After initially denying that it was real, Ben Affleck is finally talking about his huge back piece — an enormous, colorful tattoo of a phoenix that covers his torso.
The world first got a glimpse of Ben's ink in 2015. The next year, he told "Extra" host Mario Lopez, "[It's] fake for a movie. 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."
But when Ben was photographed romping in the waves on a Hawaii beach a year ago in March 2018 with his co-stars from "Triple Frontier " — the new Netflix movie that just debuted on March 6 — there was no denying its authenticity.
Now, during a visit to "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" to promote "Triple Frontier," Ben is finally opening up about his epic tattoo.
"Y'all went swimming together and there was a photo of your back tattoo that got a lot of attention," Ellen said, flashing a photo of Ben on the screen behind her. A visibly amused Ben quickly acknowledged, "It did. Not so much positive."
He and Ellen bantered about it a bit with hilarious results. "It's a commitment," Ellen said. "It's a phoenix…" Ben said. Ellen then quipped, "…rising from your a–."
Ben loved it. "We didn't plan that bit, that's what you get when you're a comedian… very quick," he said, complimenting his host on the joke before explaining, "It's a phoenix rising from my a– and I was about to say it represents something really important to me but you know what, maybe just we'll skip that."
He turned serious, adding, "It's meaningful to me. I like it. It's something that I sort of kept private. … We didn't know the paparazzi was there [on the beach in Hawaii]. Sentiment ran against, which… I love my tattoo. I'm very happy with it — luckily, I'm the one who has it."
Two years ago, Ben's ex-wife, Jennifer Garner, weighed in on his massive tattoo several months after she and Ben announced their split following a decade of marriage. "You know what we would say in my hometown about that? 'Bless his heart,'" Jen said in a Vanity Fair cover story. "A phoenix rising from the ashes. Am I the ashes in this scenario? I take umbrage. I refuse to be the ashes."
During Ben's visit to Ellen's show, which airs on March 14, he referenced his new outlook on life and renewed commitment to sobriety, which came after Jen staged an intervention and drove him to a Malibu rehab facility last August where he receipted inpatient treatment for alcohol addiction.
"You know, it's interesting, there's temptation to get depressed, I can feel like, 'Oh, I've been through a lot and this was hard and that was hard' or… I could be kind of embarrassed," Ben told Ellen. "But I have to say, I'm like, I feel so good now, I'm in such a great place. The kids [Violet, Seraphina and Samuel] are healthy, life is good. And so whatever it took for me to get to this place you know, I'm grateful for it."
Ben also revealed that he's coaching his son's little league baseball team this spring. He loves doing it, though the devoted Boston Red Sox fan made it clear he's unhappy about one element of his gig. "I do have to wear a Dodgers hat because that is the [name of my son's] team," Ben lamented. "But it's one of those things, you love it so much, it's like the dad dream to be the coach, coaching your son or your daughter on their little league team, it's very exciting."
He thanked Netflix for accommodating him when promotional duties conflicted with a scheduled game. "People have been very cool and Netflix, I had a game last week and I was promoting the movie and I was going to Asia and I was like, 'I have to come back a day early,' and there was like [a] 'What's the [reason?]' … 'My son's little league game, I'm the coach,'" Ben recounted, adding that Netflix made sure he was home in time. "Thank you, Netflix," he added.