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Ben Affleck calls his divorce from Jennifer Garner ‘the biggest regret of my life’

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Ben Affleck is opening up about his relationship with his ex-wife, Jennifer Garner, like never before.

In a candid new interview with The New York Times, the 47-year-old actor speaks about his marriage to Garner, specifically, when their union began to unravel. The two tied the knot in June 2005 and split a decade later in June 2015. Affleck, who has been open about his issues with alcohol abuse, said he found himself drinking heavily again when their marriage started having problems.

"I drank relatively normally for a long time. What happened was that I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart," he says. "This was 2015, 2016. My drinking, of course, created more marital problems."

Affleck calls his divorce from 47-year-old Garner -- with whom he shares three kids -- "the biggest regret" of his life, but notes he can no longer keep being ashamed of it.

"The biggest regret of my life is this divorce," he says bluntly. “Shame is really toxic. There is no positive byproduct of shame. It’s just stewing in a toxic, hideous feeling of low self-worth and self-loathing."

"It’s not particularly healthy for me to obsess over the failures -- the relapses -- and beat myself up," he continues. "I have certainly made mistakes. I have certainly done things that I regret. But you've got to pick yourself up, learn from it, learn some more, try to move forward."

Affleck and Garner have remained close after their split, and she's continued to be there for him through his struggles. In August 2018, Garner drove a distraught-looking Affleck to his third stint in rehab after he suffered a relapse. In October, Affleck was snapped by paparazzi visiting Garner's home as he admitted that he "slipped" when it comes to his recovery, after TMZpublished a video of him stumbling at the UNICEF Masquerade Ball in West Hollywood.

"Relapse is embarrassing, obviously," he now says, referring to the incident. "I wish it didn't happen. I really wish it wasn't on the internet for my kids to see. Jen and I did our best to address it and be honest."

Later, Affleck discusses a pivotal scene in his upcoming film, The Way Back, which has parallels to his relationship with Garner. According to The New York Times, in the film, his character, Jack Cunningham, struggles with alcoholism and goes to rehab. He eventually apologizes to his ex-wife when she comes to visit him. "I failed you," Jack says. "I failed our marriage."

"It was really important, without being mawkish or false, that he make amends to her -- that he take accountability for the pain that he and only he has caused," Affleck reflects.

The film's director, Gavin O'Connor, says Affleck had a "total breakdown" after the emotional scene.

"It was like a floodgate opened up," O'Connor recalls. "It was startling and powerful. I think that was a very personal moment in the movie. I think that was him."

Back in February 2016, Garner gave her own incredibly candid interview to Vanity Fair about the end of her marriage to Affleck, insisting that it had nothing to do with Affleck's alleged affair with their children's nanny. Garner also said she had no regrets over marrying him.

"I didn't marry a movie star; I married him," she said. "And I would go back and remake that decision. I ran down the beach to him, and I would again."

"You can't have these three babies and so much of what we had," she continued. "He's the love of my life. What am I going to say about that? He's the most brilliant person in any room, the most charismatic, the most generous."

Still, she acknowledged that Affleck was a "complicated guy."

"When his sun shines on you, you feel it. But when the sun is shining elsewhere, it's cold," she shared. "He can cast quite a shadow."

"The main thing is these kids -- and we're completely in line with what we hope for them," she added about their co-parenting. "Sure, I lost a dream of dancing with my husband at my daughter's wedding. But you should see their faces when he walks through the door. And if you see your kids love someone so purely and wholly, then you're going to be friends with that person."

In August, a source told ET that Affleck and Garner were still on great terms.

"Ben's relationship with Jen is doing amazingly well despite everything that's happened," the source said. "She's really supportive of Ben, and when they parent the kids separately, they both share their stories of sweet moments they had with the kids that day. Their friends are always saying what a perfect example they are of dedicated parents who look past their own issues."

Meanwhile, in December 2018, a source told ET that Affleck was even supportive of Garner's relationship with businessman John Miller. Watch the video below for more:

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