Lindsay Shookus isn't just Ben Affleck's girlfriend — she's a badass

Taryn Ryder
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

When Ben Affleck started dating Lindsay Shookus last year, little was known about the Saturday Night Live producer — and that’s apparently exactly how she prefers it.

The 37-year-old television producer sat down for a rare interview with Elle and gave people a glimpse into her private world. Hint: She’s a badass and her famous boyfriend is probably the least interesting thing about her.

Here are seven things we learned from Shookus’s sit-down:

She discovered Kristen Wiig

Shookus was working under SNL producing legend Marci Klein when she came across the audition tape of an unknown comedian in 2005. At Shookus’s suggestion, they brought Wiig in for an audition.

“She saw my tape — I don’t know if it was lost in the shuffle or what — and she took it to the right people and was like, ‘I really think we should audition this person,’” Wiig recalls to the magazine. “Auditioning for SNL is a very nerve-racking experience, and Lindsay and I clicked. She kind of talked me down a little bit — I was very nervous. She was with me through the whole process; I’ll never forget that.”

Wiig starred on SNL for seven seasons and said Shookus was almost like a guidance counselor on set. “She’s very present with the cast; she’s at the read-through; she’s at the promos,” the comedian says. “She’s there every day and night. If you’re having trouble or just need someone to talk to, she’s definitely that person.”

The Bridesmaids actress is hardly the only celeb who loves Shookus — Dwayne Johnson and Miley Cyrus both sent glowing emails for the profile saying how wonderful she is.

She helped launch Sam Smith’s career

Smith performed on the show in 2014 before the U.S. debut of his album In the Lonely Hour, and he has Shookus to thank for getting booked.

“I went down to South by Southwest specifically to see him, because I’d heard his album and was just crazy for it,” she explains. “In my head, I was like, No matter what happens, he will be a beautiful singer on our show.”

Smith was a hit. “Honestly, it changed my life. And I’m not just saying that,” the singer tells the magazine. “I remember the day after, I just felt a shift. I don’t enjoy singing on TV a lot of the time; I find it quite scary. But for me, SNL is a safe space. Lindsay is that safe space. I’ll never forget her taking a chance on me in that moment.”

She became one of the top producers at SNL at age 32

When Klein left the NBC show in 2012, Shookus took over, becoming one of only two female head producers. She started as an assistant in the talent department in 2002, and her work ethic drew the attention of those around her right away.

“I was the first one in; I was the last one out,” Shookus recalls. “I was always like, ‘I’ll go! Send me to the shoot. I’ll stay till midnight, it’s OK.’ That’s the glorious thing about being 22 — you have the energy. I lived on 50th Street. I worked on 50th Street. I walked the same four blocks every day.”

She quickly became Klein’s protégé and a favorite of SNL creator Lorne Michaels’s. “Very early on, Marci let me interact with talent and take over more responsibilities,” Shookus explains. “She just really liked me and she thought I was good. I think I came at the right moment at SNL. There was a space for me, and I was good at it.”

Lindsay Shookus and the SNL team pose with their Emmys on Sept. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo: Getty Images)

She discovered she was pregnant days after her big promotion

Shookus married co-worker and fellow producer Kevin Miller — more on that next — in 2010 and found out she was expecting right after taking over for Klein. “Within the span of five days, I found out that I was taking over the department and also that I was pregnant,” she says. “I was in a pure panic. Both of those things I’d wanted for so long — I just didn’t imagine it all happening at the exact same time.”

She kept her pregnancy a secret for 21 weeks. “I wanted the chance to prove that I could do the job without everyone worrying, like, Uh-oh, she’s pregnant, she’s going to be a mom,” she admits. “I had a lot to prove that year.”

And she proved it. Shookus even worked a 14-hour day on her due date: “I wore heels and a dress, and at the end of the show, I remember Lorne looked at me and was like, ‘You going to the party?’ I was like, ‘No, Lorne. I’m gonna go have a baby now.’”

Shookus was back to work after six weeks. “I was surprised at how healing going back to work was for me, in the way of, like, this is who I am,” she reflects. “I’m not just a mom. It reminded me of what I’m good at and what made me feel good.”

She’s still close with her ex-husband

Not a whole lot is known about Shookus and Miller’s split — but a whole lot has been speculated on, particularly when their divorce lines up with Affleck and Jennifer Garner’s separation. Tabloids have alleged that Shookus and Affleck were unfaithful, something sources in the actor’s camp have denied.

Shookus and Miller met on her first day of work and wed eight years later. They have one 5-year-old daughter, and the author of the Elle article notes she is fiercely protective of her ex-husband and the details of their split. However, when Shookus and Affleck got together reports claimed she and Miller had been separated for some time. Regardless of the details, they are clearly amicable. The producer tells the magazine that she threw her ex-husband his 40th birthday party.

She’s fun

While Wiig praised Shookus’s work ethic, she also noted the girl is a blast, telling the magazine the two became close friends, spending “many nights out in the city.” Wiig adds, “Lindsay is fun to get a drink with and is also one of the better dancers I know.”

Shookus has lots of friends — some famous, some not — and recently threw a women-only get-together at her apartment called “Women Work F***ing Hard.” It wasn’t for any specific cause, “just to celebrate lifting each other up,” she notes.

She’s not into the spotlight, despite her famous boyfriend

When Affleck gets brought up, Shookus gets guarded. “It’s strange to me,” she says. “My entire career has been behind the camera, and that’s definitely where I’m most comfortable. I’m a producer, I’m a mom, a friend. Being considered a public figure honestly makes me laugh.”

Shookus later adds, “I’ve gone through a lot of change recently and I’ve gone through some really hard times, but I believe in who I am more, and I wouldn’t give that up for anything.”

It seems like she’s able to brush off the attention: “Someone thinks about you for one minute and then says, ‘What do I want for lunch?’”

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