21/02/2020 8:30 AM AEDT

Ben Affleck Explains Why He Lied About His Back Tattoo Being Fake

The “Way Back” star opened up to The New York Times about why he'd felt compelled to hide the truth.

Sure, Ben Affleck may have initially lied about his gargantuan post-breakup tattoo. But, as he explained to The New York Times, he feels his fib was justified.

“I resented that somebody got a picture of it by spying on me,” Affleck told the Times in a candid interview published Tuesday. The “Way Back” actor was referring to the instantly famous paparazzi shot of his colourful back ink ― a phoenix taking flight ― which the actor obtained during his divorce from Jennifer Garner.

“It felt invasive. But you’re right. I could have said, ‘That’s none of your business.’ I guess I got a kick out of messing with Extra. ‘Is your tattoo real or not real?’ Of course, it’s real! No, I put a fake tattoo on my back and then hid it,” Affleck continued, referencing a March 2016 interview with Extra’s Mario Lopez.

In the 2016 interview, the Oscar winner claimed that the tattoo ― which some had suggested was so bad that it couldn’t be real — was “fake for a movie.”

After plenty of speculation that it was indeed real, Affleck came clean during an interview with Ellen DeGeneres in 2019, admitting that his ink was 100% not fake.

DeGeneres jokingly said that the tattoo was a phoenix “rising from your ass.”

But Affleck stood by his body art, telling her that it “represents something important to me.”