The Photo Of (And Meaning Behind) Justin Theroux's Gigantic Back Tattoo

Photo: getty
What Is Justin Theroux's Back Tattoo? The Photo And Meaning Behind His Gigantic Back Tattoo

Justin Theroux has been making media waves lately. With his recent divorce from Jennifer Aniston and possible new romance with pop sweetheart Selena Gomez, it's not hard to see why. However, the latest buzz around the actor involves a particular back tattoo that fans have been wondering about for a while now.


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People have been curious about this specific tattoo after it was seen on Justin in an episode of his show, The Leftovers, a few years ago. In fact, most people thought it probably wasn't even real. But, Justin set the record straight on that himself in a 2014 interview. After being asked if that was really his tattoo on his back, Justin responded, "Those are my tattoos, correct."

The actor's love for getting inked is probably as well-known as his fascination with motorcycles — even though his former wife was hardly a tattoo enthusiast herself. Jennifer has even allegedly commented on her disdain for Justin's ink before, as an insider told Us Weekly that she and Justin didn't share the same hobbies, and Jen wasn't interested in going to tattoo shops with him.


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However, Justin's fans are definitely interested in his many tattoos and their origins — especially his massive back tattoo, which the actor has never really revealed much about until now. 

At the 2018 Vulture Festival, Justin finally gave up all the details of his back tattoo after a fan questioned him about it. Interviewer Jonathan Van Ness prompted the actor to show off the body art before giving the meaning of it. The actor stood up and gave the audience a short look at his back tattoo, revealing it to be a rat and a pigeon.

Before you start scratching your head at Justin's unusual choice of subjects for his tattoo, you have to understand the meaning behind it. And it's actually surprisingly sweet and sentimental. It all has to do with his late rescue dogs.

“So I had two dogs, both rescues, pit bulls… and when they died, I dedicated half my back to one and half of my back to the other,” Justin explained to the audience. “So its a picture of a rat, because my dog used to kill rats in Washington Square Park. It was horrible. I mean, they were doing a service to New York. Oh, and then a pigeon. A New York pigeon and a rat.”

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So there you have it. The mystery of Justin's back tattoo has finally been solved. And a collective awww is heard around the world for its tender meaning — as long as we try not to think about the actual images that make up the ink, that is.

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Sloane Solomon is a professional writer and editor. She graduated from the University of Colorado with a Bachelors in English Writing. When she's not writing or editing, you can find her daydreaming in French about coffee, online shopping, travel, and baby animals.