The 40 Wildest Celebrity Tattoos Of All Time — And Their Meaning

Photo: Gabe Ginsberg and Jamie McCarthy via Getty Images
The 40 Wildest Celebrity Tattoos Of All Time — And Their Meaning
Entertainment And News

These celebs are like everyone else, even when it comes to getting inked.

Ever wonder about the meaning behind a celebrity tattoo? There's always a sentimental reason behind a person's permanent ink, and when you discover the secret, it's exciting. 

Anytime I think of society's fascination with celebrities, I instantly start hearing the song, “High School Never Ends” by Bowling for Soup in my head. In a world where the social hierarchy basically never changes past the popularity contests of secondary school, it’s no surprise that we’re so fascinated by who would be the “popular kids.”

Celebrities are basically just the “in” crowd that we’re all gossiping about for some reason or another. Regardless of whether or not we want to admit it, we are all influenced to some degree by our celebrity crushes. So, it’s no surprise that we are all enamored by what kind of tattoo a favorite celebrity may have and the meaning behind their art.

Even if following the latest gossip can seem trivial at times, the reality is that celebrities are famous for a reason, which makes these celebrity tattoos even more meaningful to them — and us. 

RELATED: Pictures Of Every Tattoo We Can Find On Selena Gomez's Body — Plus The Meaning & Inspiration Behind Each

It helps us to understand them better. They inspire entertainment that forces us to feel something, and regardless of how much we may like to trivialize such things, they do matter. 

Celebrities influence society (in both positive and negative ways). Their tattoos are no different than the many other ways in which they influence society. A tattoo can inspire emotion, sentiment and creativity, kind of like good music inspires a plethora of emotions in the soul.

That’s why this list of the best (and, in my opinion, the most inspiring) celebrity tattoos is here to inspire you with your own tattoo ideas!

1. Miley Cyrus’ “Love” tattoo

Miley’s “love” tattoo is something inspiring that we all could take a little lesson from. In with the good, out with the bad, if you will.

Cyrus’s “Love” tattoo on her right ear is symbolic of her only wanting to hear positive things and to drown out negative things.

2. Jennifer Aniston’s “Norman” tattoo

A love this strong is inspiring.

Aniston’s “Norman” tattoo is a tribute to her late dog, Norman, who died in May of 2011.

3. Johnny Depp’s “3” tattoo

Depp’s simple number three tattoo is interesting and unique. Plus, love the font!

Depp’s “3” tattoo is mostly symbolic to him personally. He connects with the number three because of his infatuation with triangles, the trinity and him finding the number “magical” using the example of how “two people become three.”

4. Ariana Grande’s crescent moon tattoo

I think we all want a friend that feels close enough to get matching tats with.

Grande’s crescent moon tattoo was a dedication to her favorite song “Moonlight,” which means a lot to her. 

5. Demi Lovato’s “Stay Strong” tattoo

Am I the only one who didn’t know Lovato went to rehab? Probably. Regardless, the dedication to better living illustrated by this tattoo is definitely something to aspire to.

Lovato’s “Stay Strong” tattoos (“Stay” on her left wrist, “Strong” on her right wrist”) were a symbolic celebration of her successfully completing rehab in 2011.

6. Lady Gaga’s Mouse tattoo

This one is so cute, unique and fascinating to me. It just works so well for Gaga.

Gaga’s mouse tattoo is a dedication to her younger sister, Natali, who was called “mouse” when they were growing up. Why the mouse is holding a sewing needle and looks pretty banged up remains a mystery.

7. Kesha’s rainbow tattoo

I have a soft spot for rainbows, so I absolutely love the idea of “injecting more color into your life” with a colorful tattoo. Go Kesha!

Kesha’s Rainbow tattoo has a whole lot of meaning to her. It is a tribute to her Rainbow album and tour, but more than this it is about her wanting to “inject color into her life” and be truer to herself. She also noted that it’s about the freedom to be yourself addressing how this is also a symbol for the LGBT community.

8. Kelly Osbourne’s “Stories..." tattoo

While the placement of this tattoo doesn’t exactly scream “commitment,” it’s a cool tattoo nonetheless.

Osbourne’s “Stories..." tattoo was symbolic of her commitment to her clothing line (called Stories... ).

9. Megan Fox’s “Strength” tattoo

Hers is a wonderful reminder that even celebrities need little nudges to be strong sometimes.

Fox’s tattoo of the Chinese symbol for strength is symbolic of the homebodies fear of Hollywood and how “You have to be a really strong human being to survive it, as a girl especially.” This tattoo seems to me a symbolic way for Megan to survive the struggles of being famous.

10. Jessica Alba’s Lotus in Sanskrit tattoo

To be honest, I’m unsure there is a more fitting reason to get a tattoo than because an ex was against it. Love it.

