Style - Tattoos
By: - at June 14, 2013

15 Famous Celebrity Tattoos & Their Stories

Tattoo Stories

Whenever you see someone with a tattoo, one of the first questions that might pop into your mind is, "Why did they decide to get that tattoo?" Many people decide to have this type of permanent ink etched into their skin for a wide variety of reasons. Some may decide that they want to pay tribute to a certain person, place or thing or even a special event that earmarks a pivotal moment in their lives. For example, many people decide to portray the names of their lovers, children and birthplace to pay homage to things that are memorable to them.

There are also those who use tattoos to simply express themselves artistically, which is why they may have so many of them. Instead of having just one or two small, isolated tattoos, these individuals may decide to have one consistent running theme that crosses over large sections of their body. It is almost as if they are using their bodies in the same way that a painter would use the entire canvas, making sure that no empty spaces are left without being part of the artistic image.

On the other hand, many others decide to have tattoos done as a last-minute, spur-of-the-moment thing that they just felt like doing at the time. But many actually live to regret it years later. Regardless of the reason why they chose to have a specific tattoo done, everyone has some sort of a story that goes along with each one. Many of the celebrities that are currently still enjoying their time in the limelight have also been able to share their fame throughout their careers with various forms of permanent body art.

Celebrity Tattoo Story 15)
Mike Tyson's Face Tattoo

Mike Tyson became the center of many jokes and also the inspiration of many artists and tattoo addicts when he decided to have a tattoo inked onto his face. When discussing exactly what he wanted to have done, Tyson simply told his artist to surprise him. Originally, he wanted to just have a lot of hearts permanently marked on his face, but his tattoo artist told him not to rush into making that decision. Instead, he suggested that Tyson give him some time to come up with the perfect design for his tattoo. A week later, he showed the initial sketches of a tribal design and Tyson loved it and decided to and have it done.

Mike Tyson's Face Tattoo

Even though many people might believe that the tattoo is a repellent for women, its exotic nature and unique design has actually proven to be quite magnetic for Tyson when it comes to the ladies. There have been reported instances where women paid homage to him by having the same exact design tattooed on other places of their own bodies. When asked in a recent interview if he regrets having that tattoo put on his face, he consistently stated that he is very happy with how it turned out and it helps him to remember that other people's opinions of him should not matter more than his own.

Celebrity Tattoo Story 14)
Angelina Jolie's Tribute to Billy Bob Thornton

Before this celebrity started a family with Brad Pitt, actress Angelina Jolie was head-over-heels in love with Billy Bob Thornton. She was married to him for a number of years and wanted to express that love to the world by having his name tattooed on her skin. The first tattoo was created back in 2000 and was simply Thornton’s name inked on her left arm with a sort of reptile underneath it. After the first tattoo, Jolie continued to go to the same tattoo artist, Friday Jones. She stated that she enjoyed the overall experience and artistic value of each one.

Jolie is said to have at least 12 tattoos covering various parts of her body, although she covers them up for movies. She even has tattoos of the longitudes and latitudes of where her adopted children first came into her life. Additionally, she's rumored to have a name tattooed beneath her panty line.

Angelina Jolie's Back Tattoos

Celebrity Tattoo Story 13)
Brad Pitt's Doodling Tattoo

The love of Angelina Jolie’s life is currently Brad Pitt, who decided to pay tribute to his beautiful fiancée and the mother of his six children through a different type of tattoo. Many Pitt fans may be puzzled by the tattoo that the actor has on his back, which literally looks like one of his kids took a marker and drew a bunch of random lines while he was asleep. The true story behind this tattoo is pretty close to what it looks like with the main difference being that it was actually Jolie who created the drawing. Out of sheer boredom, she drew a series of lines and random art on his back, which he liked so much that he decided to have it permanently sketched onto his body.

Brad Pitt's Tattoo on his back

Celebrity Tattoo Story 12)
Johnny Depp's "Wino Forever" Tattoo

Angelina Jolie is not the only Hollywood celebrity that has had a former lover's name permanently etched into their skin. Johnny Depp is another great example. He chose to show his love to his then-girlfriend Winona Ryder by having "Winona Forever" inked onto the upper portion of his right arm. This was not Depp’s first tattoo, because he had already received a Cherokee tribal head symbol on the same arm.

