Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are engaged. So says a pal to People, while Star has the lowdown on the engagement ring

By Gary Susman
Updated April 20, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT
Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner
Credit: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Gardner: London Entertainment/Splash

Ben Affleck’s publicist spent the early part of this week denying that the actor had married Jennifer Garner during a lavish 33rd birthday party for the actress held over the weekend at her Brentwood home. But it looks like Affleck did use the bash as an opportunity to pop the question. Though the couple haven’t confirmed it, People is reporting that the two are, in fact engaged, citing as a source a close friend of Affleck’s.

According to Star magazine, Affleck, 32, had planned to propose to the Alias star in front of their friends at the party but balked when the tabloids and paparazzi showed up. Instead, the magazine said, he waited until later, sealing the deal with a 4.5-carat diamond ring from Harry Winston valued at $500,000. (For those keeping score, when Affleck got engaged to Jennifer Lopez in 2003, he bought her a 6.1-carat pink diamond from Harry Winston valued at $1 million.) Not that Garner felt slighted. ”Jen was bowled over and said yes,” a friend of hers told Star. ”She’s wanted this for the longest time.”

Affleck met Garner on the set of 2003’s Daredevil, but they didn’t surface as an item until August 2004, months after he and that other Jennifer had ended their engagement. Bennifer II have kept a much lower profile than Bennifer I; Affleck didn’t accompany Garner to the premiere of her Daredevil spinoff Elektra in January, for example, but they’ve been spotted together in the stands at Fenway Park during Red Sox games. Apparently, Affleck has learned to stay out of the limelight (though the fact that he hasn’t had a hit movie in a while hasn’t made that so difficult), avoiding the intense media scrutiny that helped drive Bennifer I apart.

No word on when or where the couple might tie the knot. It’ll be the first marriage for Affleck, the second for Garner, who ended her 2 1/2-year marriage to her Felicity costar, Scott Foley, in April 2003.