Alba revealed in an interview with Stephen Colbert that the tattoo "means the manifestation of spiritual beauty." And that she got the tattoo after a breakup with an unnamed actor who "was anti-tattoos.” It was meant to symbolize how "after [she] broke up with him, [she] found [herself] again."

11. Sam Smith’s Equal Sign tattoo

Very simple and fitting for such a noble cause.

Smith’s equal sign tattoo on his ring finger is a symbol of his beliefs in “gay marriage and equality for all.” Growing up gay himself, this symbol clearly meant a lot to him.

12. Emma Stone’s Bird Feet tattoo

I can’t even describe how awesome and inspiring the story of Emma Stone’s tattoo is. Now, I want matching tattoos with my mother. So cool.

Stone and her mother got matching bird feet tattoos on their wrists to celebrate mama Stone’s won battle with breast cancer. The tattoo was designed by Paul McCartney himself, and was inspired by Stone and her mother’s mutual love of the song “Blackbird” (which was written by Paul McCartney).

13. Vanessa Hudgens’ Butterfly tattoo

I find the symbolism behind Hudgens' tattoo to be a bit cheesy. However, that doesn’t stop me from adoring the gorgeous and simple design.

The butterfly tattoo on Hudgens’ neck is symbolic of her name. She explained to David Letterman on the Late Show how “a butterfly landed on my mum's stomach a week before I was born, and that's how I got my name, because Vanessa means butterfly — it's a Latin derivative.”

14. Cara Delevingne’s “Made in England” tattoo

I adore the symbolism behind this tattoo. Seems like a bit of a feminist statement as well, which I also adore.

The tattoo on Cara's left foot that reads “Made in England” is meant to represent how Delevingne felt as a model (as if they treated her like a doll or mannequin, i.e., an object).

15. Angelina Jolie’s Tiger tattoo

Tattoos that link to your heritage are always interesting.

Jolie’s tattoo on her lower back is a “Bengal tiger” that was meant to “celebrate her Cambodian citizenship in 2004.”

16. Rihanna’s Shark tattoo

Matching couple’s tattoos? Always cute. Plus, I love how unique, personal and fun these tattoos are.

Drake and Rihanna have matching camo shark tattoos: "The camo shark is supposed to be a cute reference to one of Rihanna's dates with the Degrassi alum, who took her to an aquarium in Toronto and bought her a stuffed animal shark."

17. Justin Bieber’s Crown tattoo

I have a new respect for Bieber after reading that Michael Jackson was a musical idol for him.

Although Justin has yet to release a statement explaining any of his tats, fans have guessed that his crown tattoo above his left peck is dedicated to the late Michael Jackson (the “king” of pop), who was one of Justin’s musical idols.

18. Brooklyn Beckham’s Camera tattoo

I just can’t get over the detail on this one. So cool.

Beckham’s extremely detailed camera tattoo on his inner left bicep is simply a tribute to his chosen profession (photography).

19. Nicole Richie’s Ballerina Slipper tattoo

I love how personalized and cute this little tattoo is!

Richie’s ballerina slippers tattoo on her lower right stomach is meant to represent her father, Lionel Richie’s song “Ballerina Girl,” which has been reported to have been dedicated to Nicole.

RELATED: A Complete List Of (Pretty Much) Every Tattoo On Post Malone's Face & Body

TRENDING NOW on YourTango

20. Sara Hyland’s Hummingbird tattoo

Love the simple black and white effect on this one!

The young actress explained her tattoo as representing “joy and lightness” because the hummingbird is an “independent and resilient animal.”

21. Lilly Collin’s Crown and Wings tattoo

I love how this one took two kind of stereotypical tattoos and combined them to make it her own!

Collins has explained that the crown part of her wrist tattoo is meant to symbolize her British heritage, and the wings are meant to give her a connection to her mother, who has an angel tattoo.

22. Ruby Rose’s Crown tattoo

Simple, but great.

Rose’s crude drawing of a crown in the center of her chest is a tribute to the late street artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

23. Christina Ricci’s Lion tattoo

I really can’t get over how adorable this tattoo is. An adorable animal tattoo may be in my future.

The lion tattoo on Ricci’s upper right back is Aslan, the lion from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe. This must be one of Ricci’s favorite book series.

24. Amy Shcumer’s Lower Back tattoo

I may be impartial because I’m a big Amy Schumer fan, but I think this tattoo, while simple, is still pretty great.

Although Schumer has never spoken about any particular symbolism in her iconic “lower back tattoo”, we can speculate that it must have some meaning to her on some person level, since it inspired the punny title of her book, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo.

25. Reese Witherspoon’s Tummy tattoo

A star tattoo is pretty basic, but I still kind of want one. The addition of the birds was a nice touch. I love that.

Witherspoon has had a star tattoo on her stomach just above her bikini line “for years,” but when she married Jim Toth in 2011, she got two little blue birds on the sides to represent their “new life and love together.”

