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A Comprehensive Guide to Ben Affleck’s Shoulder, Back and Hip Tattoos: A Phoenix, Initials and More

A Comprehensive Guide to Ben Affleck-s Shoulder- Back and Hip Tattoos
Columbia/Revolution Studios/Kobal/Shutterstock; Courtesy of Jennifer Lopez/Instagram

There’s more to Ben Affleck than what’s on the surface, namely his handful of surprising and intricate tattoos.

Fans got a glimpse at the actor’s ink via his wife Jennifer Lopez’s Instagram in June 2023, as she posted a shirtless pic of him for Father’s Day. “Daddy Appreciation Post ✨ Happy Father’s Day Papa,” she captioned a slideshow of photos, which included one of Affleck’s’ mirror selfies. “And Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing Papas out there!! We love you and appreciate you more than you will ever know 🤍.”

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In the pic, Affleck — who shares kids Violet, Seraphina and Samuel with ex-wife Jennifer Garner — showed off his two shoulder tattoos while smoldering in the mirror. Both were visible in Lopez’s 2002 music video for “Jenny from the Block,” in which he made an appearance alongside his then-girlfriend. (The cross on his left shoulder has since been embellished with floral detailing.)

In honor of his and Lopez’s first Valentine’s Day together as a married couple — the pair previously dated from 2002 to 2004 before reconnecting in 2021 and tying the knot one year later — Affleck and the Grammy nominee got complementary tattoos in February 2023. Lopez got an infinity sign with an arrow going through it on her left ribcage, while the Oscar winner, for his part, got two crossing arrows with “J” and “B” initials next to it — seemingly representing their first names.

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Perhaps Affleck’s most famous tattoo is that of a giant phoenix on his back. Though he clarified in a March 2016 interview with Extra TV that the intricate piece was fake and “for a movie,” he was photographed sporting the ink during a beach training session for his action film Triple Frontier in Hawaii in March 2018.

He responded to criticism of the back tattoo later that month after The New Yorker published an article slamming the design. “@NewYorker I’m doing just fine,” he wrote via Twitter at the time. “Thick skin bolstered by garish tattoos.”

Affleck poked fun at the look once again during a March 2018 appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, dubbing the tat “a Phoenix rising from my ass.” The Gone Girl star also opened up about the tattoo’s meaning, telling host Ellen DeGeneres: “It’s something that I sort of kept private.”

While Affleck has received support from BFF Matt Damon for the notable ink — stating during a March 2018 appearance on The Daily Show that “It’s not one man’s job to tell another man what he can do to his back” — Lopez previously admitted she wasn’t a fan.

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“It’s awful,” the Hustlers actress — who shares twins Max and Emme with ex-husband Marc Anthony — told host Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live in 2016. “And I would tell him that. What are you doing? It has too many colors! His tattoos always have too many colors. They shouldn’t be so colorful, you know what I mean? They should be, like, cooler.”

Keep scrolling to see all of Affleck’s tattoos and the meanings behind them:

A Phoenix

Affleck was first spotted with his phoenix back tattoo on the set of the movie Live By Night in December 2015, not long after he and Garner announced their separation after 10 years of marriage that June.

Though he has never publicly revealed the meaning behind the ink, he did reveal that it “represents something really important to me” during a March 2018 appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “It’s meaningful to me. I like it,” he explained at the time. “It’s something that I sort of kept private.”

A Cross

Though it’s unknown when the Justice League actor got a cross tattooed on his left shoulder, the piece was featured in Lopez’s “Jenny from the Block” music video in 2002, and again in his 2003 film Gigli.

Formerly just an outline of a cross, the tattoo was later embellished and surrounded by several flowers.

A Comprehensive Guide to Ben Affleck-s Shoulder- Back and Hip Tattoos
Ben Affleck. Courtesy of Jennifer Lopez/Instagram

A Sword, Roses and Playing Cards

On Affleck’s right shoulder is a cross surrounded by colorful roses and playing cards, which was also featured in the “Jenny from the Block” music video and Gigli. The ink also features barbed wire and what looks like an angelic figure on the right side of the sword.

Just like the phoenix, the meaning of his shoulder tattoos remains a mystery. “There’s inspiration for all of it,” he told Entertainment Tonight in March 2016. “You have to get much, much closer than we are now to get further of that story.”

A Comprehensive Guide to Ben Affleck-s Shoulder- Back and Hip Tattoos
Ben Affleck in ‘Gigli’, 2003. Columbia/Revolution Studios/Kobal/Shutterstock

Arrows and Initials

Affleck and Lopez celebrated Valentine’s Day 2023 by getting complementary tattoos. He matched Lopez’s infinity sign with an arrow going through it with two arrows of his own, complete with “J” and “B” initials for their first names. “Commitment ♾️,” Lopez captioned pics of their meaningful ink at the time. “Happy Valentine’s Day my love 🤍.”

A Comprehensive Guide to Ben Affleck-s Shoulder- Back and Hip Tattoos
Ben Affleck’s ink in tribute to Jennifer Lopez.

A Dolphin

Among his many tattoos, the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice actor also has a small dolphin on his right hip. In November 2011, Page Six reported that the ink was used to cover up a tattoo of his high school girlfriend’s name, though Affleck has never confirmed or denied the reason behind the tat.

Mystery Initials

Perhaps Affleck’s most mysterious tattoo is that of “OV” initials on his right shoulder blade. The phrases “MOH NON TE” and “TA OR” are written above and below the initials, respectively, though the meaning behind the words remains unknown.

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