Matt Damon admits 'it was painful' being Ben Affleck's friend during J.Lo romance

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Matt Damon Says It Was "Painful" to Be Friends When Ben Affleck Dated J Lo


Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have one of Hollywood's most famous friendships. From winning an Oscar together for writing Good Will Hunting, which they also co-starred in, to co-producing the filmmaking docu-series Project Greenlight, the two have been inseparable for years.

Now, speaking with The Hollywood Reporter while promoting his upcoming film The Martian, Damon opened up about Affleck and the recent personal troubles his friend has been facing.

WATCH: Matt Damon Says Ben Affleck Gay Rumors 'Put Us in a Weird Position'

"There's nobody who's more misunderstood," Damon said of Affleck. "Ten years ago, the public image of him could not have been farther apart from who he actually is."

A decade ago Affleck's career was far different from the one he's been enjoying in recent years. A string of unsuccessful or critically dismissed films had given Affleck a bad name, and relationship drama with his then-fiancee, Jennifer Lopez, kept his name in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon through the years:

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Ben Affleck and Matt Damon through the years
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Matt Damon admits 'it was painful' being Ben Affleck's friend during J.Lo romance
Actors Ben Affleck, 25, left, and Matt Damon, 27, pose during an interview in New York Nov. 22, 1997. The two friends from high school days in Cambridge, Mass. wrote and star in the movie, "Good Will Hunting." (AP Photo/Yukio Gion)
Matt Damon, right, and Ben Affleck hold their Best Screenplay for a Motion Picture award at the 55th Annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif., Sunday, Jan. 18, 1998. Damon and Affleck won for the film "Good Will Hunting." (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Cast members of the new Gus Van Sant film, "Good Will Hunting" Ben Affleck, left, Minnie Driver and Matt Damon arrive at the premiere of the movie Tuesday, Dec. 2, 1997, in Los Angeles. The movie also stars Robin Williams. (AP Photo/John Hayes)
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, right, react to winning the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for "Good Will Hunting" at the 70th Academy Awards in Los Angeles Monday, March 23, 1998. (AP Photo/Susan Sterner)
Actors Matt Damon, left, and Ben Affleck arrive for the 71st Annual Academy Awards at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Los Angeles Music Center Sunday, March 21, 1999. (AP Photo/Dave Caulkin)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 23: Oscar winners Matt Damon (L) and Ben Affleck hold the awards they won for best original screenplay for the film 'Good Will Hunting' which the two wrote during the 70th Annual Academy Awards 23 March in Los Angeles. (Photo credit should read HAL GARB/AFP/Getty Images)
Ben Affleck, right, tells a crowd at a Harvard Workers First! rally Saturday, May 6, 2000, in Cambridge, Mass., that his father was underpaid and underappreciated as a Harvard University custodial supervisor. Affleck and Matt Damon, left, were at the rally, organized by the Harvard Living Wage Campaign, to lend their support for increasing service workers' hourly wage to $10.25. (AP Photo/SEVANS)
Actors Ben Affleck, left, and Matt Damon, two of the creators of the documentary series "Project Greenlight," arrive together to announce the winners of the third edition of the series in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles, Tuesday, July 13, 2004. A first-time director and first-time screenwriter were to be chosen from over 6,000 entries and awarded a budget of at least $1 million from Miramax Films to make a full-length feature. Bravo will air the filmmaking process in a documentary series beginningFebruary 2005. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Ben Affleck, left, and Matt Damon pose for photos on the red carpet prior to the world premiere of "Feast" at the Palms Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2006. Affleck and Damon are executive producers of the film which was made possible by the duo's television show "Project Greenlight". (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
Actor and honoree Matt Damon, left, and actor Ben Affleck on stage at The 24th American Cinematheque Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. on Saturday, March 27, 2010. (AP Photo/Dan Steinberg)
