The last time Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez started dating was 2002. Here's what life was like then.

The last time Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez started dating was 2002. Here's what life was like then.
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jennifer lopez and ben affleck
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck started dating in 2002. Kevin Winter / Getty

Back in 2002, when Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck started dating, People magazine named him the "Sexiest Man Alive."

ben affleck and jennifer lopez
Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez in 2002. Lawrence Lucier / Getty

In the early 2000s, Affleck and Lopez were Hollywood's "it" couple and became known as "Bennifer" in the tabloids. Thanks to their high-profile relationship, People named Affleck the "Sexiest Man Alive" in 2002.

"Chicks gravitate to him. The word on the street is that he's the ideal man, chatty, gorgeous, generous, and intelligent," Kevin Smith told People at the time.

Nearly two decades later, recent winners have included Michael B. Jordan and John Legend.

Tobey Maguire was still playing Peter Parker, and "Spider-Man" was a box-office smash.

spider-man peter parker
Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker in "Spider-Man." Columbia Pictures

"Spider-Man" was the highest-grossing film of 2002, raking in over $400 million. "Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones" was the second-highest-grossing film with over $300 million, and "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" came in third with over $200 million.

"The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" was another popular film that year, along with classics like "Signs" and "My Big Fat Greek Wedding."

Eminem's "The Eminem Show" was the best-selling album the year Bennifer got together.

eminem
Eminem. AP Images

Affleck and Lopez started dating in the summer of 2002, and they were engaged in November 2002.

Eminem's third studio album titled "The Eminem Show" sold 7.6 million copies in 2002, becoming the best-selling album of the year.

It was a great year for the rapper, as he also premiered his successful movie "8 Mile." The soundtrack for the film also reached the top of the charts, ranking fifth in the year-end sales.

Avril Lavigne also jumped onto the scene for the first time with her debut album, "Let Go."

avril lavigne i'm with you
Avril Lavigne. Avril Lavigne/YouTube

In 2002, Avril Lavigne released her debut album "Let Go," and it reached No. 2 on Billboard's chart. The album included hits like "Complicated" and "Sk8er Boi."

Lavigne made a name for herself as the antithesis to pop princess Britney Spears who was reigning at the time.

Months after Lopez and Affleck's engagement, the movie-musical "Chicago" won the Oscar for best picture.

Renée Zellweger in "Chicago."
Renée Zellweger in "Chicago." Buena Vista Pictures

"Chicago" took home the top prize at the Academy Awards in 2003. The movie musical follows two female murderers who compete for fame and notoriety while behind bars.

Renée Zellweger was nominated for best actress in a leading role for "Chicago," and Catherine Zeta-Jones won the best supporting actress Oscar.

Evanescence was named the best new artist at the Grammy Awards the same year.

Evanescence Amy Lee
Evanescence. Simon Fergusson/Getty Images

In 2003, the rock band Evanescence took home the coveted best new artist award at the Grammys after their debut album "Fallen" was released the same year.

Late-'90s and early-2000s hitmaker Shania Twain performed at the Super Bowl halftime show with Sting and No Doubt.

Shania Twain at the Super Bowl in 2003
Shania Twain at the Super Bowl in 2003. KMazur / Getty

In 2003, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Oakland Raiders at the Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.

That year, Shania Twain was the headliner at the halftime show, performing her hits "Man! I Feel Like a Woman" and "Up!" She was joined by No Doubt, who sang "Just a Girl," and Sting, who performed their hit "Message in a Bottle."

George W. Bush was in his first term as president.

state of the union george bush
President Bush during the 2002 State of the Union. Mark Wilson / Getty

During his State of the Union speech in 2002 — just a few months after the 9/11 attacks and launching troops into Afghanistan — President Bush famously talked about the dangers of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, which would shape the country's foreign politics for decades.

"States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world," Bush said in the speech. "By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic."

The European Union had just started using the euro as a common currency.

the euro coin
The euro. picture alliance / Getty

In the late 1960s, the European Union started plans to introduce a common currency. By 1999, the currency was launched but it was considered "invisible," as it could only be used for electronic payments. On January 1, 2002, however, the euro was introduced to the public for the first time as bills and coins.

Around the time Lopez and Affleck were together, the median cost of a house in the US was almost $200,000.

House for sale US
Houses were cheaper in 2002. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

By the end of 2002, the median price for a house in the US was $190,100.

The median price for a house in the US today is $329,100, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The cost of grocery items was significantly less.

frozen food vegetables grocery shopping
Grocery shopping cost less in 2002. Ted Horowitz/Getty Images

When Affleck and Lopez started dating almost two decades ago, groceries cost less.

In 2002, a pound of white bread cost $1.02 compared to $1.43 in 2020. A dozen eggs cost $1.03 compared to $1.53 in 2020, and a gallon of milk cost $2.76 compared to $3.28 in 2020.

A gallon of gas was two-thirds the price it is today.

Gas prices in California, 2002
Gas prices in California in 2002. Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Gas cost $1.36 per gallon in 2002, as opposed to $2.17 in 2020.

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