Ben Affleck's Tattoo Troubles: How His 'Mid-Life Crisis' Ink Offended His Ex

Fatima Araos
Closeup of Ben Affleck
Getty | Allen Berezovsky

Ben Affleck’s collection of tattoos is in the spotlight right now after he and his wife, Jennifer Lopez, got matching inks for Valentine’s Day. Lopez posted the photos on Instagram, which got a lot of love from fans.

His Tattoo Design

The 50-year-old Argo star’s tattoo, located below his armpit, features the letters J and B along with two intersecting arrows.

Lopez Has A Similar Design

As for his wife, she opted for a similar design on her side, just above the waist. It features an arrow, an infinity sign, and the names Jennifer and Ben.

As For His Other Tattoo…

Closeup of Ben Affleck
Flickr | booby-bum7

Simple, with a sweet meaning behind it. This new tattoo on Affleck is definitely a far cry from the huge one on his back, which caused quite the controversy back in 2015.

Why Was It Controversial?

Ben Affleck with his back tattoo visible
Flickr | BestActors

Aside from the fact that it was impossible to miss – a phoenix covering almost his entire back and done up in bold colors – people close to him also had some strong feelings about it.

His Ex-Wife Was Offended By It

Closeup of Jennifer Garner
Flickr | met52

One of them was his ex-wife, Jennifer Garner.

What Jennifer Garner Said

Jennifer Garner in a black dress
Flickr | met52

In an interview with Vanity Fair back in 2016, the 13 Going On 30 actress said, “You know what we would say in my hometown about that? ‘Bless his heart.’”

'I Refuse To Be The Ashes'

Closeup of Jennifer Garner
Flickr | met52

She continued, “A phoenix rising from the ashes. Am I the ashes in this scenario? I take umbrage. I refuse to be the ashes.”

Lopez Wasn't A Fan, Either

Closeup of Jennifer Lopez
Flickr | Mulderville

Garner wasn’t the only ex who had an opinion about the “midlife-crisis” tattoo. JLo, who was an ex-fiancée at the time, hated it, too!

She Thought It Was 'Awful'

During an appearance on Watch What Happens Live in February 2016, the Marry Me star screamed, “It’s awful!”

Not Cool

Jennifer Lopez in a white suit
Flickr | tonym190169

“I would tell him that! Like, what are you doing?” she added. “It has too many colors. His tattoos always had too many colors. They shouldn’t be so colorful, you know what I mean? They should be cooler.”

'Extra' Asked Affleck About The Tattoo

The bizarre body art created such a buzz that it was brought up again during an interview with Extra the following month.

He Claimed It Was Fake

Closeup of Ben Affleck
Flickr | bezootje

During the show, the Live by Night actor said it was fake and he only got it for a role.

He Obviously Didn't Want To Talk About It

Ben Affleck in a black tux
Flickr | canburak

Then he kind of diverted the conversation away from the phoenix by talking about his other tattoos instead. He even threw the question back to host Mario Lopez, asking him if he had any (good save!).

Rising From The Ashes Again

Just when you thought the phoenix controversy had died down, it rose from the ashes again two years later.

Article Critical Of Affleck

The New Yorker published an article criticizing the tattoo along with several other issues about the actor.

In reply, Affleck took to Twitter to say, “@NewYorker I’m doing just fine. Thick skin bolstered by garish tattoos.”

Ellen DeGeneres Weighed In, Too

And then in 2019, the phoenix topic was brought up again on The Ellen Show.

He Said It Represented Something Important

Ben Affleck in a gray jacket and jeans
Flickr | MBIJ018

This time, Affleck talked openly about it, saying it represented something important to him, that it was meaningful, and he loved it.

So, Why Did He Lie About It?

Clip of Ben Affleck

The tattoo’s time in the spotlight wasn’t over yet because the following year, it was brought up again in an interview with The New York Times. Affleck was asked why he lied about it.

His Answer

Ben Affleck in a black tux
Flickr | canburak

He explained it was because he wasn’t pleased about the intrusive paparazzi snaps, and he also enjoyed messing with Mario Lopez.