Actor Ben Affleck, right, and actor and honoree Matt Damon embrace at The 24th American Cinematheque Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. on Saturday, March 27, 2010. (AP Photo/Dan Steinberg)
Ben Affleck, left, and Matt Damon attend the Modern Master Award Ceremony at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Friday, Jan.25, 2013, in Santa Barbara, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are seen at the HBO Project Greenlight Filmmaker Showcase on Friday, Nov. 7, 2014 in Hollywood, Calif. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision for HBO/AP Images)
Matt Damon, left, and Ben Affleck arrives at Project Greenlight Season Four Winner Revealed on Friday, Nov 07, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR HBO - Matt Damon, left, and Ben Affleck are seen at the HBO Project Greenlight Filmmaker Showcase on Friday, Nov. 7, 2014 in Hollywood, Calif. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision for HBO/AP Images)
LOS ANGELES - JULY 25: Actors Ben Affleck and Matt Damon talk at the afterparty for the premiere of Universal Picture's 'The Bourne Ultimatum' at the Hollywood Palladium on July 25, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 07: Actors Matt Damon (L) and Ben Affleck attend HBO Reveals Winner of 'Project Greenlight' Season 4 at BOULEVARD3 on November 7, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 27: Honoree actor Matt Damon and actor Ben Affleck speak onstage during American Cinematheque 24th Annual Award Presentation To Matt Damon at The Beverly Hilton hotel on March 27, 2010 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE: AFTER THE OSCARS - The 11th annual 'Jimmy Kimmel Live: After The Oscars' special airs live on Oscar Sunday, February 28, after the late local news EST/CST and at 10pm PST on ABC. (Photo by Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images) MATT DAMON, BEN AFFLECK
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE: AFTER THE OSCARS - The 11th annual 'Jimmy Kimmel Live: After The Oscars' special airs live on Oscar Sunday, February 28, after the late local news EST/CST and at 10pm PST on ABC. (Photo by Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images) MATT DAMON, BEN AFFLECK
CULVER CITY, CA - JUNE 04: Honorees Matt Damon (L) and Ben Affleck accept the Guys Of The Decade award onstage during Spike TV's 10th Annual Guys Choice Awards at Sony Pictures Studios on June 4, 2016 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
CULVER CITY, CA - JUNE 04: (L-R) Actors Robert De Niro, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck attend Spike TV's 10th Annual Guys Choice Awards at Sony Pictures Studios on June 4, 2016 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images for Spike TV)
CULVER CITY, CA - JUNE 04: Honorees Ben Affleck (L) and Matt Damon accept the Guys of the Decade Award onstage during Spike TV's 10th Annual Guys Choice Awards at Sony Pictures Studios on June 4, 2016 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images for Spike TV)
CULVER CITY, CA - JUNE 04: Actors Ben Affleck (L) and Matt Damon attend Spike TV's 10th Annual Guys Choice Awards at Sony Pictures Studios on June 4, 2016 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Spike TV)
CULVER CITY, CA - JUNE 04: Actors Matt Damon (L) and Ben Affleck attend Spike TV's 10th Annual Guys Choice Awards at Sony Pictures Studios on June 4, 2016 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Spike TV)
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"It was like he was being cast in a role, that he was a talentless kind of meathead, with his whole relationship with Jennifer Lopez. He just got cast as this person that he wasn't," Damon said, adding, "It was just really painful. It was painful to be his friend, because it wasn't fair, you know? To my mind, nobody really got him at all."

However, Damon celebrated his friend's career comeback – including a successful directing career and a slew of popular and acclaimed performances – and credited Affleck's work ethic for his success.

WATCH: Matt Damon Shares Update on Ben Affleck, Admits 'Marriage Is Insane'

"Through his work, he climbed from the bottom of the mountain all the way back up to the top and past where either of us had ever been," Damon said.

Damon stars in Ridley Scott's highly anticipated sci-fi drama The Martian, which hits theaters Oct. 2. Check out the exciting trailer below.

Matt Damon Is Stranded in Space in Epic 'The Martian' Trailer

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