The 43-year-old called off his engagement to Jennifer after two years of dating, during which his film career began to crash following box office flops such as the former couple's 2003 movie Gigli, and the romantic comedy Jersey Girl in 2004.

During an appearance on Bill Simmons' Any Given Wednesday earlier this week (22Jun16), he recalled feeling like he was uncool and untalented in the aftermath of his J.Lo romance.

"If you went by what people said... I wasn't cool and I wasn't talented, and I was, like, the lowest rung of cool and talented that you could possibly be in the public consciousness at that time," he said. "I had broken up with Jennifer Lopez and I had, like, three or four movies in a row that had bombed."

The director's low ticket sales at the box office were not the only problem, and he told host Bill he hit rock bottom after becoming the punchline of a joke by comedian Robert Wuhl for a United Airlines promotional video.

"So that guy (Wuhl) had to look around and go, 'Who's below me that I can s**t on?' And he picked me," Ben recalled. "He did a whole bit about me that I saw on United Airlines and I (thought), 'This is it, it really doesn't get much worse than this'.

"That was where I found myself when I thought, 'Hey, I want to take up directing, which is for people that are taken seriously. That became my mantra: 'I'm just going to work harder than everybody else'."

And his determination paid off - Affleck's 2012 movie Argo, which he starred in, co-produced and directed, picked up three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, in 2013. He also earned accolades for directing critically-acclaimed movies The Town (which he also starred in alongside Jeremy Renner) and Gone Baby Gone, which featured his little brother Casey Affleck.

However, the actor won't take all the credit for his recent Hollywood success, and credited estranged wife Jennifer Garner for helping him achieve his dreams.

"My wife was really instrumental and helpful in me doing a lot of that work because I was just so focused (on it) and it was harder to balance family and all that," he explained.

The couple announced it had split in June last year (15) after 10 years of marriage. Ben and Jennifer continue to co-parent daughters Violet, 10, and Seraphina, seven, and son Samuel, four, together.