Ben Affleck Says He Has Been Taking Antidepressants Since Age 26: 'They're Very Helpful for Me'
Part 2 of Ben Affleck's interview on Good Morning America with Diane Sawyer aired on Friday
Ben Affleck is opening up further about his mental health.
In the second part of an interview with Diane Sawyer for Good Morning America, which aired Friday, the 47-year-old actor and filmmaker reveals he has been taking antidepressants for more than 20 years.
“I get depressed. I take antidepressants. They’re very helpful for me,” Affleck says. “I’ve taken them since I was 26 years old, various different kinds. I’ve switched and tried this and tried that. Sometimes they won’t tell you about some awful side effect and you’ll come back and say, ‘Why am I 60 pounds heavier?’ ”
“And [the doctor says], ‘Oh, well you put on a little weight.’ And it’s like, ‘Oh, well thanks!’ ” adds The Way Back actor with a smile.
The revelation is part of a deep-dive talk in which the star discusses his struggles with alcohol, the “plenty of mistakes” he feels he has made and his divorce from Jennifer Garner, with whom he shares three children: Samuel Garner, 8 this month, Seraphina Rose Elizabeth, 11, and Violet Anne, 14.
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The two-time Oscar winner admits he has “regrets” both big and small that he “would love to go back and change” if he could.
“I’d like to find some sort of sense of meaning and purpose. I was not raised religious — I’m not a very good Christian, although I go to church with my kids because it was important to Jennifer, and now I go too and I like it quite a bit,” Affleck tells Sawyer, 74.
As for what he’d want people to say about him in 2025, the actor says, ” Five years from now, ‘Ben Affleck is sober and happy and sees his kids three and a half days a week, and has made three or four movies that are interesting to him, directed two that he’s hopefully proud of … and is in a healthy, stable, loving, committed relationship.’ ”
“I really set myself up for that one, didn’t I? Better make it now,” Affleck quips.
In The Way Back, Affleck plays Jack Cunningham, a former basketball-star-turned-coach who struggles with alcoholism — a role that he went up to 245 lbs. for to fit the part of “a guy who drinks a case of beer a day.”
“I just let it go, like totally let it go, like a gallon of ice cream at midnight watching like, headline news or Unsolved Murders or something,” the actor said during a Q&A for the film in Atlanta on Wednesday, pointing out that addiction comes in many forms: “The issue of addiction is a real and serious problem in our society and I was glad to kind of take that on and address it but not in a way that was sermonizing and lecturing and all that because nobody wants to see that.”
Affleck has since gone back down to 210 lbs. and, during the Q&A, called the role “the most satisfying performance experience of my life,” adding that it was “interesting” to play a character who “dealt with an addiction to alcohol, and that’s something that I have dealt with.”
The Way Back hits theaters on March 6.