Affleck and Lopez dated in the early part of the new century and they became engaged in 2002. The press dubbed them 'Bennifer' and poked fun at their romance and their flop film Gigli at every opportunity, and Damon admits it was tough for him to see his friend go through that.

He tells The Hollywood Reporter, "There's nobody who's more misunderstood (than Affleck). Ten years ago, the public image of him could not have been farther apart from who he actually is. 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. 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. And 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 is now among Affleck's close circle of friends, who are supporting the actor/director as he copes with the end of his 10-year marriage to Jennifer Garner.