FOR almost a year Bond beauty Ana de Armas kept troubled Hollywood heart-throb Ben Affleck on the straight and narrow.
The health conscious Cuban tamed her wild living boyfriend, turning him from a heavy drinking wreck into a happy home boy during the pandemic.
Now the 32-year-old actress, who will appear in the next 007 movie No Time to Die, is the latest in a long line of Ben’s gone girls.
Unlike in many previous relationships, though, Ben’s erratic behaviour does not appear to have been the reason behind the break-up.
Instead it is his desire to be a good father to his three children with ex-wife Jennifer Garner.
While Ana wanted to continue globe-trotting, Ben needed to stay in Los Angeles so he could be close to his kids.
Previously 48-year-old Ben’s engagement to Jennifer Lopez ended following rumours that he bedded a stripper. Gwyneth Paltrow split with him because he was ‘complicated’ and booze tore apart his marriage to Garner.
Oscar winner Ben, whose own father battled alcoholism, has been to rehab three times and admitted to having an addictive personality.
Shortly before meeting Ana on the set of the movie Deep Water in November 2019, the Batman actor was spotted struggling to walk properly on leaving a Halloween party.
And in 2018 Ben spent days living it up with Playboy model Shauna Sexton who was half his age.
But with Ana he did appear to have found some much needed stability.
A source close to the couple said: “Ben really wanted their relationship to work. Ana has a great energy.
“Ben was always very happy when Ana was around. She likes to stay healthy and inspired Ben to keep staying healthy too. It was very complicated.”
Insiders say there were two complications which led to the couple’s ‘amicable’ parting of the ways.
One was Ben's desire to be in California as often as possible so that he can see his children, Violet, 15, Seraphina, 12, and Samuel, eight.
Ben was always very happy when Ana was around.
The other is that Ben has apparently ruled out ever being a father again and Ana would like to be a mum one day.
As a result it was Ana who put an end to things, with a source saying: "She broke it off. Ana doesn't want to be Los Angeles based and Ben obviously has to since his kids live in Los Angeles."
Friends hope the couple might reconcile because they were so good for each other.
They certainly don’t want Ben to fall off the wagon like he has so often during a rollercoaster career.
Ben, who appeared in his first film The Dark End Of The Street at the age of seven, grew up in a difficult household.
His actor father Tim was a heavy drinker who “wrecked his life badly” and didn’t sober up until Ben was aged 19.
Ben’s brother Casey struggled with alcoholism, his grandmother killed herself at the age of 46, an aunt was a heroin addict and an uncle took his life with a shotgun.
The star explained: “There’s a lot of alcoholism and mental illness in my family. The legacy of that is quite powerful and sometimes hard to shake.”
Fame, which brings with it access to huge sums of money and women, has exacerbated those issues.
Ben first rose to international attention in 1998 when he won a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Good Will Hunting, which he starred in with his pal Matt Damon.
The same year he was dating his Shakespeare In Love co-star Paltrow, but the actress said she realised he wasn’t ready to settle down.
Discussing the reasons for their break-up, Gwyneth later said: "Ben makes life tough for himself. He's got a lot of complication, and you know, he really is a great guy.”
Shortly after they broke up for the second time in 2000 Ben had first spell in rehab.
Ben makes life tough for himself
He worried that alcohol led him to lose control, admitting he’d realise “I didn’t want to kiss that girl. I have almost no inhibitions, so it’s dangerous for me.”
Ben was not a ‘great guy’ when he was interviewed by Hilarie Burton on MTV’s Total Request Live in 2003 or during his relationship with J.Lo.
During his chat with Hilarie he groped the then 19-year-old presenter’s left breast off camera.
He got away with it at the time, but was forced to apologise when it was brought up during the #metoo controversies in 2017.
Ben, a bona fide star at this point thanks to Armageddon and Pearl Harbour, fell in love with singer turned actress J-Lo in 2002 after they worked together on the much panned Gigli.
Their £2million wedding ceremony was called off in 2003 when National Enquirer magazine in the United States ran a story saying he’d slept with a lap dancer on the eve of their planned nuptials.
Ben insisted he’d merely visited the Canadian strip club where the woman worked on his stag night.
By the following year, the couple had broken up and Ben found a new passion in gambling.
He won £280,000 in the California State Poker Championship and took part in secret high stakes games with fellow A-list actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire.
Happy ever after?
All those problems seemed to be behind him when he walked down the aisle with level-headed Daredevil actress Jennifer in 2005.
Ben got his career back on track, directing and starring in Argo, which won the Best Picture Oscar in 2013 and taking the lead role in the hit Gone Girl.
The glow of redemption was short-lived with his personal life imploding two years later as he returned to gambling and drinking.
Ben said: “I drank relatively normally for a long time. What happened was that I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart.
“This was 2015, 2016. My drinking, of course, created more marital problems.”
The couple announced their separation in 2015, although Ben initially continued to live in a guesthouse at their home so he could be close to their children.
In 2016 photographs revealed that he’d had a brightly coloured phoenix tattooed on his back.
At first he claimed it was a temporary inking for a film, but it was in fact real.
Ben has said. “They get sort of addictive, tattoos, after a while.”
His drinking spiralled so badly out of control while playing Batman in Justice League a year later that he knocked himself out with whisky.
The actor recently admitted: “I drank alone in my living room and just passed out with scotch."
That self-destructive behaviour got so out of hand that ex Jennifer had to step in.
In August 2018 Ben was spotted buying a crate of booze during a bender with model Shauna Sexton, who he turned to after breaking up from TV producer Lindsay Shookus.
Jennifer insisted that the father of her children needed to seek professional help and drove him to his third spell in rehab.
The couple agreed to joint custody when their divorced was finalised in 2018, both agreeing that it was important to retain friendly relations for the sake of the kids.
After coming out of the clinic Ben played an alcoholic basketball coach in a movie called The Way Back.
Talking about his own addictive behaviour Ben told The New York Times: “People with compulsive behaviour, and I am one, have this kind of basic discomfort all the time that they’re trying to make go away.
“You’re trying to make yourself feel better with eating or drinking or sex or gambling or shopping or whatever. But that ends up making your life worse.”
Only when he grew close to Knives Out star Ana on set in Louisiana did Ben truly begin to clean up his act again.
In the whodunnit Deep Water he plays a wealthy man who allows his wife, portrayed by Ana, to stray.
Their real life romance was more traditional.
Shortly after finishing shooting Ben visited Cuba with Ana and they were often spotted laughing heartily during walks in LA.
Her importance became even more evident when Ben’s children met Ana at his home in May.
Later, the kids cheekily placed a cardboard cut-out of the actress on their dad’s front lawn so that paparazzi had something to snap instead of the love-birds.
But this week that life-sized image of Ana was dumped in the rubbish by someone working for Ben.
That moment symbolised the end to their year-long dalliance.
Whether it also signals his return to careless adventures is yet to be seen.
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