Matt Damon says people started to form an inaccurate impression of Ben Affleck after his high-profile relationship with Jennifer Lopez

By Jodi Guglielmi
Updated September 30, 2015 03:00 PM
Credit: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

After all these years, Matt Damon still has Ben Affleck‘s back.

“There’s nobody who’s more misunderstood,” Damon told The Hollywood Reporter about his longtime BFF, who weathered a complicated split from wife Jennifer Garner this summer.

The Martian star says the media’s misperception of Affleck started early in his career, particularly after the Gone Girl actor’s high-profile relationship with Jennifer Lopez – and he’s been unfairly typecast in Hollywood ever since.

“Ten years ago, the public image of him could not have been farther apart from who he actually is,” he said. “It was like he was being cast in a role, that he was a talentless kind of meathead, with his whole relationship with Jennifer Lopez. He just got cast as this person that he wasn’t.”

Damon, 44, said watching his childhood friend suffer was hard.

“It was just really painful. It was painful to be his friend, because it wasn’t fair, you know? To my mind, nobody really got him at all.”

But he said that no matter what the media’s perception of his close friend might be, the one thing people shouldn’t do is discredit Affleck’s talent – and the work he has done to prove himself over the years.

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Damon even admits that Affleck’s career – which included a 2013 Best Picture Oscar for Argo – might just be more impressive than his own.

“Through his work, he climbed from the bottom of the mountain all the way back up to the top,” he said. “And past where either of us had ever been.”