Before there was J. Lo and A-Rod or Mr. and Mrs. Marc AnthonyThere was Bennifer.

In the wee hours of the morning, few couples have so captured the spotlight Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck. The couple have been a staple of the tabloid throughout their romance, engagement in 2002, and subsequent split in 2004.

And although their personal paths have diverged since then, the Oscar winner has made it clear that he continues to hold in high regard for Lopez, his former leading actress on screen and in the background.

As he told InStyle for an article on his Hustler’s ex, “I thought I had a good work ethic, but I was completely humble and overwhelmed by what she wanted to do day in and day out, by the seriousness with which she took her job , the calm and dedicated way she achieved her goals, and then how she would go back and redouble her efforts. “

35 years after her first working credit, Lopez is now a two-time Golden Globe nominee and one of the most popular artists in Hollywood. According to Affleck, her meteoric rise and enduring fame was no accident.