Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic; Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic
02/19/2009 at 08:55 AM EST
combined a cause
close to his heart with his favorite leading lady at L.A.'s House of Blues Wednesday night.
For the Children Mending Hearts Gala, Affleck, 36, received a surprise visit from his wife, Jennifer Garner
Delivering an impassioned speech about the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Affleck politely stepped aside when the event's Humanitarian of the Year winner, CNN stud Anderson Cooper, took to the podium – allowing Affleck to return to his table, where Garner awaited him with open arms.
Garner, also 36, dressed in a dark cocktail dress, had slipped in to the gathering without fanfare and then peppered kisses upon Affleck's cheek.
With two young girls
waiting at home, the couple's date didn't last long, however. After 20 minutes Garner slipped out as quietly as she had arrived.
Affleck remained to take in a brief but rousing set by Sheryl Crow
Others in attendance included Benji and Joel Madden
, Kate Walsh
, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Hank Azaria, Marisa Tomei, Alyssa Milano, Elizabeth Berkeley, Tate Donovan and Malin Akerman.
2002: Ben rallies to raise wages for blue-collar workers at Harvard
See how Ben & Jen went from pals to parents