Ben Affleck felt like he was on a “hamster wheel” during his high-profile relationship with Jennifer Lopez.

The actor dated Jennifer for two years and they even got engaged before splitting up in 2004. During their time together, the stars were dubbed ‘Bennifer’ and their romance attracted a great deal of interest. During this time, Ben struggled to be taken seriously in the movie industry following appearances in films such as Gigli and Daredevil.

“I had to confront my own problems and ambitions at a time I was in the media spotlight (during a two-year relationship with Jennifer Lopez). It was as if I was on a hamster wheel in a cage. The faster I moved around the cage, the faster I was expected to go,” he is quoted as saying by British newspaper The Sun. “I was driving myself in the wrong direction. In the end, I was typecast as myself… I was 25, took all the big-budget parts I could and probably lost my way a bit... I tried to figure out what I wanted to do. I was so suffocated and miserable. I wish I had known how important it was to get hold of my life and make it smaller.”

Ben also recalled earlier struggles trying to make it in Hollywood. The 40-year-old star faced constant rejection and began to doubt whether he would ever carve out a career as an actor. However, he reached a turning point after starring in the 1997 movie Good Will Hunting with his close friend Matt Damon.

“I was constantly getting turned down for things like Baywatch. I thought, ‘If I am not good enough for this, then I’m not going to make it,’” he explained. “I was constantly told I was too tall, looked wrong, could only play bullies and would never be a leading man. I was living with Matt [Damon] all over the place, in rentals. We were always broke. So when we went from nothing to winning Oscars for the script of Good Will Hunting, it was as if all my dreams had come true.”

Ben says that marrying Jennifer Garner and starting a family with the actress “rearranged” his life. Raising three daughters has helped him gain a new perspective and he realised what was important to him.

“I started to simplify my life in all kinds of ways. I even sold my Bentley! It was just too showy,” he smiled.

Ben’s career has continued to soar in recent years and he is currently enjoying considerable success during awards season with his political thriller Argo. Ben directed and starred in the movie, which was named best adapted screenplay at the Writers Guild of America ceremony on Sunday. Argo has now emerged as a favourite to win best picture at the Oscars on February 24, after scooping top prizes at the recent Golden Globes, SAGS and BAFTAs.