Leave it to Jennifer Garner to take the high road.

With the paparazzi once again swarming around her and her three children while ex-husband Ben Affleck takes his family through his latest personal drama — the reported breakdown of his high-profile marriage to Jennifer Lopez — Garner is providing a classy counterpoint.

The always sane, forthright and upbeat Garner has posted a lengthy and heartfelt message of thanks to the teachers at the Los Angeles-area elementary school that all three of her children with Affleck attended. She explained how they provided “a safe haven for our family” — a family that she’s said has often had to endure the “circus” of a celebrity lifestyle.

Actress Jennifer Garner poses with her children Violet Affleck, Seraphina Rose Elizabeth Affleck and Samuel Garner Affleck at her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, August 20, 2018 in Hollywood, California. – Garner, who received the 2,641st star in the Motion Picture category, stars in the soon to be released film “Peppermint.” (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images) 

Garner’s Instagram message came as their youngest son, Samuel, 12, graduated from the school this week. But as Garner was well aware, this milestone was documented by paparazzi camped outside the school to capture photos of the family’s comings and goings — specifically of Affleck and Lopez arriving separately and therefore seeming to provide more evidence of their imminent divorce.

So, it’s curious but not surprising that Garner’s message referred to this elementary school as “a safe haven.”  In sharing her appreciation for her children’s “caring” and “hard-working” teachers, the “Alias” star both acknowledged her children’s privilege but also seemed to allude to the struggles the three have faced as the offspring of famous celebrities who’ve always attracted a lot of media attention, including right outside their school.

“The world is a lot for anyone, and so many children struggle with real loss and hardship that it feels selfish to want more for kids who want so much,” Garner said. “But I wanted my three kids to have a safe space where they could focus on the business of being little, and where education and character were prioritized.”

Garner has spoken in the past about how the intense media focus on her and Affleck — but especially on Affleck and his various personal dramas — has made life difficult for their children, Violet, 18, Seraphina, 15, and Samuel. In a 2021 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Garner shared how, when Violet was only in kindergarten, she had already been “chased in and out of schools and kicked off a soccer team because of the circus her parents would create.”

At a gathering of celebrity parents that Garner hosted, she said a young Violet revealed: “We didn’t ask for this. We don’t want these cameras, they’re scary. The men are scary, they knock each other over and it’s hard to feel like a kid when you’re being chased.’”

In that same Hollywood Reporter interview, Garner revealed that she and Affleck don’t have “any family photos” because their children had become afraid of cameras. She also said she accepted that she chose public life, but her children didn’t.

US actress Jennifer Lopez (R) and US actor Ben Affleck attend Amazon’s “This is Me… Now: A Love Story” premiere at the Dolby theatre in Hollywood, California, February 13, 2024. (Photo by Robyn BECK / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images) 

The tabloid interest in Garner began as soon as she and Affleck became a couple, as he was coming off his first “made-for-the-cameras” romantic stint with Lopez. After she married Affleck in 2005, she told the Hollywood Reporter that she would often see as many as 20 paparazzi parked at the foot of their driveway and, for a decade, “the cavalcade would trail her everywhere she went.” The paparazzi and entertainment news media also followed Affleck and Garner’s long, drawn-out split, reporting on his cheating, drinking and trips to rehab.

The “circus” has never gone away. It picked up steam when Affleck and Lopez rekindled their romance in 2021 and married the following year. The attention has gone into hyperdrive with reports that Affleck and Lopez’s short marriage is falling apart.

The circus was definitely present outside Samuel’s elementary school Wednesday. That’s when media outlets like TMZ, Page Six, E! News and People reported on how Affleck arrived with his mother, while Lopez walked in separately with her 16-year-old child, Emme, Samuel’s step-sibling. Page Six described Lopez as if she were walking the red carpet at a movie premiere, wearing “a big grin” and wearing a simple but stunning short beige dress with scalloped hem.

The outlets also reported that Affleck and Lopez couldn’t muster an air-kiss greeting, as they had when paparazzi photographed them arriving separately at another event involving Samuel, his June 2 basketball game in Santa Monica.

The paparazzi also were present later Wednesday when Affleck hosted a graduation party for his son at his $100,000-a-month rental home in Brentwood, where the actor and filmmaker has been living since he left the marital home. Photographers documented the show of family unity even amid “marital tensions,” with both Lopez and Garner seen entering the mansion, as People reported.

A source told People that Lopez and Affleck remain “friendly” despite their marital problems. Another source told In Touch Weekly this week that Affleck just wants to handle the divorce “as sensitively” as possible and “do this in a civilized way and make sure the split is as smooth as possible for the kids.”

Affleck’s three children have bonded with Lopez and her 16-year-old twins, as evidenced by the fact that the singer and her twins also attended Violet’s high school graduation on May 30, as People reported. The paparazzi were there as well, with the Daily Mail reporting that Lopez and Affleck were seen holding hands. More displays of family unity came on Thursday, when Lopez was photographed heading into a Beverly Hills hotel to enjoy lunch with Violet Affleck, Page Six reported.

Actor Ben Affleck and actress Jennifer Garner pose during the 16th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards at the Hollywood Palladium on January 14, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for VH1)
Actor Ben Affleck and actress Jennifer Garner pose during the 16th annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards at the Hollywood Palladium on January 14, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for VH1) 

For Garner’s part, she’s tried to keep the focus on the celebration of her children and their milestones. She generated headlines late month by posting Instagram photos of herself, crying at Violet’s graduation. Celebrity friends also weighed in about Garner’s recognition that her oldest has become an adult and is moving on. Reese Witherspoon wrote, with a heart and a crying emoji: “Oh honey … I know. You have done a great job , mama! I will be here for support and lots of hugs.”

In Garner’s message of thanks this week to her children’s school, she wrote, “Thank you for caring about my children with me, for tying their shoes and holding their hands. Thank you for disciplining my kids when they’ve needed it and for offering more hugs than some children receive in a lifetime.”

Garner concluded, “Thank you for a beautiful 13 years. I cannot imagine our family landing anywhere better.”

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