- Matt Damon and Ben Affleck met as kids back in the 1980s, and they have been friends, costars, and writing partners since.
- They went on to cowrite and costar in “Good Will Hunting,” which landed them an Oscar for best screenplay.
- Damon and Affleck are vocal about their friendship in interviews and hype each other up on social media.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have one of the most famous friendships in Hollywood. The two became close long before they made it big as A-list actors, and they have managed to maintain their relationship for 40 years.
Read on for a timeline of some of the best moments from their decades-long friendship.
1980s: Affleck and Damon met as kids after their mums introduced them.
According to a Parade interview from 2007, Affleck first met Damon in the early 1980s when they were 8 and 10, respectively. The two lived two blocks away from each other in Cambridge, Massachusetts, loved baseball and acting, and went on to attend Cambridge Rindge and Latin high school.
“… Before Matt, I was by myself. Acting was a solo activity where I’d just go off and do something, act in a little TV show or something, and no one understood it. None of the other kids knew what it was I did, how it worked, or anything,” Affleck told Parade. “All of a sudden, I had this friend, Matt, and he gets it and wants to do it and thinks it’s interesting and wants to talk about it. Soon both of us are doing it.”
During an appearance on “Conan” in 2019, Damon said Affleck defending him in a fight when they were young really cemented their friendship. Damon was about to get beaten up by a bigger kid in high school, when, at the last second, Affleck fought him off.
“I remember that was like a big moment,” Damon said. “He will put himself in a really bad spot for me. This is a good friend.”
April 1989: They were both extras in “Field of Dreams.”
Early 1990s: The two were “drama geeks” in high school, and they got into acting together.
In 2004, Damon’s brother, Kyle, told People that Damon and Affleck “weren’t considered cool kids,” and that “they were drama geeks.”
“We’d take the train. Or sometimes we’d even take the aeroplane, back when there was the Eastern Shuttle or People’s Express,” he said. “It cost like $US20 to fly and you could smoke on the plane. We were smoking like idiots because we thought we were really supposed to be grown-up. It was pitiful.”
September 1992: They had their first legitimate movie roles together in “School Ties.”
Damon and Affleck’s first big movie roles together came in 1992 with the film “School Ties.”
Damon had a lead role alongside actor Brendan Fraser, and Affleck had a supporting part.
September 1995: They acted together again in “Glory Daze.”
In their next film together, “Glory Daze,” Affleck starred as the main character – a soon-to-be college grad named Jack – and Damon appeared in a minor role.
1996: They reportedly lived together for a brief time while writing the screenplay for “Good Will Hunting.”
According to Forbes, Affleck once said that after the two got paid for “School Ties,” they thought they were rich and “blew it all in a couple of months.”
But one thing they did with the money was rent out a Hansel and Gretel-inspired house in LA’s Eagle Rock neighbourhood – where they reportedly wrote the screenplay for “Good Will Hunting.”
April 1997: They both appeared in “Chasing Amy.”
Affleck once again took the lead in the late-1990s rom-com, and Damon appeared in a supporting role.
December 1997: They cowrote and costarred in “Good Will Hunting.”
In 1997, “Good Will Hunting” was released, and Affleck and Damon were immediately thrust into stardom.
Damon played the title character, Will, and Affleck played his on-screen best friend.
The movie was a hit, making the actors household names, and it’s still what many people know them for.
March 1998: The friends won their first Oscar together.
The pair won their first Academy Award in 1998 for best original screenplay for “Good Will Hunting.”
They gave a very nervous but memorable acceptance speech, during which Affleck said, “I just said to Matt, ‘Losing would suck and winning would be really scary.’ And it’s really, really scary …”
November 1999: Their next film together was “Dogma.”
Damon and Affleck followed up their big “Good Will Hunting” win with the 1999 film “Dogma,” an adventure comedy where they played two fallen angels who’d been banished from heaven.
