Jennifer Garner Has Girls' Night at Restaurant Where Ex Ben Affleck Took New Girlfriend Lindsay Shookus
Jennifer Garner's girls' night out took place at the same restaurant where ex-husband Ben Affleck recently had a date night with his new girlfriend
Jennifer Garner headed to a familiar spot for a girls’ night out.
The 45-year-old actress was spotted with girlfriends at Il Ristorante di Giorgio Baldi in Santa Monica, California, on Wednesday — the same restaurant where ex Ben Affleck recently had a date night with his new girlfriend, Saturday Night Live producer Lindsay Shookus.
The Alias star smiled as she left the restaurant – which was a favorite haunt of Garner and Affleck when they were together.
“Jen had a girls’ dinner with friends, including Chelsea [Handler],” a source tells PEOPLE of the actress. “She sipped wine and enjoyed lots of food, including pasta. She was laughing and chatting. She seemed relaxed and very much like she was enjoying herself.”
Garner was dressed down for the evening, wearing jeans with a black sleeveless top and heels.
An insider told PEOPLE that Affleck and Shookus stepped out together at the same restaurant last week.
“They are spending time together in L.A. Lindsay is staying at Ben’s new house,” the source said. “They had dinner at Giorgio Baldi last night. They arrived in a limo. They looked happy. They had a quick dinner and then returned to Ben’s house.”
Multiple sources have told PEOPLE that Affleck and Shookus started having an affair in 2013, two years before the actor and Garner announced their separation. Shookus was also still with her husband Kevin Miller, then a fellow SNL producer. The two split in 2014.
However, other sources close to Affleck and Shookus maintain that the two were just friends and didn’t date before their respective separations.
Sources tell PEOPLE that Garner confronted Shookus in person during a work trip to New York City after she found out about their affair in 2015 .
“Lindsay refused to back down or quit the affair,” said a source.
Now that Affleck, 44, is back with a woman from his past, “it’s not an easy situation for Jen,” says a source close to the actress, adding, “it would have been easier for Jen if Ben would have just dated someone that Jen wasn’t familiar with.”
But another source says the actress has long since moved on: “Of course there are issues given it was a major affair, but Jen is her own woman and is completely fine. Nothing is new for her here. She’s in mama-bear mode. . .putting the kids’ happiness first.”
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Affleck and Garner announced their separation in 2015 after over a decade of marriage and filed for divorce this past April. They have continued to closely co-parent their three children — Violet, 11, Seraphina, 8, and Samuel, 5.
“Ben and Jen continue to be dedicated to their family and kids,” says a source who knows Affleck and Garner. “They have been separated for two years now and have never strayed from that dedication. They do it better than anyone.”