Ben Affleck is opening up about his love. No, not the love he has for his former wife/the mother of his children Jennifer Garner (though he did recently shower her with compliments on the Today show). And not his rumored on-again girlfriend, Lindsay Shookus.
No, today, he’s professing his love for the technicolor phoenix that permanently decorates his entire back — and, frankly, he doesn’t care whether or not you approve.
The eye-catching tattoo came up during the actor’s appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Thursday (March 14), when the comedian casually brought up that the work of art “got a lot of attention.”
“Not so much positive,” Affleck quickly pointed out. “It’s a phoenix…” he continued. “Rising from your ass,” DeGeneres added, completing his sentence.
“Yes, it’s a phoenix rising from my ass. I was about to say it represents something really important to me,” he continued, noting that the ink is “meaningful” without divulging any further details on said meaning.
And even though the public “sentiment ran, you know, against” the look — which is, to be perfectly clear, a Look — Affleck insisted, “I love my tattoo, I’m very happy with it.” And for all those naysayers out there, he concluded, “Luckily I’m the one who has it.”
Whether or not you’re a fan of the artwork, from a publicity standpoint, this back tat has been great for Affleck. It’s been keeping his name in non-offensive headlines for over three years now — providing fodder not just during his own interviews, but also for those of anyone connected to him.
The tattoo first made national news in December 2015, when Affleck was spotted with his fresh ink on the set of Live By Night. At the time, People reported that the tattoo was real.
Then, two months later, his one-time fiancée Jennifer Lopez (who now happens to be someone else’s bride-to-be) called out the actor for his bold look while appearing on Watch What Happens Live. “It’s awful! What are you doing?” she said. “His tattoos always have too many colors, they shouldn’t be so colorful. They should be cooler.”
Not long after that, Vanity Fair asked Garner for her opinion on her ex’s post-split body art. “You know what we would say in my hometown about that? ‘Bless his heart.’ A phoenix rising from the ashes. Am I the ashes in this scenario?” teased the West Virginia native.
All the negativity at the time must’ve gotten to him, because it prompted Affleck to lie to Mario Lopez during an Extra interview, asserting that the phoenix was “fake for a movie.”
That quieted the suspicions for a while — until March 2018, when paparazzi once again caught him showing off the phoenix during a beach break while filming Triple Frontier in Hawaii.
Affleck’s best friend Matt Damon was then called upon to weigh in, telling The Daily Show‘s Trevor Noah that “it’s not one man’s job to tell another man what he can do to his back. I support him in all of his artistic expression.”
But Affleck made sure he had the last word on the matter (at least, for the time being). When the New Yorker used the tattoo to question the Oscar winner’s state of mind following the tat’s great resurgence, Affleck took to Twitter to let it be known to all: “I’m doing just fine. Thick skin bolstered by garish tattoos.”
So, any further questions?