NEW YORK: Hollywood star Ben Affleck has finally broken his silence about his decision to move away from starring in the titular role as "The Batman", which he was also attached to direct.
The actor, who played the Dark Knight in three films in the DC Entertainment Universe, revealed that alcoholism, his divorce from actor Jennifer Garner, and a "troubled shoot" on "Justice League" prompted him to abandon the role.
"I showed somebody 'The Batman' script. They said, 'I think the script is good. I also think you'll drink yourself to death if you go through what you just went through again'," Affleck told the New York Times.
The Oscar winner made the revelation more than a year after he announced his departure from the film.
Director Matt Reeves, best known for sci-fi series "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" and "War for the Planet of the Apes", stepped in for Affleck and Robert Pattinson took on the lead role.
Reeves had co-written the script with the actor but later opted to pen his own version.
Affleck first donned the cowl in 2016's "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" and went on to reprise the role in an uncredited turn as Batman in "Suicide Squad" the same year.
"Justice League" was his last appearance as the Caped Crusader. The 47-year-old actor has not be very vocal about his alcohol issues since he completed a third stint in a rehabilitation facility in 2018.
He had then checked into a rehab at the insistence of Garner.
He did his first two stints in 2001 and 2017.
"Relapse is embarrassing, obviously. I wish it didn't happen. I really wish it wasn't on the Internet for my kids to see. Jen and I did our best to address it and be honest...
"I drank relatively normally for a long time. What happened was that I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart. This was 2015, 2016. My drinking, of course, created more marital problems," he recalled.
Affleck said his divorce from Garner is the "biggest regret" of his life.
The former couple married in 2005 and have daughters Violet, 14; Seraphina, 11, and son Samuel, 7 together.
They parted ways in 2018 after a long separation.
He said he still felt guilt but had moved past shame.
"The biggest regret of my life is this divorce. Shame is really toxic. There is no positive byproduct of shame. It's just stewing in a toxic, hideous feeling of low self-worth and self-loathing.
The actor described the now sober and fellow stars Bradley Cooper and Robert Downey Jr as "guys who have been very supportive and to whom I feel a great sense of gratitude".
"One of the things about recovery that I think people sometimes overlook is the fact that it inculcates certain values. Be honest. Be accountable. Help other people. Apologise when you're wrong," he added.
Affleck will next be seen in "The Way Back", in which he plays a former basketball all-star, who after struggling with alcohol addiction, attempts to make a comeback by becoming the coach of a disparate high school basketball team at his alma mater.