December 2001: They began producing the documentary “Project Greenlight” together.
The friends also stepped behind the camera together for the documentary “Project Greenlight.”
Damon and Affleck were executive producers of the HBO series, which followed first-time filmmakers who competed for money to complete their projects.
The series ran for four seasons from 2001 to 2015.
May 2002: They partnered up on the big screen for “The Third Wheel.”
Affleck had a bigger part in the early-2000s comedy, but Damon also appeared in “The Third Wheel” in an uncredited role.
2004: The two took a few lighthearted jabs at each other in the media.
Although Damon and Affleck regularly joke around with each other in interviews, a few remarks in the mid-2000s seemed a bit more personal.
In one interview, according to E!, Damon said actors shouldn’t “just do blockbusters,” and some took it as a jab toward Affleck, who was struggling with big studio roles at the time.
A short time later, when Affleck was hosting “Saturday Night Live,” he appeared to reply to his best friend’s comment, saying, “I can’t seem to recall which Chekhov play ‘The Bourne Supremacy’ is based on.”
This is a reference to the Jason Bourne film series, in which Damon starred as a CIA assassin for over a decade.
March 2004: Damon made a brief appearance in Affleck’s film “Jersey Girl.”
Affleck starred in the romantic drama, and Damon appeared as PR Exec #2.
March 2010: Affleck helped honour his friend at the Cinematheque award show.
Garner first made a joke about the friendship between the two, saying, “Ben is half of one of the greatest love stories ever told. Not with me. The actual prototype for the great Hollywood bromance … Here’s proof that love is alive and well in Hollywood. At least for my darling husband my husband’s darling husband, Matt Damon”
When Affleck presented Damon with his trophy, he said, “Matt always said to me, ‘Ben, there are two things that are more important to me than anything else in this world.’ Folks: ‘Fame, money.’ You did it, Matty! You got there!”
December 2012: Damon spoke about dealing with false reports that he and Affleck were gay.
In a 2012 interview with Playboy, Damon was asked how he felt about the long-ago speculations that he was in a romantic relationship with Affleck.
He said, “I never denied those rumours because I was offended and didn’t want to offend my friends who were gay – as if being gay were some kind of f—ing disease. It put me in a weird position in that sense. The whole thing was just gross.”
September 2015: In an interview, Damon defended Affleck and called him “misunderstood.”
During a 2015 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Damon said he thinks that Affleck is largely “misunderstood” in the public eye, which has led to some unfair judgment of his character.
“Ten years ago, the public image of him could not have been farther apart from who he actually is. It was like he was being cast in a role, that he was a talentless kind of meathead, with his whole relationship with Jennifer Lopez,” he told the publication.
He continued, “He just got cast as this person that he wasn’t. It was just really painful. It was painful to be his friend because it wasn’t fair, you know?”
February 2016: Affleck snuck Damon on to “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
Jimmy Kimmel has had a fake “feud” with Damon for years, and the two love to joke about it.
During one 2016 interview with Kimmel, Affleck showed up on stage wearing a huge coat clearly stuffed with something. About a minute into the interview, Kimmel unbuttoned Affleck’s coat to reveal Damon hiding inside.
The three of them joked about the feud for a few minutes before getting on with Affleck’s interview.
June 2016: The best friends won the “guys of the decade” award and gave another sweet acceptance speech together.
Their bromance was officially recognised at Spike TV’s Guys’ Choice Awards in 2016.
Per Vanity Fair, while accepting the award for “guys of the decade” with Damon, Affleck said, “I think it goes without saying that this is an award Matt and I have been dreaming about since we were little boys …”
June 2016: Affleck posted a funny throwback photo of Damon for National Best Friends Day.
Damon may not be big on social media, but Affleck is, and he’s shared photos of Damon a few times over the years.
In June 2016, he honoured his buddy on National Best Friends Day with a throwback photo collage featuring Damon pushing Affleck’s face into a cake.