Johnny Depp's "Wino Forever" Tattoo

After his relationship ended with Ryder, it was then time to try and come up with a way of fixing this artistic mistake. He trusted in the expertise and guidance of his talented, professional tattoo artist, John Shaw - who came up with a very creative way to change it instead of going through the painful process of having it completely removed. Shaw removed the last two letters of Ryder’s name and placed the tattoo within a stylish banner that read "Wino Forever" instead.

Celebrity Tattoo Story 11)
Megan Fox and Her Marilyn Monroe Tattoo

Actress Megan Fox began getting tattoos at the age of 19. All throughout her young life, she has viewed Marilyn Monroe as a major source of inspiration and influence. She has always admired the fact that Marilyn was able to start acting at such a young age and make her mark in cinematic history in such a monumental way. Therefore, she decided to pay tribute to the memory of the legendary actress by having a portrait of her headshot permanently sketched on her arm.

Celebrity Megan Fox's Marilyn Monroe Tattoo

This was just one of the tattoos that the actress was able to have done, because she enjoyed being able to artistically express her thoughts and feelings through different types of body art. Now that she is much older and a married mother, her viewpoints and overall perspective of her tattoos have drastically changed from when she first got them. Even though the tattooed portrait of Monroe was once her most cherished work of body art, she opted to have it removed through progressive laser surgeries as a sign of her growing up and finally making the inevitable transition into womanhood.

Celebrity Tattoo Story 10)
Scarlett Johansson's Sunshine Tattoo

Actress Scarlett Johansson shocked many of her fans and critics when she showed up to a film premiere of the movie "The Other Boleyn Girl" with a tattoo on her arm. Instead of choosing to etch the name of a current or past lover on her arm or even focus on symbolic imagery, she simply decided to have a colorful picture of a sun rising over the clouds permanently inked into her skin. When asked about the story behind this particular sample of body art, Johansson expressed the joy that she wanted to experience by looking at a tattoo that made her happy about herself and her life on a daily basis. Therefore, she is able to enjoy looking at the actual sunrise in the morning but is also able to enjoy her own sunrise at any time of day or night that she wants.

Scarlett Johansson's Sunshine Tattoo

Celebrity Tattoo Story 9)
Rihanna's Tattooed Statement after Violent Beating

After being violently beaten by her then-boyfriend, Chris Brown, singer and actress Rihanna decided that she was going to make a statement through body art that would serve as a permanent mark of her own empowerment and self-liberation. This celebrity did not want anyone else to work on this particular tattoo other than the artist that she frequently used in the past, BangBang, who was working in Los Angeles at the time.

Rihanna's Tattooed Gun

Against the wishes and advice of her tattoo artist, Rihanna decided to have a couple of guns being drawn on one another tattooed on her arms in order to make the statement that she was not going to be a victim any longer. The design turned out so well that she even got the same design done on her ribs. Even with this permanent body art in place, Rihanna still has been able to maintain her endorsement deal with Cover Girl. Since the initial etching of the tattoos, she has reconciled and gotten back together with Brown on numerous occasions.

Celebrity Tattoo Story 8)
Tommy Lee's Mayhem Tattoo

Former Motley Crue drummer, Tommy Lee, has a very big tattoo of the word "Mayhem" etched across his abdomen. Not only was this considered as being one of Lee's signature words throughout the 1980s and 1990s, it is also part of the name of the band that he created in 1999, titled "The Methods of Mayhem." Even though the band did not last very long, the tattoo is still relevant since it was primarily what Lee stands for overall in every aspect of his life.

Tommy Lee's Mayhem Tattoo

Lee has acquired an extensive list of different tattoos all over his body during the years. His fans, industry critics and tattoo enthusiasts strongly agree that the "Mayhem" tattoo is the best design of them all. During the years, this particular tattoo has become synonymous with his personal and professional identities, and has been able to enjoy an extent of fame and popularity on its own. Regardless of whether or not he will ever be able to reignite the flame of his music and career, the memory of his "Mayhem" tattoo will continue to burn brightly in the minds of his fans.

