This is the logic that seems to be guiding Alex Rodriguez’s activities as of late, which over the weekend included attending the Hamptons birthday party of Ben Affleck’s ex, Lindsay Shookus. Affleck and Shookus dated on and off between 2017 and 2019, pre-Ana de Armas, Affleck’s most recent ex. (Remember BenAna?)
Footage obtained by Page Six shows the Rodriguez and Shookus sitting beside each other at what the outlet termed an “intimate backyard gathering.”
A spokesperson for Rodriguez told the outlet that there’s nothing even remotely romantic between them—“There is absolutely zero there; they’ve been friends for 15 years”—but that doesn’t matter much, does it? What matters is the optics, and the optics are A-Rod hanging out with the ex of the man hanging out with his ex.
Rodriguez was also recently spotted with an ex of his own. Just a little more than a week ago, Rodriguez worked out with his ex-wife, Cynthia Scurtis, which we know because he posted about it on Instagram.
Both of these incidents seem innocent enough: Keeping on good terms with the mother of one’s children, attending a longtime friend’s birthday celebration. But one can’t discount the rather likely-seeming possibility that Rodriguez is engaged in a post-breakup public relations battle of the exes.
“Battle” may be too strong a word, but both J.Lo and A-Rod are undoubtedly using the media to shape the narratives they want to be told about them. As Jez blogger Joan Summers put it, Bennifer 2.0 helped usher in a “new era of classic celebrity chaos,” that involves forgoing the self-publicizing capabilities of social media and “embracing publicity the old-fashioned way” with strolls in front of the paps, and deliberately showy public appearances. It only makes sense that Rodriguez would want in on the action too.