Ben & Jen: It's a Girl!
They're a family! Less than six months after their June 29 wedding, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner (pictured earlier) welcomed a baby girl Thursday night in Los Angeles. The child's sex came as no surprise: Garner had slipped the secret on the Tonight Show this fall.
Until mid-November – her nine-month mark – Garner was a working mom-to-be. But she wrapped up her Alias duty (in comfort, thanks to flats and slippers) and started maternity leave before spending the Thanksgiving holiday with her husband and family in L.A. "She needs to put up her feet," a source said at the time.
"I'm getting bigger and bigger and bigger and he's getting skinnier and skinnier,'" the actress told Martha Stewart about Affleck. "He's being super-duper healthy right now." But throughout her pregnancy, the two made frequent Starbucks runs, and at a Boston Red Sox game, both noshed on hot dogs. "I definitely have indulged," Garner, 33, said.
At the Emmys, Affleck joined his wife backstage before the two headed home for a quiet night. They're "so ready to be parents," said her Alias costar Greg Grunberg. And his good friend director Kevin Smith already has Affleck pegged: “Ben will be a phenomenal father."
"It's too sweet to read about or dissect or talk about," Garner (at the Shelter from the Storm Hurricane Katrina benefit) told In Style about her marriage and pregnancy. Still, this summer, her hometown of Charleston, W. Va., threw a very public baby shower for the private star (who didn't attend) and donated all 400 gifts to a nonprofit group.
When Garner, three months pregnant at the time, debuted her diamond eternity band, her parents were thrilled: "They had their fingers crossed," a pal of the actress told PEOPLE. "They really love Ben." The marriage – on June 29 – is a first for Affleck, who previously was engaged to Jennifer Lopez, and second for Garner, who is divorced from actor Scott Foley.
The couple stayed close even while Garner filmed in Vancouver. Affleck joined her in Canada, keeping up their typical coffee dates while she shot the romantic comedy Catch and Release. "Jennifer is very down-to-earth, much more like him (than Lopez)," says an Affleck friend. "They're more like-minded."
When did Affleck pop the question? It's unclear, but buzz escalated as Garner's April 17 birthday approached. The day before she turned 33, she and Affleck celebrated at her Brentwood, Calif., home with his brother and her parents, sister and Alias costar Victor Garber. A friend said at the time, "This is going to be a very secret wedding. They (don't) want to create another whole frenzy."
The laid-back couple had their domestic routine down just a few months into their relationship. A normal date? Shopping at the local Brentwood grocery, grabbing coffee at Starbucks and reading the newspaper. But on Valentine's Day, it was all about romance when Garner serenaded her sweetie with two love songs.
By November, Affleck – jokingly hiding from the paparazzi – had bought a 4,500-sq.-ft., five-bedroom country-style house just two miles from Garner's home. And the couple spent their first Thanksgiving with his mom Chris in L.A. and Christmas with her family in West Virginia. Affleck's holiday gift to Garner: a pair of diamond earrings.
There was no hiding their affection when Garner visited Affleck in Vancouver while he filmed the comedy Man About Town. Between takes on one visit, a source says, the two "were smiling and holding each other. ... They looked really happy, looking into each other's eyes."
The couple – first spotted looking cozy over Labor Day weekend at a Starbucks (where else?) near his vacation home in Georgia – took their romance public with a nod to his first love, the Boston Red Sox. The two snuggled at the first two games of the 2004 World Series and spent the weekend lying low at his mom's house.
How it all began: After filming 2003's Daredevil together, "I did miss him," Garner told the Sydney Daily Telegraph. "I missed his advice." Since reconnecting on the set of her movie Elektra in August 2004, she's had him all to herself. They're "like high school sweethearts," says a source. "They're very lovey-dovey."