras,” says an insider close to the 54 year old, who’s reportedly living alone in their $60m mansion in Los Angeles right now, while Ben, 51, is staying in a $100k-a-month rental nearby. “She’s trying hard not to be too pushy as she’s afraid to scare him off even more. Right now, the occasional staged outing is as much as he’s agreed to. The rest of the time, they’re in touch, but there’s not a whole lot of communication going on. Having this all play out in front of the world makes it even worse – she wants to try even harder and prove people wrong.”

Last week, in another huge career blow – after her album flopped earlier this year and her new Netflix film, Atlas, received scathing reviews – Jen announced she was cancelling her US Summer tour Tis Is Me…Live! Taking to her website, the singer said she was “taking time off to be with children, family and close friends,” adding, “Please know that I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t feel that it was absolutely necessary.” For somebody who’s poured everything into her career over the past three decades, taking the decision to take time off was – according to insiders – the biggest admission she could possibly make that her personal life is in crisis. Jen was understandably devastated to cancel the concerts, but, as far as she’s concerned, her crumbling marriage needs all the attention it can get if she has any hope of convincing Ben to stay wed. We’re told she knows she’s on borrowed time, and so she’s trying to talk things through with him now – with the understanding that their talks might well end in them hashing out a divorce.

“Jen left her decision to cancel the tour until the very last second,” says our source. “It was a very hard call to make. But this allows her the chance to spend more time with Ben. As long as no paperwork is actually filed, she’s still clinging to the possibility – however remote – that they’ll be able to work things out. And if they can’t, they’ll work on the terms of their exit strategy – like when they’ll go public with it all.”

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck
The strain has become increasingly hard for them to hide ©MEGA/GC Images

As news hit that she was cancelling her tour, Jen ostensibly did her best to quell reports that she and Ben were fully estranged. First, they held hands as they attended Ben’s 18-year-old daughter Violet’s graduation (he’s also dad to Fin, 15, and Samuel, 12) – before leaving in separate cars. Then, days later, they reunited again at Samuel’s basketball game, where they were pictured kissing on the cheek – in what has been described as an “awkward” and “platonic” display of forced affection. According to our source, neither Jen nor Ben wants to rock the boat when it comes to their blended families – as Jen’s children, Emme and Max, 16, whom she shares with ex-husband Marc Antony, are incredibly close to Ben’s children from his marriage to ex-wife Jennifer Garner. But while Ben is willing to put on a happy face when their children are in tow, he’s apparently got “two feet out the door” when it comes to his and Jen’s two-year marriage.

“The air kisses that Ben gave Jen when they met up for Samuel’s basketball game were a total slap in the face,” we’re told. “The way he’s going about it all is half-hearted, to say the least. Despite all the signs that Ben isn’t coming back, Jen’s clinging to hope that they could have a fresh start. She’s pleading with him to reconsider and is hoping for a Hail Mary, but it really isn’t looking good.”

It’s certainly a sad turn of events for the couple who’d previously defied all naysayers wrong with their Hollywood love story. Having first got engaged in 2002, they split in 2004 – reuniting 17 years later, before finally getting married in Las Vegas in 2022. But while they initially seemed to be the image of wedded bliss, things soon took a turn as they were frequently pictured looking fraught in public and even snapping at each other at A-list events. According to insiders, a massive stumbling block has been their differing attitudes to the public eye – while Jen revels in the limelight, and often uses her personal life as subject matter for her music, Ben prefers to keep his private life private. This conflict came to a boiling point earlier this year, after she put a spotlight on their marriage for her visual album, This Is Me…Now, and its accompanying, making-of documentary, The Greatest Love Story Never Told. But, unfortunately for Jen, it seems her efforts have backfired as her marriage has only suffered in the aftermath.

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck
The couple reunited after two decades apart ©Rich Fury/WireImage

Now, we’re told, she’s putting all that famed J-Lo determination into saving her marriage from disaster, but she’s on a deadline. If she can’t win Ben back around over the next few months, then she’ll have no other option but to accept defeat and accept divorce.

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