This time, Affleck’s ubiquitous nature is because of his relationship with Ana de Armas, 32, who just had her breakout year in Hollywood as the star of the hit movie “Knives Out.” The couple (dubbed “BenAna,” which rivals “Bennifer” in the celebrity portmanteau hall of fame) has drawn a curious amount of attention since they started dating earlier this year. Their relationship went public around the time the world started to shut down because of the novel coronavirus, and they decided to quarantine together in Los Angeles. Ever since, practically everything they do becomes a tabloid story.
They walk adorable dogs. Wear sweatpants. Drink excessive amounts of Dunkin’ coffee. (One time, Affleck carried two gigantic iced coffees that appeared to both be for him.) Lock themselves out of the house. Hang out with Affleck’s kids. Set out cardboard cutouts of Armas on the lawn, for unexplained reasons. Kiss while wearing masks. They also attended a rally to support the black community in Venice, Calif., which resulted in a much-circulated photo of Affleck holding up a Black Lives Matter sign.
As much as the mild obsession with them is understandable — two attractive, famous people in a relationship will always make news — the BenAna fascination is also startling. Even with a lack of celebrity content as most of Hollywood is still shut down, they don’t do anything that interesting except sometimes get tangled in their dogs’ leashes. And yet, they remain oddly riveting in a way that other stars in this time simply do not.
Though Affleck and de Armas’s publicists did not respond to requests for comment about why the pair has become a phenomenon, others believe that seeing photos of BenAna’s daily mundane activities has provided an unexpected source of comfort in an unsettling time.
“I think there a lot of people during this global health crisis looking for structure in an uncontrolled situation where there are so many question marks and so much uncertainty,” said Elaine Lui, the “etalk” and “The Social” TV personality who runs LaineyGossip.com. Affleck and de Armas’s frequent outdoor outings provide this, as the only thing that changes are their outfits (including that time they shared a shirt and that other time they wore matching heart necklaces.)
Lui speculates that while Affleck has never shied away from the spotlight, the couple is likely not concerned about cameras at the moment. “There are bigger issues happening in the world than being worried about being photographed and people caring about their love life,” Lui said. “It’s more resignation: ‘Yeah, we’re an entertainment story right now, but let’s at least not give anyone anything bad to write…