The controversy surrounding Ben Affleck’s back tattoo has, quite literally, risen from the ashes like a phoenix. As reported by ET Online, the Justice League star was photographed at the beach in Hawaii last Thursday, March 15, while training for his new Netflix movie, Triple Frontier. Wearing nothing but a pair of dark blue board shorts, Ben Affleck exposed his back and gave the public a complete view of his massive back tattoo of a colorful phoenix.
Ben’s controversial tattoo was first spotted in 2015, right after he and Jennifer Garner announced their split. Many have commented on the design and timing of the tattoo, especially since the phoenix symbolizes rebirth after a great trial. Jennifer Garner, in a candid interview with Vanity Fair, even admitted that she took “umbrage” over her ex-husband’s new ink.
“You know what we would say in my hometown about that? ‘Bless his heart,'” Jennifer said back in 2016.
“A phoenix rising from the ashes. Am I the ashes in this scenario? I take umbrage. I refuse to be the ashes.”
Ben’s other ex-flame, Jennifer Lopez, also commented on the phoenix tattoo and called it “awful” at the time. On Andy Cohen’s Watch What Happens Live, JLo playfully dissed Ben’s taste in body art.
“It’s awful! I would tell him, ‘What are you doing?’ It has too many colors. His tattoos always have too many colors. They shouldn’t be so colorful. You know what I mean? They should be cooler.”
However, Ben Affleck denied that he went under the needle amid his separation from Garner. In an interview with Extra, the 45-year-old actor claimed that the tat was “fake” and only for a movie. Back then, he was promoting Batman Vs Superman and was also filming Live By Night. Ben said that he was not at liberty to talk about it but added that he had several real tattoos.
“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 a while.”
Now, two years later, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner have filed for divorce, and the actor has moved on to a new relationship with SNL producer Lindsay Shookus. Interestingly, Ben’s recent beach outing shows that the much-talked-about phoenix tattoo is still on his back and people are beginning to wonder if it was real and permanent after all.
On Twitter, people had many things to say about Ben’s body ink, which is on full display for the first time. One netizen commented that the tattoo was “gross and distasteful” and even brought up Ben Affleck’s sexual misconduct allegations. For others, the tattoo was simply funny and “dumb.”
“That tattoo is as gross and distasteful as you are. May the women you groped rise,” wrote one netizen.
“I just hope that Ben Affleck’s back tattoo is fake, for his sake at least,” wrote another.
See Ben Affleck’s tattoo here on Twitter.
Despite many people claiming that Ben Affleck lied about his tattoo two years ago, the Gone Girl star has not commented on whether the phoenix on his back is indeed a real tattoo or if it’s really for a role. His newest project, Triple Frontier, is a crime-thriller set in the border zone between Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil. The movie will be shown on Netflix and also includes actors Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, and Oscar Isaac.