Ben Affleck Cuts Down on Work to Avoid Unwanted Attention

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Ben Affleck, once upon a time, was fodder for the blood-thirsty tabloid press. During his days as Jennifer Lopez's main squeeze, the "Reindeer Games" actor couldn't take two steps without running into either a paparazzo armed with a camera or a newspaper with his face plastered across the front of it. Of course, dating someone as famous as Lopez comes with its far share of consequences. Unfortunately for Affleck, all of that attention caused a good deal of stress.

Following their break-up, the "Phantoms" alumni decided to make some changes to his personal life. In order to keep himself out of the spotlight, Affleck cut down on his busy work schedule, got married to Jennifer Garner, had kids, and, for the most part, dropped out of sight. Additionally, his focus within the industry began to shift from acting to directing; both the 2007 thriller "Gone Baby Gone" and the 2010 heist flick "The Town" received positive reviews, much more so than anything Affleck had accomplished as an actor.

"It feels like being in a soap opera that you were unwittingly cast in and you have no choice about it. I get to watch my life like everyone else and think. 'I can't believe they did that'. And, for whatever reason, you become less special for movie audiences," he once said in an interview. "It cheapens the brand if you want to look at it in a really crass sense. But I figure it has to go away at some point. Eventually someone will come along and have a sex tape or someone will play grab-ass with some kids and I'll be off page one."

Nowadays, the only time you see paparazzi photos of Affleck is during family outings. When he's not spending time at home or working on one Hollywood project or another, he's trying to raise awareness for the Eastern Congo Initiative, which is devoted to lowering child mortality rates.

"I've finally learnt how to say, 'No comment'," he said in regards to avoiding -- and dealing -- unwanted press. "To appear in the tabloids is a real learning curve and a steep one at that. You had better learn quick or you get burnt."

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