Ben Affleck: I Still Stay in Touch with Jennifer Lopez

10/10/2012 at 02:30 PM EDT

Jennifer Lopez Still Gets Emails from Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck
Courtesy THR

Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck

Their engagement went down in tabloid flames and the box-office bomb Gigli, but nearly a decade later Ben Affleck remains friendly with his ex, Jennifer Lopez.

"We don't have the kind of relationship where she relies on me for advice," he tells The Hollywood Reporter, "but we do have the kind of relationship where there'll be an e-mail saying, 'Oh, your movie looks great.' "

"I remember when she got American Idol," he continues. "I said: 'This was really smart. Good luck.' I touch base. I respect her. I like her. She's put up with some stuff that was unfair in her life, and I'm really pleased to see her successful."

Once a Hollywood wild child – "I went to rehab for being 29 and partying too much and not having a lot of boundaries," he says – Affleck, 40, has grown up and settled down.

Married to Jennifer Garner with three children, Affleck is now one of the most respected filmmakers, with his latest movie, Argo, generating Oscar buzz.

Still, the negative side of celebrity never goes away. He has collected several guns since Garner faced an alleged stalker, who was ordered to a psychiatric hospital in 2010.

"It gave me a stronger sense of feeling protective about my family," Affleck tells The Hollywood Reporter. "There's a lot of crazy, weird people out there. It's an ugly world."

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