Inside Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s 40-Year Friendship

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Videos by Rare

Videos by Rare

For much of the world, it’s impossible to hear the names “Ben Affleck” or “Matt Damon” without the other actor popping into your head. The two seem inseparable, both on and off-screen. Indeed, they are the quintessential representation of a bromance. As it turns out, they’ve been friends for much longer than they’ve been in the public eye. Here’s a look inside Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s 40-year friendship.

How Ben Affleck and Matt Damon Met

The two met when Affleck was 8 and Damon was 10. They lived 2 blocks away from each other in Cambridge, Massachusetts when their moms introduced them. They shared the same loves of baseball and acting and eventually attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin high school together.

Affleck told Parade that he’d just changed schools at age 8 and didn’t know very many people when he met Damon. At the same time, there was ongoing alcohol abuse in his household, and he was somewhat emotionally neglected at home. He said he was lonely, which made Damon’s friendship somewhat of saving grace.

Years later, Affleck rescued Damon from a fight at Cambridge Rindge. Damon told Conan that he’d probably mouthed off to a much larger kid, who was on the verge of beating him up. It was in the midst of a tackle football game during lunch.

“This mountain of a guy came at me, and I was like, ‘oh man.’ So before I knew it, I was on the ground, he was above me, and I was like, ‘this is going to be bad.’ And it was right then that little 5’2” Ben Affleck tackled this dude off of me… out of nowhere.” Matt Damon was a junior and Ben Affleck was a freshman at the time.

Damon told Conan that it was at that moment that he realized what a good friend Ben Affleck was. He said he risked his own life and put himself in a bad spot to literally save his life.

Matt Damon Got Ben Affleck Into Acting

“Matt gave acting a framework, an integration into the social hierarchy at school,” Affleck told Parade. “As a teenager, the natural thing is to have friends who have common interests and so you fit together seamlessly. Before Matt, I was by myself. Acting was a solo activity … All of a sudden, I had this friend, Matt, and he gets it and wants to do it and thinks it’s interesting and wants to talk about it. Soon both of us are doing it.” 

Matt Damon told Entertainment Tonight that he and his best buddy inspired each other to keep acting.

“We were both in love with the same thing — acting and filmmaking,” he said. “I think we fed on each other’s obsession during really formative, important years and that bonded us for life.”

Matt Damon’s brother Kyle once told People that his brother and Affleck “weren’t considered cool kids… They were drama geeks.”

In 1989, Affleck and Damon were in a scene together in Field of Dreams. Neither actor had any spoken lines and they’re very difficult to spot. They were in the Fenway Park scene, and it would be their first of many films together.

They Both Played Bullies in School Ties

In 1992, both actors played antisemitic classmates to Jewish student David Greene, played by Brendan Fraser. While the film lost money at the box office, it also launched the pair’s careers as burgeoning actors.

Affleck once said that he and Damon were living together when they filmed School Ties. Apparently, their respective $35,000 and $40,000 pay days from the movie made them feel rich…until they realized they had to pay taxes.

“…We were shocked later on to find out how much we owed in taxes. We were appalled: $15,000! What? But we rented this house on the beach in Venice and 800 people came and stayed with us and got drunk. Then we ran out of money and had to get an apartment. It was like everything was exciting. So we lived in Glendale and Eagle Rock and we lived in Hollywood, West Hollywood, Venice, by the Hollywood Bowl, all over the place. We’d get thrown out of some places or we’d have to upgrade or downgrade depending on who had money.”

Good Will Hunting Took a Long Time to Write, Almost Ruined Their Friendship

Well, maybe not their friendship, but the “writing together” part…

While their bond seems unbreakable, apparently writing their first screenplay almost was the straw to breaking the camel’s back. Matt Damon told Jimmy Fallon that it took them “forever to write that screenplay…we wrote thousands and thousands of pages.” He said that they were “unemployed, broke guys” and didn’t know what they were doing. While they surely had no idea that the film would go on to be made, let alone win an Oscar for Best Screenplay, the process would turn them off of writing another for 25 years.

Ben Affleck’s and Matt Damon’s success in Good Will Hunting launched them into long, successful careers. Their acting careers have included each other for their whole lives, which is cute.

The two were in Kevin Smith’s Chasing Amy in 1997.

In 1999, they were Dogma, also by Kevin Smith, playing the parts of fallen angels Bartleby and Loki.

Kevin Smith continued employing Affleck and Damon, casting them in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2000) and Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (2019).

Damon and Affleck Co-wrote Their Second Screenplay in 2021, Almost Kissed

25 years after writing Good Will Hunting, the best buddies decided to give it another go. They wrote The Last Duel together, released in 2021. They also enlisted Nicole Holofcener as a third writer so they could gain female perspective.

The film is a historical drama set in Medieval times, and they co-star in it as well. Interestingly, they wrote an on-screen kiss in between their characters even though their characters hated each other  (it was customary before battle, for real). But the director pulled the scene because he thought it would be too distracting.

“Ridley thought it would be distracting, and his instincts are pretty good,” Affleck told Entertainment Tonight.

Damon and Affleck Insist That They Are Not Gay

After writing Good Will Hunting, rumors spread that the two men were gay. Damon put those rumors to rest and defended LGBTQ people in an interview with The Guardian in 2015.

“It’s just like any piece of gossip… and it put us in a weird position of having to answer, you know what I mean? Which was then really deeply offensive. I don’t want to, like [imply] it’s some sort of disease,” he said.

“I think it must be really hard for actors to be out publicly,” he added. “But in terms of actors, I think you’re a better actor the less people know about you period. And sexuality is a huge part of that. Whether you’re straight or gay, people shouldn’t know anything about your sexuality because that’s one of the mysteries that you should be able to play.”

Damon has been married to his wife, Luciana Bozán Barroso, since 2005. The couple have four children. Affleck is currently married to Jennifer Lopez and has three children with his former spouse and actress Jennifer Garner.

At the End of the Day, the Two Are Just Best Buddies

Affleck told US Magazine (via Hello Giggles) that he and Damon get together on Sundays to watch football.

US Magazine asked Affleck to describe his “perfect day” without work or kids.

“I don’t know if that day ever comes,” he replied. “I don’t spend too much time just kicking back. On Sundays I like to watch the Patriots with Matt. That’s a nice, relaxing day.”

Notably, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were awarded the “Guys of the Decade” award in 2016. Spike TV’s Guys Choice Awards finally acknowledged the incredible bromance that has inspired bromances the world over. Their acceptance speech was endearing and hilarious.

“We’re honored to share this fake award with all of you,” said Damon. “And after decades and decades of friendship, I want to thank my ultimate Man of the Decade—”

“Thank you, I’m touched,” interjected Affleck.

“I wasn’t talking to you,” Damon replied.

Watch the clip below.

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