Ben Affleck speaks out to defend his giant back tattoo

Who cares about celebrity tattoos? If it's not something really out there, or a part of some new blossoming romance, why should any of us care what strangers we'll never meet choose to do with their bodies?

That's my POV on most celeb tattoos, but when it comes to Ben Affleck, it's different. I mean, just look at this thing:

We first caught a glimpse of the back tattoo in 2015, shortly after his split from ex-wife Jennifer Garner. At that point, he already had a few tattoos, including a barbed wire across his right bicep, a fish, skull and crossbones on that same arm, and a dolphin on his right hip - reportedly there to cover up the name of a high-school sweetheart (never a good idea).

He was later seen with the back tat again, at which point he spoke up about it - announcing that it was all for a movie.

"[It’s] fake for a movie," Affleck told Extra’s Mario Lopez in a 2016 interview. "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."

As if this tattoo saga become overblown enough, Affleck was later seen with the back tattoo in March 2018. So either it was never fake, or he liked the fake tattoo so much he forked out for the real deal?

Yeah... I'm not buying it either.

It wasn't as if he needed any more reason to be the internet's favourite sad sack meme after his blank stare from this Batman v Superman interview:

That same March, the New Yorker published a pretty brutal article titled 'The Great Sadness of Ben Affleck,' a half-joking article about how he's lonely, sad, and has a huge not exactly great tattoo on his back:

“Affleck, who is forty-five, was photographed wading into the ocean carrying a small red life preserver, running in the shallow waters, and towelling off on the beach. The tattoo—so gargantuan that the bird’s tail found itself dipping below the waistband of Affleck’s blue swim trunks—was plainly visible…His gut is pooching outward..."

He responded with a pretty witty retort, to his credit:

Leading to an all-timer of a tweet:

However, now he's spoke about the tattoo again - and he's no longer denying it's real presence on his back. On an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show this week, Affleck took the opportunity to defend the tattoo and the meaning behind it.

Ellen was obviously on top form when it came to Affleck's striking tattoo:

"Your back tattoo got a lot of attention", Ellen said, to which the actor responded:

"Not so much positive! It's a phoenix. I was about to say it represents something really important to me!

"It's meaningful to me. I like it. It's not something I sort of kept private. The sentiment ran against... but I love my tattoo, I'm happy with it."

I feel like we've come full circle with the saga of Ben Affleck's back tattoo. The lesson here is to love yourself, flaws, warts, gigantic phoenix back tattoos and all.