Ben Affleck on His Bond with Matt Damon: My 'Sanity and Mental Health Has Really Benefited'
In Damon's new GQ profile, Affleck talks about the impact their relationship has had on his mental health throughout their years together in the public eye.
"I can't speak for Matt," Affleck, 49, said, "but my own kind of sanity and mental health really benefited from having someone who I grew up with and knew as a child who was also going through something similar—this 20-year-plus journey of being in the public eye—who I could reflect on it with honestly, talk things over with, be myself with, who I knew why we were friends, why he was interested and loved me, why I loved him."
"I often think of people who just become successful and then get thrust into this, and I think, 'How do they do it without having somebody that they can talk to? Who they can trust? Who knew them before?' It's just been such an asset to me—and, I think, I hope, to Matt—this relationship that we've had," Affleck added.
It seems Damon, 50, feels the same, as he's careful to keep their bond the same as it was back in the day.
"Like, I don't want to be his friend in public, you know what I mean?" Damon said. "It's way too important a friendship for that, and it goes so beyond this career or anything. You know, it's a significant part of my life and not for public consumption in that way."
The duo's friendship was cemented the moment they broke into Hollywood together with Good Will Hunting, which made them the youngest people to win the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
The 1997 film, which the two childhood friends co-wrote and subsequently starred in, also led to Damon's first Oscar nomination for acting. In the profile, Damon opened up about crying on the very first day of filming Good Will Hunting, while Robin Williams and Stellan Skarsgård shot a scene together.
"Sometimes those moments sneak up on you," Damon told the outlet. "And that was another one of those moments we never thought was going to arrive. To see not only actors, but those actors, saying the stuff that we wrote, was like…f---."
He continued, "Just, I guess, a mixture of joy and disbelief. And relief. And gratitude. That would probably be it. That was a really nice moment. I'm not ashamed to say it."
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He also recalled Affleck breaking down. "I remember him as crying," he said. "Now, memory is a funny thing, as we know, so you would have to ask him, but my recollection is we both were. Yeah. I think, as I recall, I put my hand on his arm, as these guys were talking. On his shoulder. Like: 'Holy s---…'"
Affleck confirmed Damon's memory — "We both cried," he told GQ.
When asked whether he was surprised by his friend's tears, the Gone Girl actor said he knew Damon was "emotional."
"No, it didn't surprise me at all to see Matt crying. It surprised me a little bit to be crying along with him, but maybe he felt that way about me," he said.