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 colorful 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.”

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