Celebrity Tattoo Story 7)
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson's Tribal Tattoo

Dwayne Johnson's Tribal TattooThere are not that many celebrities who put as much thought and effort into designing their tattoos like former wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. He created a very elaborate Samoan design that is literally filled with symbolism, imagery, philosophy and strong, underlying themes of family values, loyalty, strength and the ability to protect the people that you care about the most.

The coconut leaves represent a Samoan chief warrior and the sun symbolizes good fortune being brought to him. The section of his tribal tattoo that travels from his shoulder onto his chest actually represents his family members, including his former wife and their daughter. There are several descending swirls that present all aspects of time, with the future swirl being the biggest of them all.

A tribute to his ancestors was achieved by including two eyes within the design and the broken face that is marked by the teeth of a shark is used to symbolize strength and power. There are also several other symbols and images that are included within the overall design that represent the struggle between good and evil, as well as how the good spirits will continue to dominate his future and protect him.

Once the design was finished, Johnson went to Hawaii to have it inked into his upper arm and shoulder. Before deciding to have this body art completed, he only had one tattoo of a bull's head on his other arm. Many people criticized Johnson for choosing to have such an elaborate tattoo created around the time his acting career was starting to take off. However, it seems as if his career has actually become more successful since he had the ink done.

Celebrity Tattoo Story 6)
Jamie Foxx's Tribal Tattooed Head

Jamie Foxx's Tribal Head TattooEvery now and then, a celebrity will decide out of the blue to get the most random tattoo on one of their most random body for no clear reason. As mentioned earlier, many people seem to get tattoos as a form of artistic expression and physical freedom, while others may choose to develop a symbolic representation of their personal, professional and religious values. However, you cannot really put the famous Jamie Foxx's tribal head tattoo in either of those categories because this particular design does not seem to make any sense.

When photographs and reports about this tattoo first started circulating through the media, many fans, critics and movie producers just assumed that it was an elaborate temporary tattoo that he decided to wear while he was shooting a movie.

It was not until several years later that many people finally admitted to themselves that the tattoo was real. Many searched for a valid reason of why Foxx would do such a thing to the back of his head. Reports and interviews with the Academy Award-winning actor have led some to believe that he simply chose to get the tattoo to mark the milestone of his 40th birthday; although no one truly knows what the tribal design means.

Celebrity Tattoo Story 5)
Hayden Panettiere's Italian Phrase Tattoo

Even though a person may want their tattoo to end up looking one way, they might have to face the fact that they got something completely different by the time the ink has been etched. In some cases, the tattoo may end up looking better than they thought it would while, in other cases, it might actually look much worse. Where actress and singer Hayden Panettiere is concerned, it was a little bit of both.

Hayden Panettiere's Tattoo

Panettiere decided to have an Italian phrase translated into "to live without regrets" tattooed on her back. The ironic part about this tattoo is that the artist misspelled one of the words by adding an extra "I" where it did not belong. Therefore, this celebrity has a tattoo that reminds her to live without regrets, while it also ironically became one of the regrets that she has to live with. When asked about how she felt about this misspelled body art in an interview with Zimbio, Panettiere stated that she was happy that it was on her back so she does not have to worry about staring at it constantly and obsessing over the error.

Celebrity Tattoo Story 4)
Lindsay Lohan's "Beautiful Life" Tattoo

Another example of unintentional tattoo irony is the one that notorious actress and singer, Lindsay Lohan, decided to have placed onto her lower back. She decided to have a Spanish phrase that means "the beautiful life" tattooed. At the time that she had the work done, her career was transitioning quite nicely from a child actor into an adult actress.

Celebrity Lindsay Lohan's Tattoo

Lohan even had her own record deal and a somewhat successful pop album, which featured a song that was actually titled "The Beautiful Life." Since then, however, her music and acting career have pretty much gone nowhere but down. She has been in and out of courtrooms, prison cells, rehab clinics and tabloid articles for the past several years. Even though her life may have seemed to be very beautiful back then, it has not been looking that way recently, which means that this tattoo is just an ironic reminder of a career life that will soon be forgotten.

