Back in January, the Internet was set ablaze with reports that Ben Affleck was sporting a massive back tattoo, which, personally, I saw as a sign of a mid-life crisis after his divorce from Jennifer Garner. I was kind of shocked at how intense the reaction was to his new tattoo because, honestly, who knew so many people cared about the status of Ben Affleck's body ink? Us Weekly got snaps of Affleck on set of his film, Live By Night, where photogs caught a peek of a giant phoenix on his back. Almost immediately, people were began asking, is Ben Affleck's back tattoo real?!
It was funny to me that so many people assumed it was OBVIOUSLY fake, because there was NO WAY Ben Affleck would do something like that to his body. An insider at Us Weekly confirmed the tattoo, saying, “He got it done at home recently," and I pretty much took the insider's word for it, because Affleck did seem like he was going through some things in his life — the type of things that could inspire imagery of a phoenix "rising from the ashes."
A couple months later, his ex-wife, Jennifer Garner, had something to say about his new tattoo in the latest issue of Vanity Fair.
Garner was asked about her thoughts on the tattoo, and said, “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? I take umbrage. I refuse to be the ashes.” Yes! I am so happy that Garner put that out there because there's really no need to be connected to that thing if you had nothing to do with it.
While fans continued to speculate about the tattoo, another famous Affleck ex weighed in on the photos. During a game of Plead the Fifth on Watch What Happens Live, host Andy Cohen asked Jennifer Lopez about her thoughts on the back tattoo, and she did not shy away at her distaste, saying, "It’s awful! What are you doing? His tattoos always have too many colors, they shouldn’t be so colorful. They should be cooler."
Well, two of his exes and many fans and speculators hated his huge tattoo, so what about Affleck himself? Has Ben confirmed whether it's real or not himself?
While the mystery of his tattoo grew, Affleck began his promo tour for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and the questions inevitably came. The first person to get confirmation from Affleck that the tattoo was fake was Mario Lopez on Extra. Affleck said the phoenix was “fake for a movie,” adding, “I actually do have a number of tattoos… but I try to have them in places where you don’t have to do a lot of cover up… they get sort of addictive, tattoos, after awhile.”
Welp, there you have it. Right from the horse's mouth. Unless he's lying, that is.... It is kind of odd that Garner, with whom Affleck has three children and is still in contact, would think that the tattoo was real if it weren't. But for now, Affleck's story is that it was just for a film. So, you can either take his word for it, or wait and see if he's spotted on a beach a year from now still rocking the tat. Or, hey, maybe after all of the hubbub he's having it removed...