Halle Berry Had a "Breakdown" After Eric Benét Admitted Affairs With Multiple Women
His infidelity was first reported in the press only 10 days after she won her Oscar.
When Halle Berry celebrated one of the biggest accomplishments of her career, her husband Eric Benét was by her side. In 2002, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Monster's Ball, and as she tearfully began her speech, Benét stood up to give her an ovation and show his support. But, as Berry explained in an interview with Oprah Winfrey a couple of years later, she went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows in less than two weeks after that.
Ten days after that Oscars ceremony, a report surfaced of Benét cheating on Berry. Not only was the actor faced with that claim of her husband's infidelity, but later, she found out that he had had affairs with multiple women. In a 2004 interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Berry explained that she had a "breakdown" after she learned that Benét had cheated, even though she initially was determined to save their marriage. Read on to find out more about the demise of this memorable early aughts couple, including the Die Another Day star's ex's side of the story.
Berry didn't want to leave Benét initially.
In her interview with Winfrey, Berry recounted how, a little over a week after her Oscar win, an article that was published that included claims Benét had cheated. She didn't believe the story and even said she was prepared to sue the magazine. Berry said that she didn't even ask her husband of a year whether the report was true. Regardless, he admitted that it was.
"It was heartbreaking, because I had a perfect marriage," she said. "I mean, this is one of the kindest men I think I've ever known, on many levels."
The X-Men star wanted to move forward with her marriage despite the cheating. "I was going to fix it," she said. "I thought, I can do this." She said that she even questioned whether she had done something wrong in the marriage, such as work too much.
Benét admitted to being unfaithful with multiple women.
Berry said that after Benét told her that the magazine story was true, he still seemed "despondent." Later, when her husband came to London where she was filming Die Another Day, he admitted that there were more affairs than the one mentioned in the media. Berry learned that he had been cheating since the beginning of their relationship.
"The next two weeks of my life, he stayed there and this vomiting happened, and I found out there was woman after woman after woman after woman after woman," she told Winfrey. "And then I realized he had a sickness."
While Berry had accepted the challenge of working on their marriage after one affair, news of several more sent her down a dark path. "I had an emotional breakdown. And that window, my bay window looked real good," she said. "And I thought I was going to go right through it. I had a little breakdown, took a couple days off work."
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Benét sought treatment for sex addiction.
Berry said that her mother, Judith Ann Hawkins, suggested that Benét struggled with sex addiction. He eventually entered a rehab program but later said that he realized that wasn't his issues.
"I am not a sex addict," Benét told ABC News in 2004. "I am a person who … through a series of emotional events, troubles, challenges, made some really, really stupid, painful mistakes." Benét also said that the cheating did not involve intercourse with other people.
On Oprah, Berry said, "I thought, if he were a drug addict, would I be leaving him now? Absolutely not. If he were an alcoholic, would I be leaving now? No way. I would not. I would stick it out, and support him, and fight." Winfrey pointed out that cheating feels different to a partner than those other issues.
"I've come to realize that two years later," Berry clarified, "but in the initial moment, I wanted to save my marriage more than anything in the world."
Benét said he was "very much in love with" Berry.
In a 2005 interview with People, Benét shared that he and Berry tried to work on their marriage after his time in the program, before they officially split in 2003.
"We did get back together after that," he said. "We tried to rediscover this groove of feeling comfortable and safe and trustworthy in the relationship. I was very much in love with my wife. But I personally could only contribute 50 percent. Ultimately what was the end of us was she just couldn't trust me anymore. You can't blame her for that."
He continued, "Halle came into the relationship with her issues and I came into the relationship definitely with my issues. It was the perfect situation for it to be completely non-conducive to working this out. It was like the Titanic going down."
They had a war of words in the press.
Berry and Benét's divorce was finalized in 2005. As reported by The Daily Beast, in 2006, she was asked about paying alimony to her ex by CanWest News Service. "Yeah, that's not good," she said. "Especially when he cheats on you like 27 times."
Benét responded to Berry's comment in the New York Post (via Contactmusic.com). "If she said that, that I cheated on her 27 times, then she is simply lying," the singer-songwriter said. "Straight out, that's a lie and a gross, gross exaggeration of what happened in our marriage. I've admitted my indiscretion and apologized and took responsibility. I think maybe it's time for Halle to take some responsibility, instead of constantly casting herself in this victim mode and implying her commitment to our marriage was without flaw." He also criticized Berry for speaking out, because of the "hurtful" effect it would have on his then-teenage daughter.
Benét slammed his ex more recently.
As reported by The Daily Beast, in 2015, when Berry split from her third husband, Olivier Martinez, her first husband, David Justice, tweeted that Berry "and her Hollywood Team just tried to destroy my character" after he split from the star in 1997. He added, "Yup…Me, Eric, Gabriel and Olivier were all her 'Knight in Shining Armor,' until it ends. Then we all become the worst guys in history."
Benét then tweeted, "My man at @23davidjustice is tweeting some truth dis' mornin'!"
Benét also referenced his marriage to Berry in 2017 when Jay-Z released the song "Kill Jay Z." The song includes the lyrics, "You almost went Eric Benét/Let the baddest girl in the world get away."
Us Weekly reported that Benét tweeted, "Hey yo #Jayz! Just so ya know, I got the baddest girl in the world as my wife….like right now! ✌?" Since 2011, Benét has been married to Manuela Testolini. As for Berry, she is currently in a relationship with musician Van Hunt.
If you are or a loved one is struggling with suicide or depression, you can call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or visit 988lifeline.org.