Jennifer Garner’s Agent Refused to Let Her Turn Down This Role Without Retiring

Actor Jennifer Garner is as busy as she’s ever been, juggling multiple upcoming movies as well as an organic baby food company — not to mention her personal obligations. But at one time, she was nearly forced into retirement. Which project kept her in the game?

Jennifer Garner broke out as a star in the ’00s

Following a handful of minor movie roles and TV appearances in the ’90s, Garner landed her big break with the ABC action thriller series Alias. The show ran from 2001-2006, catapulting the actor to superstardom. She portrayed the lead, spy Sydney Bristow, for all five seasons.

During breaks from Alias, Garner worked on several notable film projects. She starred as Elektra in Daredevil (alongside future husband Ben Affleck) and her Marvel spinoff, Elektra. Garner also began to gain traction as a romantic comedy star with movies like 13 Going on 30 and Catch and Release.

She took time off to raise her family

Jennifer Garner poses with her children Violet Affleck, Seraphina Affleck, and Samuel Affleck at her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, August 20, 2018.
Jennifer Garner poses with her children Violet Affleck, Seraphina Affleck, and Samuel Affleck at her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, August 20, 2018. | Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

Garner and Affleck began dating in 2004 after splitting from respective partners Scott Foley and Jennifer Lopez. They married in 2005 and subsequently had three children: Violet in 2005, Seraphina in 2009, and Samuel in 2012. The pair separated in 2015 and divorced in 2018.

Over the years, Garner’s prioritized her family time and again. She fought for legislation to prevent paparazzi from taking photos of her children and considers them her greatest achievement. “I don’t have two Oscars on my mantle, I’ve raised them,” she told The Hollywood Reporter in 2021.

Garner’s agent offered her an ultimatum if she didn’t take 1 role

Jennifer Garner smiling in front of a purple background
Jennifer Garner on November 09, 2019, in Culver City, California. | Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic

Garner continued to act in a few poorly received films like The Odd Life of Timothy Green in between having her kids. But she admits that because she “said no to everything and kept getting pregnant,” her career was in trouble. And her agent at the time told her as much.

“He said, ‘This is going to be a call about one of two things: It’s going to be a call about you doing this little movie, or it’s going to be a call about you retiring,'” she explained. Though “overwhelmed,” Garner agreed. “I didn’t want to be done acting, so I said, ‘OK, I’ll do it.'”

Why she’s grateful to still have a career

The film in question, Dallas Buyers Club, earned multiple Oscars, and Garner jumped back into acting with both feet. This includes making her way into producing with projects like March 2021’s Yes Day. As friends like Reese Witherspoon have told her: “Don’t think that people are out there writing for women in their mid-to-late 40s.”

Maintaining a presence in Hollywood isn’t easy. “It’s a very hungry, greedy career and a very unforgiving one,” said Garner. Despite prioritizing her kids, she’s got a lot more in the works. “For someone who has chosen family way more often than I probably should have, I can’t believe I’m still here.”