25 Surprising Celebrity Tattoos That Might Make You Want to Get Inked (Or Not)

Jay Dawson November 18th 2016 Entertainment
Stars rise and fall in the celebrity world with incredible speed. One day you're a waiter, the next you're famous, and the day after that you’re washed up and broke. And when you're not sure when the paychecks and talent will run out, it's understandable that you'd want a little bit of permanence in your life. Tattoos last longer than a dog, and they're easier to maintain than a mansion – it's an easy choice for a celebrity to make. Unfortunately, it's sometimes too easy. Here are some of the best celeb tattoos around – and some of the worst.

1. Selena Gomez

We’re all for inspirational quote tattoos – well sometimes, anyway. But Selena’s “Love Yourself First” is a bit strange. Not because it’s in Arabic – the script is actually quite lovely to look at – but because it’s on her back. How inspirational is it really going to be if you never get to see it?

2. Kylie Jenner

Here’s one of those tattoos that needs a full explanation attached. Sadly, we don’t have one for you. Last year the 19-year-old celeb got the word “sanity” tattooed on her hip. So far, so confusing. Just to make it more mysterious (or so people don’t confuse it with “sanitary”), it’s written in the International Phonetic Alphabet. And this year, she added the word “before” to it. Which really clears things up.

3. Kesha

She’s had a tough time lately, that Kesha, with some appalling treatment at the hands of Sony Music and the men running the show. But she’ll bounce back. Do you see that eye tattoo in the middle of her hand? That’s part of the Hand of Fatimah, a sacred Islamic symbol representing protection and courage. We don’t know when she got it, but hopefully it kicks in soon.

4. Cara Delevingne

With seven million followers, the sizzling English model has the Twittersphere hanging on her every word. It’s hard to fault her, of course, when that word is “bacon”. Yep – her love for the food is strong that she’s had it tattooed on the sole of her foot. We don’t disagree, Cara.

5. Lena Dunham

Funnywoman Lena Dunham is living a kind of fairy-tale life with the runaway success of the HBO series Girls. So it’s no surprise that she’s celebrated with a tattoo taken straight out of a children’s book. The scene pictured is from Eloise, by Kay Thompson. Unusual, but beautifully inked.

6. Katy Perry

Katy, we love you, but your ideas for a tattoo are not that original. Back when you got that one with Russell Brand, everyone was already doing quotes in Sanskrit. It’s been done to death. And the translation, “go with the flow”? Really? Here’s a better inspirational quote for you: “Think Before You Ink”.

7. Demi Lovato

Some tattoos are the result of a drunken night out, and others are just a permanently stupid reminder of a temporary relationship. Demi Lovato, though, has put a lot of thought into her ink, and they continue to guide her through life. “Stay Strong,” her two wrists read, covering scars from darker times. So she’ll never forget how tough she can be.

8. Zayn Malik

It’s hard to pick just one of pop idol and ladykiller Zayn’s numerous tatts, but we’ll choose the one he probably most regrets. If you look hard on his right arm, you’ll see her with the beanie and nose ring – ex-fiancé and singer Perrie Edwards. That’s right: “EX” fiancé. One day, people will finally realize that these things are permanent.

9. Angelina Jolie

Say what you like about Angelina, but the lady knows how to get rid of an embarrassing tattoo. Her original piece, which was ex-husband Billy Bob Thornton’s name and some trashy design, was quickly lasered off when the pair split. Later, it was replaced by this series of coordinates. It could be a treasure hunt, but it’s not – it’s where her children were born. Smart, and it looks great on her.

10. Miley Cyrus

We could have written an entire article about Miley Cyrus’s tatts. Her squeaky-clean days have been put well behind her, and now the girl’s a regular inkaholic. Her designs are generally pretty good, too, and usually small and cute like these ones on her hands (try to ignore the sweets). If she keeps getting more, though, she’s going to end up like a page out of Where’s Waldo.

11. Chanel Iman

American fashion model and Victoria’s Secret Angel Chanel isn’t shy about her profession. If you need proof, take a look at the tattoo on the back of her neck – a coat hanger and her name. Either it’s an original – if not entirely subtle – dig at the industry, or she gets lost a lot and would like to be returned to the dry cleaners.

12. Jason Derulo

Singer-songwriter-dancer-and-probably-nearly-billionaire Jason Derulo has clearly seen Click one too many times. Though the whole arm as a remote control idea is pretty awesome, and it does look a lot better than it could have, we seriously doubt that he would want to fast-forward through any of his life. Though we wish we had it for one of his albums.

