Tattoos are more popular than ever in America, and Hollywood is no exception. They may have to cover them up when filming starts, but a surprising number of actors, musicians and other celebrities have well-known tattoos. Check out some of the most famous tattooed stars and their stories.
LADIES OF THE SILVER SCREEN
Some of today’s hottest actresses have multiple tattoos. Kristen Stewart’s body art includes an infinity symbol on her wrist, as well as an image from Picasso’s famous painting Guernica. Scarlett Johansson has a colorful sunset on her arm, a horseshoe and the words “Lucky You” on the side of her chest, and a wrist tattoo paying homage to her hometown of New York. Megan Fox’s ink includes quotes from Shakespeare and Nietzsche, as well as a portrait of Marilyn Monroe, which she removed a few years back. The most tattooed A-list actress, though, is probably Angelina Jolie. Her tattoos number well over a dozen, and include inscriptions in English, Latin, Arabic and Khmer, the geographical coordinates where her biological and adopted children were born, and a foot-long Bengal tiger.
COVERING IT UP
Of course, Jolie’s most famous tattoo might be one that no longer exists. On her left arm, the actress had a picture of a dragon, as well as the name of her ex-husband Billy Bob Thornton. She removed the tattoo with laser surgery, and later covered the spot with a different tattoo. Another heavily tattooed star, Johnny Depp, altered the tattoo he got during his relationship with Winona Ryder; his arm now reads “Wino Forever.” Jennifer Lawrence got a tattoo removed for reasons that had nothing to do with a breakup: she wanted H2O, the symbol for water, tattooed on her hand, but the tattoo artist accidentally placed the 2 above the letters, instead of beneath them where it belonged. Also, may celebrities like tattooing lock and key, there is a great post with lock and key tattoos.
Not a lot of actors have tattoos on their faces. This makes sense, because if they did, they (like most people) might struggle to find a job. If you’re a rapper, though, getting a facial tattoo is almost part of the business. Hip-hop stars like Lil Wayne and Wiz Khalifa have multiple tattoos on their faces. The Game infamously got a butterfly tattooed on his right cheek, though he later covered it up with the letters L.A., and Rick Ross has the words “Rich Forever” tattooed on his chin. (Of course, Ross’ beard means that that one’s not usually visible.) The most perplexing rap face tattoo, though, might just be Gucci Mane’s: the Atlanta MC’s right cheek is completely covered by an ice cream cone pierced by two lightning bolts.
HONORING THEIR HISTORY
For many celebrities, tattoos are a means of acknowledging their heritage. Movie star and wrestling legend Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, for example, carries on the tradition of his Samoan ancestors with a tattoo covering his left arm, shoulder and chest. Designed by famed Pacific tattoo artist Po’oino Yrandi, the elaborate tattoo features symbols representing Johnson, his wife and his daughter, as well as coconut leaves, the sun, a tortoise shell and other traditional Samoan images. Another actor whose tattoos pay homage to his Pacific heritage is Jason Momoa. The Game of Thrones actor and Hawaiian native has a shark’s tooth design covering his forearm, and so do all of his cousins. Coincidentally, that design might prove appropriate when Momoa stars in the upcoming Aquaman movie.
A BONDING EXPERIENCE
For many people, tattoos are a way to commemorate important friendships. If you’re an actor, those friendships just may be with your long-time co-stars. The nine actors who played the Fellowship of the Ring in the Lord of the Rings movies got the word “nine” tattooed on themselves – in the Elvish script invented by series author J.R.R. Tolkien. As Walter and Jesse on the AMC series Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul received awards and acclaim. On the last day of shooting, they both got tattoos related to the show. After spending five months in the desert filming Mad Max: Fury Road, several cast members got matching tattoos. One group of actors who didn’t go through with their body art plans were the young stars of the Harry Potter movies: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint discussed getting matching tattoos in the shape of Potter’s famous lighting bolt scar, but ultimately decided against it.