NOT for a long time has a celebrity romance garnered so many column inches.

Apparent confirmation in recent days that Hollywood stars Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are dating again, some 17 years after the pair – nicknamed “Bennifer” back then – called off their engagement, is causing a stir.

First things first, why Bennifer?

It is a portmanteau of Ben and Jennifer, a naming trend that first became popular in the late 1990s and early noughties. Other examples in this vein include Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, aka “Brangelina”, as well as Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, who were dubbed “Kimye”.

Speaking of nicknames, Lopez is also known as J.Lo or J-Lo (an abbreviation of Jennifer Lopez).

What’s the big deal about Affleck and Lopez?

Well, in the mists of the early 2000s, Affleck and Lopez (Bennifer 1.0) were one of the hottest couples around, with their combined star power as an Oscar-winning actor and a global pop singer.

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The couple originally began dating in July 2002 after filming the romcom Gigli together. They got engaged that November before postponing their September 2003 wedding, then finally calling off their engagement in January 2004.

The duo reached the peak of their powers in late 2002 when Affleck co-starred in a raunchy music video for Lopez’s hit song Jenny from the Block. They also worked together on the movie Jersey Girl.

The low point? Gigli, released in August 2003, famously became one of the most expensive box office bombs in history, grossing $7.2 million (£5.1m) against a $75.6m (£54m) budget.

Then what happened?

Hearts were broken. Affleck went on to marry a different Jennifer – the actor Jennifer Garner – while Lopez wed Latin music artist Marc Anthony. They have both since divorced from their respective spouses.

How did Bennifer 2.0 come about?

Rumours that Affleck and Lopez might be dating again surfaced in May after both appeared at Global Citizen’s Vax Live: The Concert To Reunite The World.

Lopez posted a photograph on Instagram from her 52nd birthday celebrations last weekend that showed her and Affleck locked in a smouldering embrace.

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In recent days, paparazzi shots of the pair on a superyacht in St Tropez have seen the couple recreating a tongue-in-cheek homage to the famed Jenny from the Block video.

But why is everyone all of a flutter?

In a nutshell: nostalgia. Bennifer 2.0 transports many people back to simpler and more carefree times. A halcyon era where we weren’t living through the endless, soul-sapping grind of a pandemic. Besides, who isn’t a sucker for a happy ending?