Hollywood's hottest couple Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck have ended their high-profile romance, after months of speculation.

The stars split on Tuesday (20JAN04), amid persistent rumours that they - who were apart while Affleck, 31, attended the Sundance Film Festival and the European premieres of his film PAYCHECK earlier this month (JAN04) - were growing apart.

J.LO's publicist says, "I am confirming the reports that Jennifer Lopez has ended her engagement to Ben Affleck. At this difficult time, we ask that you respect her privacy."

While Affleck was overseas, Lopez, 34, was seen partying in Miami, Florida, with her old flame SEAN 'P DIDDY' COMBS - and going out without her 6.1-carat pink-diamond engagement ring. Combs and Lopez both denied any romantic involvement.

Just a day after her split from Affleck, Lopez was spotted out at West Hollywood restaurant MORTON'S with pals.

The pair's elaborate September (03) nuptials in Montecito, California, were called off at the last minute "due to the excessive media attention surrounding our wedding". They never officially set another date for the anticipated ceremony. Lopez and Affleck, who met while filming the critically-panned movie Gigli in spring 2002, became a couple in July that year as Lopez's marriage to Cris Judd - her second - collapsed.

Affleck and Lopez's second onscreen collaboration, Jersey Girl, will hit screens on 19 March (04).

23/01/2004 02:08