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Why Jennifer Garner Says Her Marriage to "Felicity" Co-Star Scott Foley "Imploded"

They got married before Garner became a massive star with Alias.

Before her high-profile relationship with Daredevil co-star Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner was married to another actor: Scandal's Scott Foley. They met when they were both appearing on the teen drama Felicity, Garner became a full-fledged star just months after they tied the knot, changing the course of their relationship and leading to their 2004 divorce. Read on to find out why Garner said that her and Foley's marriage "imploded" and how their relationship stands now.

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They met on Felicity.

Jennifer Garner and Scott Foley in 1999
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Foley and Garner met in 1998 when Foley was starring alongside Keri Russell in the WB college drama Felicity. Garner was cast in a recurring role as Hanna Bibb, the long-distance girlfriend of Foley's character, Noel Crane.

"We met on the show, and we hit it off instantly and were soon dating," he recalled in a 2021 episode of Andy Cohen's SiriusXM show, according to E! News. They tied the knot in 2000, when both were 28. In 2003, Garner told People that they "were just two normal people who really loved each other" and "got quietly married in [their] backyard after being together for a couple of years." Sadly, the happiness would not last.

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Then Alias happened.

Scott Foley and Jennifer Garner in 2002
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc

Her future husband wasn't the only important person Garner met on the Felicity set. She also got to know show co-creator and future big shot J.J. Abrams. While working on the primetime soap, Abrams began daydreaming about an alternate Felicity who had a secret life as a spy, sowing the seeds for the character of grad-student-turned-secret-agent Sydney Bristow, according to TV Line's 2016 oral history of Alias.

When that dream came to life in the form of Alias, and he needed to cast the character, Abrams thought of Garner.

"When I was writing the pilot, having worked with Jen on Felicity, she was in my mind as a very strong contender for the role," Abrams said. "My wife, Katie, said, 'You have to write something for Jen.' And so Jen kept coming up in my mind as a potential candidate for this. And no one else did. But I was trying not to think of Jen because I wanted Sydney to be her own thing that then Jen could bring to life, or whomever. But there was no one else I really considered but her."

Foley said Garner becoming "a huge celebrity" ended their marriage.

Jennifer Garner signing autographs in 2004
Mark Mainz/Getty Images

With Alias, Garner quickly became a household name, soon landing parts in Pearl Harbor and Catch Me If You Can opposite the likes of Ben Affleck and Leonardo DiCaprio. By early 2003, she was presenting at the Oscars—notably without Foley as her date. That date—March 23—was later documented as the official date of their separation, according to InStyle. The pair officially announced their split on April 1, 2003.

Garner later said that they "really were the victims of Hollywood" and its "fast-lane life," per the publication. However, some reports linked her to Alias costar Michael Vartan, leading to rumors that infidelity had led to the end of the marriage. Foley quickly denied this, however, telling TV Guide (as quoted by People), "Nobody else was involved," he said. "Jennifer became a huge celebrity. She became a huge star, and she deserved everything she got. There was no other relationship, there was no infidelity, nothing. People get divorced, you know? Through no one's fault and everyone's fault."

Foley also alluded to the sacrifices Garner had made for stardom, sharing that that level of fame held little interest for him. "I've seen the demands that it requires, and I don't have the patience for that," the actor said.

Both of them moved on—with no hard feelings.

Marika Dominczyk and Scott Foley in 2017
Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

Not long after their divorce, Foley starred on Broadway alongside Dagmara Domińczyk, whose sister, Grey's Anatomy actor Marika Domińczyk, he went on to marry in 2006. Garner and Vartan ended things in 2004, and she moved on with Affleck after she played Elektra in 2003's Daredevil. The pair wed in 2005. At the time, Garner was pregnant with their first daughter, Violet. Two more children—Seraphina and Samuel—followed.

The couple announced their split in 2015 and finalized their divorce in 2018, an experience Garner told Vanity Fair caused further heartbreak.

"It's one of the pains in my life that something I believe in so strongly I've completely failed at twice," she said in 2016.

But despite her regret, she has looked back at her first marriage, to Foley, with nothing but kind words. In a 2013 interview with Allure (as quoted by InStyle), she reiterated that the relationship simply couldn't survive its Hollywood circumstances.

"Oh, [Scott's] a great guy," Garner said. "We were full-on grown-ups, but looking back I'm aware we did not know what hit us…He's a really good guy, and we just imploded."

Andrew Miller
Andrew Miller is a pop culture writer living in New York. Read more
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