The "Argo" star, 47, spoke to the New York Times, where he discussed what led to the decline of his 10-year marriage to Garner.
"People with compulsive behavior, and I am one, have this kind of basic discomfort all the time that they’re trying to make go away,” Affleck told the outlet. “You’re trying to make yourself feel better with eating or drinking or sex or gambling or shopping or whatever. But that ends up making your life worse. Then you do more of it to make that discomfort go away. Then the real pain starts. It becomes a vicious cycle you can’t break."
He added: "That’s at least what happened to me.”
Affleck then admitted that he "drank relatively normally" for most of his marriage, but in 2015 or 2016, as issues began to bubble up in the relationship, he began to drink more heavily, which "created more marital problems." Affleck, who has been to rehab several times, entered rehab again in 2018, which he spoke about in an Instagram post at the time.
In 2018, Affleck and Garner, also 47, divorced after a long separation.
“The biggest regret of my life is this divorce,” revealed Affleck, explaining that while he still feels guilt over the split, he's moved beyond the shame. “Shame is really toxic. There is no positive byproduct of shame. It’s just stewing in a toxic, hideous feeling of low self-worth and self-loathing.”
Despite feeling guilty about the ordeal, Affleck said that he tries not to dwell on the past.
“It’s not particularly healthy for me to obsess over the failures — the relapses — and beat myself up,” said the Oscar winner. “I have certainly made mistakes. I have certainly done things that I regret. But you’ve got to pick yourself up, learn from it, learn some more, try to move forward.”
In the interview, Affleck also dishes on his now-infamous back tattoo and why he initially lied about it being fake.
In 2015, a paparazzi photo captured Affleck with his ink, a colorful phoenix covering a large portion of his back, on full display.
However, in a 2016 interview with Extra, the actor claimed it was "fake for a movie," but it is, in fact, real.
“I resented that somebody got a picture of it by spying on me,” explained Affleck to the Times. “It felt invasive. ... I could have said, ‘That’s none of your business.’ I guess I got a kick out of messing with ‘Extra.’ Is your tattoo real or not real? Of course, it’s real! No, I put a fake tattoo on my back and then hid it.”
The reflections come just before his latest film, "The Way Back," in which he stars as a high school basketball coach that faces struggles similar to Affleck such as alcoholism and marital strife.