Inside Ben Affleck's Family History Of Slave Ownership As He Marries JLo At 'Plantation-Style' Home


Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez DFree | Shutterstock | Twitter

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez recently celebrated their wedding again in a ceremony for their close friends and family, however, the location of the wedding has caused a bit of controversy.

On August 20, Affleck and Lopez tied the knot again at Affleck's 87-acre property in Georgia, though many people wondered why the couple chose to be married at the actor's plantation-style home.

The mansion, which was built in 2000, was designed by Atlanta-based architect James Strickland to resemble a southern plantation. It was described as "a remarkable re-creation of a Southern antebellum Greek Revival plantation home."


Affleck purchased the home in 2003 for $7 million, and at the time had still been dating Lopez before the two split the following year.

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While the property itself has no direct ties to slavery — aside from drawing inspiration from antebellum times — Affleck does, making the home a somewhat odd choice of wedding venue.

Ben Affleck's ancestor was a slave owner.

In 2015, Affleck appeared on the PBS show "Finding Your Roots," where host Henry Louis Gates Jr. discovered that one of Affleck's ancestors had been a slave owner. 

He came under heavy fire after a leaked email exchange showed that Affleck had asked his team behind the PBS show to not include the part of the episode where the information about Affleck's slaveowner ancestor is revealed.

In the corresponding emails, Gates asked Michael Lynton, the head of Sony Pictures, about how to handle a request from an unnamed celebrity who wanted to have a slave owner in his family's history removed from the program.


The ancestor, Benjamin Cole, had been a relative on Affleck's mother's side and had owned slaves in Chatham County, near the plantation-style home Affleck purchased in 2003.

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Following the leaked email exchange, Affleck released a statement on his Facebook page, acknowledging the revelation that he wanted a slave-owning ancestor to be removed from the PBS show.

"After an exhaustive search of my ancestry for 'Finding Your Roots,' it was discovered that one of my distant relatives was an owner of slaves," Affleck wrote. "I didn't want any television show about my family to include a guy who owned slaves. I was embarrassed. The very thought left a bad taste in my mouth."


In the comments of the Facebook post, Affleck went on to say that Gates decided to omit the bit about Affleck's slave-owning ancestor because there wasn't a lot of information about that person.

"I regret my initial thoughts that the issue of slavery not be included in the story. We deserve neither credit nor blame for our ancestors and the degree of interest in this story suggests that we are, as a nation, still grappling with the terrible legacy of slavery. It is an examination well worth continuing," Affleck continued.

In 2018, Affleck put his Georgia estate, which is also known as "the Big House," on the market for $8.9 million. The actor eventually lowered the price to $7.6 million the following year, before taking it off the market in 2020.


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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Keep up with her on Instagram and Twitter.