13. Scarlett Johansson

Certified best person in the world (we haven’t met her; this is pure conjecture) Scarlett Johansson has got at least a half dozen stamps all around her heavenly body. But we think that we like this one the best. She says that looking at a sunrise always makes her happy. Those colors would make anyone crack a smile.

14. Pamela Anderson

Most Pammy-watchers would have seen her famous (and famously generic) barbed-wire tattoo. What you might not know is that it was one tattoo that really hurt more than it should. Sharing an ink needle with then-husband Tommy Lee might have been romantic, but it certainly wasn’t hygienic – and she got Hepatitis C as a result. It wasn’t even a good design.

15. Rihanna

Back tattoos are usually reserved for the seriously unclassy among us, but Rihanna manages to turn everything she touches into style. Both simple and sweet, the trail of stars falling from her neck captures just what we love about her. Anyway, the Barbadian has got quite a bit of ink on her, so maybe she was running out of room elsewhere.

16. David Beckham

With a bit of free time on his hands, Becks has gone off to community college and has enrolled in life drawing classes. This tattoo is his first effort, and we think it captures Victoria’s physique pretty well. We’re kidding, of course – the drawing was originally done by his 4-year-old daughter, Harper. Which is kinda sweet, in a way.

17. Drake

The megastar rapper recently put in time with famed tattoo artist Dr. Woo, and the result was, for better or worse, a sign of our times. We guess it’s true what they say – an emoji is worth a thousand words. Only we’re not sure what this one means. Is it a high-five or a prayer? Not even Drake knows, apparently.

18. Eve

Grammy Award winning late 90s rapper caused every man in the world to do a double-take when she revealed twin paw prints tattooed across her cleavage. She must have had a good reason for it, because it certainly wouldn’t have helped any wandering eyes. Everyone else who copied her, though, have no excuse.

19. Justin Bieber

When Justin revealed his new Jesus tattoo, we could all be forgiven for being a little skeptical. Sure, he’s a self-styled “devout Christian,” but we think his photos, music, videos, arrests, quotes, drug habits, and girlfriends might say something slightly different. Is it just us, or is JC looking a little sad down there?

20. Iggy Azalea

Another in the “tattoos we regret” camp, the rapper got “LIVE LOVE ASAP” tattooed over three fingers in a fit of passion, then split up with boyfriend ASAP Rocky soon after. She had “ASAP” crossed out, but we think that it just makes the truth a little bit more painful. At least it’s small. And she can leave the other two words.

21. Kristen Stewart

Revealing more and more depth by the day, Kristen’s upper forearm tatt is part of Picasso’s intense, mural-sized, “Guernica” painting. When shooting the Clouds of Sils Maria film in 2014, her character was covered in tattoos, and this one she decided to keep. She says that the piece was one that she “saw when I was 18 and in Madrid. It f---ing floored me and it’s the first time I responded to a piece of art like that. It is just perfect for me.” We agree.

22. Megan Fox

Often, it’s not until a few years down the line that you really start to regret your tattoo. For Transformers bombshell Megan Fox, the results were a little quicker. Soon after she got her Marilyn Monroe tattoo – an actress who she said inspired her – she started to get it lasered off. The reason? “It’s a negative character, as she suffered from personality disorders and was bipolar… I do not want to attract this kind of negative energy in my life.” Should have thought of that a little sooner.

23. Jennifer Lawrence

God certainly didn’t make any scientific mistakes when creating Jennifer Lawrence, but Jennifer certainly did when getting her first tattoo done. She tried to put the symbol for water on her hand – we assume for hydration reasons – but got the little 2 completely in the wrong place. She really shouldn’t have ever revealed the problem in the first place. We would have believed her if she said it was a runaway balloon and a TIE fighter.

24. Brad Pitt

This tatt, apparently, was traced straight over a doodle that Angelina Jolie had done absent-mindedly on his back one night. Which sounds like the dumbest idea ever, but it actually worked out pretty well. It’s a one of a kind, and the surreal lines and blips look like some transmission from outer space. Strange how the ones you don’t regret have had absolutely no thought put into them.

25. Hayden Panettiere

A quick double-check of Google Translate would have been a good idea for Heroes star and activist Hayden, whose Italian quote accidentally came with an extra “i”. Ironically enough, once translated, it should say “live without regrets”. Not that we can throw stones here – we regret that we can’t even speak Italian.

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