Celebrity Tattoo Story 3)
Jeremy Shockey's Patriotic Tattoo

Many people decide to receive tattoos that express their patriotism and overall love for their respective countries. Professional NFL player Jeremy Shockey became a great example of this when he chose to have a colorful, patriotic tribute tattooed on his right arm. The art work is a detailed picture of the official bird of the USA, the American bald eagle, with a beautifully drawn rendition of the American flag sketched in the background.

Jeremy Shockey's Patriotic Tattoo

When asked about the story behind getting this particular tattoo, Shockey stated that he simply wanted to express his undying love for America and his appreciation of the rights and freedoms that he is provided as citizen. The tattoo also represents the freedom to use your own body to artistically express your feelings, thoughts and personal preferences. The eccentric quality of Shockey's tattoo has been praised and applauded by tattoo artists around the world as being well developed and perfectly designed.

Celebrity Tattoo Story 2)
Evan Rachel Wood and Her Beatles Tattoo

Evan Rachel Wood's Beatles TattooAs already mentioned, sometimes a tattoo may not turn out the way that the person originally wanted. This is the case with actress Evan Rachel Wood, who wanted to mark the achievement and milestone in her career when she starred in the hit movie/musical, "Across the Universe." Award-winning director Julie Taymor made the movie as a tribute to the Beatles.

Shortly after wrapping the movie, Wood decided that she, too, wanted to pay homage to the band by having a special Beatles design etched onto her ankle. Sadly, though, the tattoo did not turn out the way that she wanted, so she later decided to have it covered up by a different design that looks just like the diamonds on a playing card.

Celebrity Tattoo Story 1)
Sylvester Stallone's Scar-Covering Tattoos

Celebrity actor Sylvester Stallone recently got quite a lot of body art, primarily on his back and shoulders. In one of his most recent movies, "Bullet to the Head," his character has some pretty elaborate tattoos. Many people that saw the movie reported to have thought that the tattoos were signs of a really great makeup department and/or temporary tattoo artist. However, Stallone has confirmed in interviews that each of the tattoos is actually permanent.

Sylvester Stallone's Celebrity Tattoos

Stallone stated that his primary purpose for getting all of this colorful body art was to help cover up the physical damage and scarring that his pivotal movie roles had caused over the years. For example, he tore one of his veins while filming "Rocky II" and he had to have a total of 60 stitches. As time went on, Stallone said that the condition of skin just kept getting worse and that many people thought he had varicose veins. He decided to go ahead and invest in the tattoos to cover the marks. One image includes a beautiful portrait of his wife with three roses surrounding her head that symbolize each of their daughters, who all share the same middle name, "Rose."

Final Words
In most cases, people remain satisfied with the tattoos they decide to have etched into their skin. Even if the actual image did not turn out exactly as they originally thought, they may choose to look past the surface of the tattoo and focus on the meaning and the overall story behind why they got it in the first place. Perhaps it was just their way of proving to the world that the only opinion they care about is their own and that they were willing to go above and beyond to prove it. Many people get tattoos to honor births, deaths, relationships, and sometimes their country.

One of the biggest problems is that people seem to forget that the purpose of a tattoo is to exhibit art on their bodies. Art is something that can have a wide variety of meanings to people. How one person may feel about a specific piece of art may be completely different from how another person feels about the same piece. The same principle applies to tattoos. Tattoos should be cherished more by the people that chose to wear them for life, not those who view them from a distance. At the end of the day, it truly does not have anything to do with them, especially if the tattoos are not offensive or degrading in nature.

The best thing that the average person can do, whether they are a lover or a hater of permanent etching, is to respect the rights and freedoms of other people that simply wanted to find a different, unique way of expressing themselves. Even though you may not personally like a tattoo design or wonder why a person decided to get specific ink, it is not your place to criticize that person or their decision. Throughout your life, you are going to make choices that seem to make sense to you that will not make sense to other people. It is you that will have a story to tell about the journey and reasoning behind your personal body artwork. The actual design and artistry of the tattoo itself is not where the true value lies, the true value comes from the story that is being told by the art.





15 Famous Celebrity Tattoos & Their Stories
Tattoo Designs and their Meanings
The Evolution of Tattoos

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