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Ben Affleck defends his massive back tattoo: 'I'm very happy with it'

When the phoenix that soars from his waist to his shoulders was first revealed, fans — and even his ex-wife — had a lot to say about it. But little of it was good.
Ben Affleck on "Ellen"
Ben Affleck and Ellen DeGeneres on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." The actor and director discussed his back tattoo, which was revealed in paparazzi pictures a few years ago. Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.
/ Source: TODAY

Ben Affleck's biggest tattoo has been buzzed about since paparazzi first caught a partial peek of the ink back in 2015.

The following year, a more revealing shot showed how far it went — from below the belt to above the shoulder — and it showed just what it was — a phoenix rising from the ashes.

Or as Ellen DeGeneres told the star when she sat down with him for her talk show Thursday — the phoenix is actually "rising from your ass."

"Yes, this is a phoenix rising from my ass," Affleck shot back with a grin. "I was about to say it represents something really important to me. Maybe we'll skip that."

All jokes aside, the 46-year-old has heard it all when it comes to the polarizing back piece. As it turns out, most of his fans aren't exactly fans of the tat.

It wasn't even clear if the actor himself was a fan of the phoenix at first. In fact, months after he made headlines for the boldly colored ink, he claimed it wasn't even real.

"(It's) fake for a movie," he fibbed in a 2016 interview with Extra.

Ben Affleck was spotted on the set of his movie, "Live By Night," sporting a large tattoo on his back in 2015.FameFlyNet

Candid beach pics that came out months later proved it was the real deal. And as for the deception, it had nothing to do with being displeased.

Affleck assured DeGeneres, he's actually proud of the tattoo.

"It's meaningful to me," he said. "I like it. ... It's something that I sort of kept private. It's not like I was doing photo shoots. We were two hours north of the city on some island in Hawaii; we didn't know the paparazzi was there. So they got a picture of my tattoo. The sentiment ran, you know, against (it), but I love my tattoo. I'm very happy with it, and luckily, I'm the one who has it."