After 10 years of marriage, Jennifer Garner has split from the father of her three children, Ben Affleck. She opened up to Krista Smith for the March issue of Vanity Fair, about the “earth-shaking” event of her divorce. She’s candid, exposed and clearly going through some dark emotions – and it only endears us to her further. Sure, she’s a mega-star, multimillionaire and genetically blessed model. But pain is pain. And it’s refreshing to hear a public figure speak honestly about it.

Read the full story, Exclusive: Jennifer Garner’s Frank Talk About Kids, Men and Ben Affleck, from Vanity Fair.

Some highlights…

She’s authentic…

“It was a real marriage,” Garner tells me. “It wasn’t for the cameras. And it was a huge priority for me to stay in it. And that did not work.”

She’s battling with going dark…

“I cannot be driven by the optics of this. I cannot let anger or hurt be my engine. I need to move with the big picture always on my mind, and the kids first and foremost.”

Ben was the love of her life…

“I didn’t marry the big fat movie star; I married him,” she says. “And I would go back and remake that decision. I ran down the beach to him, and I would again. You can’t have these three babies and so much of what we had. He’s the love of my life. What am I going to do about that? He’s the most brilliant person in any room, the most charismatic, the most generous. He’s just a complicated guy. I always say, ‘When his sun shines on you, you feel it.’ But when the sun is shining elsewhere, it’s cold. He can cast quite a shadow.”

She wishes she had a ballerina…

Garner first found her passion for performance with dance as a child: “I danced six hours a day. My cross to bear is that my children have no interest in ballet. I think they could smell how much I wanted to put their hair in a bun.”

She’s going through a range of emotions…

“When the earth shakes,” she says, “you go to what you know from childhood. All of a sudden I’m sitting down at the piano. I went back to church. I sat down and wrote bad poetry all day because I was so sad. I needed a dance class; it reminded me of my fight scenes [in Alias] and how I missed that. I feel the need to be physical and I feel the need to punch someone. You know what I look forward to? I look forward to getting past the pity stage. I look forward to just having a sense of humor.”

She feels like a failure…

“That’s a really hard question. I’m a pretty hard worker. It’s one of the pains in my life that something I believe in so strongly I’ve completely failed at twice. You have to have two people to dance a marriage.”

She’s focusing on her children…

“It’s not Ben’s job to make me happy,” she insists. “The main thing is these kids—and we’re completely in line with what we hope for them. Sure, I lost the dream of dancing with my husband at my daughter’s wedding. But you should see their faces when he walks through the door. And if you see your kids love someone so purely and wholly, then you’re going to be friends with that person.”