26. Katy Perry’s Inner Arm tattoo

We all need a little reminder from time to time to let go and enjoy ourselves a bit more.

The tattoo on the inside of Perry’s right bicep says, “Anuugacchati Pravaha” in Sanskri, which translates to “Go With the Flow.”

27. Nicki Minaj’s Chinese Symbol tattoo

It’s interesting how many celebrities have tattoos inspired by their personal faith and spirituality.

The Chinese symbol tattoo means, “God will be with you”

28. Britney Spears’ Pink Dice tattoo

This tattoo screams, “not a girl, not yet a woman.” I love wrist tattoos! So cute!

Spears’s pink dice tattoo on her left wrist was a couple’s tattoo between her and her now ex-husband Kevin Federline (who has a set of blue dice to match).

29. Colin Farrell’s “Love No Matter” tattoo

I find it absolutely adorable that Farrell still hasn’t given up on “true love” despite his success in Hollywood. Good for him!

Farrell’s tattoo on his left peck is a “reference to his undying belief in true love and the power of relationships.”

30. Miranda Lambert’s Double Six Shooter with Wings tattoo

Personally, I think this one wins “most badass” tattoo on our list.

Lambert got the two six shooters surrounded by angel wings tattoo on the inside of her left arm to “to honor her success as a performer.” Since, the tattoo has became a sort of logo for the country diva.

31. Selena Gomez’s Side tattoo

We all need to be reminded of this from time to time. Love it.

The tattoo on Gomez’s upper right side of her back translates to “Love Yourself” with the Arabic translation translating to, “Love Yourself First”.

32. Keith Urban’s Phoenix tattoo

This one is particularly inspiring given Urban’s past issues with addiction.

Urban’s phoenix tattoo symbolizes a sort of rebirth and becoming stronger through difficult experiences. He said in an interview, "The 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger' story of the phoenix... I can relate very strongly to that, going through hard times and coming out the other end of it much stronger for the experience."

33. Hayden Panettiere’s Ankle tattoo

A nice, simple personal touch.

Penettiere’s tiny ankle tattoo is a glyph symbol for “Leo”. It's most likely meant to symbolize her own astrology sign (as she is, in fact, a Leo herself).

34. Hilary Duff’s Ghost tattoo

This one is so simple, yet so cute! I absolutely love the idea of hiding a little phrase within a tattoo!

Duff has a little ghost tattoo on her arm that says “ride or die” at the end of the ghost’s sheet. Duff says, “the ghost doesn’t really represent anything”, but her best friend has the same tattoo, so the tattoo obviously is meaningful of their bond, regardless of the lack of sentiment behind the ghost itself.

35. Tim McGraw’s Fish tattoo

While this one is a bit of a stereotypical Christian tat, it still looks quite good on this hunky country music star.

McGraw has an ichthys (or “Jesus fish”) tattoo on the inside of his right arm. Most likely this tattoo is a symbol of his faith.

36. Anne Hathaway’s Wrist tattoo

Simple and cute. Love it.

Hathaway has the letter “M” tattooed on the inside of her left wrist. Ann has never publicly released a statement about the tattoos meaning, but fans have speculated that the “M” could possibly stand for Michael (her brother’s name) or McCauley (her mother’s maiden name).

37. Lea Michele’s Coffee Cup tattoo

I’m seriously tempted to get down to a tattoo parlor to get this one pronto.

Michele’s tiny coffee cup tattoo on the inside of her right ring finger is in memory of her grandmother, who gave her “her first coffee at age 8.”

38. Kelly Clarkson’s “Love Them More” tattoo

Such a cool idea to tattoo something that reminds you of good elder advice from your childhood.

Clarkson got the phrase “Love Them More” with a tiny cross on the inside of her right wrist, because it was her favorite advice her preacher gave her as a child to explain to her why people were mean (because they “weren’t loved enough”). She got the tattoo as a reminder of this advice "because there are a lot of mean people in this industry."

39. Scarlett Johansson's Sunrise tattoo

I love the idea of getting a tattoo, merely because it makes you smile. That’s plenty good reason, in my opinion.

Johansson’s sunrise tattoo on the inside of her left arm has merely been explained as making “her happy.”

40. Vin Diesel’s Tribute to Paul Walker tattoo

Vin Diesel's memorial tattoo is so sweet.

Diesel’s upper back tattoo containing a realistic set of eyes inside of angel wings is in memory of his Fast and Furious co-star and best friend, Paul Walker.

RELATED: 11 Of The Most Unique Celebrity Tattoos To Inspire Your Next Ink

Sign Up for the YourTango Newsletter

Let's make this a regular thing!

Nicole Bradley-Bernard is a writer who needs coffee more than she needs anyone’s approval. She enjoys putting bright colors in her curly brown hair, spending time outside on cool days and being with her partner in life, Eric, who she considers a continuing source of inspiration. 

Author
Contributor