Ben Affleck has come to the defense of his controversial back tattoo.
The actor and director told Ellen the colorful phoenix “represents something really important” to him on Thursday’s episode of her show.
“There was a photo of your back tattoo that got a lot of attention,” the comedian said after she and Affleck discussed his new film “Triple Frontier.”
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“It did, not so much positive,” Affleck responded, with a half-laugh. Ellen followed up, calling it “a commitment.”
As the “Gone Girl” actor started to explain, Ellen interjected that it was “rising from your a–.”
“It’s a phoenix, rising from my a–,” Affleck acknowledged. “I was about to say it represents something really important to me, but maybe, just, we’ll skip that.”
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“It’s meaningful to me, I like it. It’s something that I sort of kept private. It wasn’t like I was sort of doing photo shoots or whatever,” he continued. “We didn’t know the paparazzi was there so they got a picture of my tattoo and yeah the sentiment ran against.”
But despite criticism, the “Argo” star stood by the ink, adding: “I love my tattoo. I’m very happy with it.”
In a March 2016 interview with Extra TV, Affleck had said the phoenix was “fake for a movie,” but two years later when it was still there, The New Yorker published an article criticizing the tattoo.
At the time, he tweeted in response to the article, titled “The Great Sadness of Ben Affleck,” saying: “@NewYorker I’m doing just fine. Thick skin bolstered by garish tattoos.”