He captioned it, “This guy. #NationalBestFriendsDay.”
January 2017: Affleck described his perfect day, which included Damon.
According to Hello Giggles, when Us Weekly asked Affleck to describe a perfect day without work and without kids, he said, “I don’t know if that day ever comes. I don’t spend too much time just kicking back. On Sundays I like to watch the Patriots with Matt. That’s a nice, relaxing day.”
February 2017: Damon and Affleck returned to the Oscars stage to present an award together.
Damon and Affleck returned to the Academy Awards as presenters for the best adapted screenplay award 19 years after they won the Oscar for “Good Will Hunting.”
Kimmel was hosting, and he played Damon off the stage as part of their feud.
March 2018: Damon defended Affleck’s tattoo, which was being ridiculed on the internet.
After Affleck was spotted with a giant colourful phoenix tattoo on his back, he was quickly made the butt of online jokes.
Per Time, during a 2018 interview with Trevor Noah for “The Daily Show,” Damon defended his friend, saying, “It’s not one man’s job to tell another man what he can do to his back. I support him in all of his ‘artistic expression.'”
October 2, 2018: Damon said that the two will probably write together more in the future.
He also talked about why it took so long for them to reunite on a big project, saying, “It was interesting, ‘Good Will Hunting’ took us such a long time, and we always told ourselves and each other we just don’t have time to write.”
October 2018: The friends, plus Kimmel, were photographed at the World Series.
As lifelong fans of the Boston Red Sox, it was a given that Damon and Affleck would take in the World Series together in 2018. The two went to game five to watch the Red Sox go up against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
They were also joined by Dodger’s fan Kimmel, who wore matching “I’m With Stupid” T-shirts with Damon.
November 2018: Damon said he “wouldn’t be here” without Affleck.
During an interview on “Off Camera With Sam Jones,” Damon attributed much of his success and fame to Affleck.
He spoke about how nice it was to have his friend by his side while the two were struggling actors, even though they went up against each other “all the time” for roles.
“I certainly wouldn’t be here were it not for him,” Damon said.
He also commented on “Good Will Hunting,” saying, “People would always say, ‘Well who wrote more of the screenplay?’ or ‘What did you write and what did he write?’ and I’d go, ‘It’s just half.’ I can’t remember the genesis of every line, because we both wrote every line.”
July 2019: Damon and Affleck announced their on-screen reunion in “The Last Duel.”
After going years without working together on screen, Damon and Affleck are finally teaming back up for “The Last Duel,” which they also wrote together.
Earlier this year, Affleck told Entertainment Tonight that he was a little nervous about the upcoming medieval film since he’s never done anything like it before.
“But it was a real pleasure working with Matt and Nicole Holofcener, who wrote the script with us,” he said. “[Matt and I] kept saying, ‘Why have we not done this more often?'”
March 2020: Affleck joked that it was his own childhood stardom that inspired Damon to become an actor.
He added, “But I did like it, and it did two things. One, it instilled in me a deep love and affection for this art and craft and line of work, and it made Matt Damon so incredibly jealous, it drove him into a career in cinema. So I really take credit for that.”
August 2020: Affleck and Damon were spotted on a double date.
Damon and Affleck showed that their friendship is still going strong when they were spotted on a double date in Malibu, California.
The four celebrities reportedly went to the beach and had a picnic.
October 15, 2020: Damon and Affleck ribbed each other during a humorous video for a charity giveaway.
In partnership with the fundraising company Omaze, Affleck and Damon teamed up to raise money for Eastern Congo Initiative and Water.org by giving one fan the chance to spend the afternoon with the duo in LA.
In the humorous promotional video, the friends threw jabs at each other, including Damon telling Affleck that “Pattinson took your job.”
Affleck starred as Batman in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (2016) and “Justice League” (2017), but Robert Pattinson is taking over the role in the upcoming Matt Reeves-directed “Batman” movie.
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