In a revealing new interview with The New York Times, Ben Affleck opens up about how his struggle with sobriety has impacted his work in film, including his high-profile departure as the current DC movie universe’s Batman.

“I drank relatively normally for a long time,” Affleck says in the interview. “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.”

Affleck goes on to call his 2018 divorce from actress Jennifer Garner “the biggest regret of my life,” before digging into how difficulties in his personal life led to big changes in his career, especially with his stint as Batman.

The dissolution of Affleck’s marriage ran parallel to his time as the Caped Crusader, with plans for him to direct, co-write, and star in what would become The Batman emerging in 2015. In the lead-up to his debut as the character in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Affleck was already rumored to be checked out of the burgeoning franchise, with memes of the star looking sullen at press junkets beginning to go viral.

Affleck conceded writing and directing duties on The Batman to Matt Reeves in early 2017. In his interview with the Times, Affleck recalls that when he showed a friend what he wrote for the superhero movie, they said, “I think the script is good. I also think you’ll drink yourself to death if you go through what you just went through again.”

Ben Affleck
Credit: Steve Granitz/WireImage

Affleck reprised his role as the Dark Knight in Justice League in early 2018, but officially backed out of the DC cinematic universe a year later.

Now Affleck is gearing up for the March 6 release of The Way Back, a film formerly known as The Has-Been, about a divorced basketball coach in recovery for alcohol addiction. The film is directed by Gavin O’Connor, who worked with Affleck on 2016’s The Accountant and notes how personal the film is to the star.

Additionally, Affleck will be seen in the Netflix film The Last Thing He Wanted, and he has returned to behind-the-scenes work as well, co-writing The Last Duel with Nicole Holofcener and his Oscar-winning partner Matt Damon and signing on to direct King Leopold’s Ghost, an epic involving early-1900s colonialism in the Congo.

As for The Batman, Reeves has reworked the film to be a younger take on the character, with Robert Pattinson taking on the mantle.

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