It was the summer of 2015. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner had just announced their separation. Nanny Chrissy O was part of the conversation. And so was Ben Affleck’s new back tattoo, an enormous, colourful phoenix rising from the ashes. Which Jennifer referenced in her now infamous interview with Vanity Fair

It was a goofy, cliché thing to do. But Ben is a Harry Potter fan. If he somehow associated this tattoo with Fawkes, Professor Dumbledore’s companion, which I’d find totally plausible since he’s known to read the books overnight as soon as they come out, and wear Harry Potter gear, and take daughter Violet to see the show in London, he may have actually endeared himself to the nerd community. I’m part of the Harry Potter fandom. Geek tattoo > Midlife tattoo, non? 

That’s not what he said though. He actually denied it. He claimed that the tattoo was fake, for a movie. Which, well, we now have slamdunk confirmation that it is indeed real, not fake. Because he too was in Hawaii last week prepping on Triple Frontier with Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, and Oscar Isaac

Why lie about something that is PERMANENTLY INKED ON YOUR BODY?!? Unless he got the tattoo almost three years ago in advance-advance-advance preparation for THIS movie? It would be a stretch.  

God he’s frustrating. Because he always, always, as Gwyneth Paltrow once said of him, makes it harder than it needs to be. Almost as though tripping through a problem is the only way he knows to get across. Was it Jennifer Garner who smoothed out those stumbles for him all those years? 

This tattoo has taken on a life story now of 2+ years, going on 3 years. When it could have easily been a story that came and went after a month, or a summer even. And for a guy who could do with a positive public relations story, for a change, we’re now back to laughing at him over something we were laughing at him for back in 2015. Which is overtaking what he wants us to be talking about – that he’s working on a new film, a film he supposedly dropped out of, to be replaced by Mark Wahlberg… and now he’s back in it. Only nobody is mentioning this. 

Here’s Ben on the weekend with Jennifer Garner, spending time with their kids, and looking close after those sketchy reconciliation rumours last week. To me, more and more, her vibe around him is the same vibe she has around her children. Like that’s how she sees him now. And can you blame her? Ultimately no woman wants to be married to a man she also has to keep raising.