Angelina Jolie's Tattoos: What They Mean and How They've Changed

By | December 28, 2013

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Angelina Jolie’s tattoos are a reflection of her rollercoaster life– her youth spent experimenting with sadomasochism and wild love affairs, to her current life as a doting mother and humanitarian. What hasn’t changed during her complete life makeover is her love for ink and today she is undoubtedly the most popular tattooed female celebrity in the world. This talented actress, who is blessed with exotic good looks, has more than a dozen tattoos and shows no signs of slowing down her collection.

Many people wander about the meaning of Angelina Jolie’s many tattoo’s-and I’m no different! Having spent years following the evolution of her body art, this is my roundup of some of my favorites of her tattoos along what they mean to Angelina.

Angelina Jolie’s Arm Tattoos

Angelina Jolie’s left arm used to be adorned with “Billy Bob”, in honor of her second husband. As her life progressed and she found new love in her current partner Brad Pitt, she had that tattoo lasered off. Her upper arm now features a list of the latitude and longitude coordinates for the birthplaces of all her children: adoptees Maddox (Cambodia), Zahara (Ethiopia), and Pax (Vietnam), plus natural-born Shiloh (Namibia), and twins Vivienne and Knox (France). There are six sets of coordinates listed, with the Nice, France numbers duplicated twice (once for each twin).

Her left inner forearm features a quote from Tennessee Williams that reads “A prayer for the wild at heart, kept in cages” while her right forearm has an Arabic symbol that translates to “determination”. That same arm also features the Roman numeral 13 to indicate that Angelina doesn’t believe in superstitions (and isn’t afraid of an “unlucky” number) and a tattoo of the letter “H,” in honor of her older brother, James Haven.

Angelina Jolie’s Stomach Tattoos

Angelina has gotten three different tattoos on her stomach, but one was a cover-up of another. She had a blue dragon on the left-hand side of her stomach, the result of an inebriated evening in the city of Amsterdam. Apparently, she has no recollection of getting that tattoo and had the proverbial “I just woke up with it” experience. Dissatisfied with the design, she choice to have it covered up with a large, solid black cross, and later remarked that when people see the top of the tattoo sticking up out of the waistband of her pants, some people think she’s carrying a gun!

Her second stomach tattoo is a phrase in Latin that is located just below her navel. The translation of “Quod me netrit me destruit” is “What nourishes me also destroys me.”, a phrase that has been interpreted a thousand different ways but which most likely refers to Angelina’s past experimentation with drugs and sexual activity. This is actually one of her most famous tattoss and has launched many a copycat, including on a recent season of America’s next top model, where one of the constestants had recreated the tattoo–in English.

Angelina Jolie’s Back Tattoos

Much like her arms, Angelina’s collection of back tattoos has been edited and added to as her life and attitude changed. Her left shoulder blade was once covered by a Japanese kanji symbol that translated to “death”, but that tattoo was covered over with an elaborate Buddhist prayer of protection. It is a Sanskrit blessing in the Cambodian language, and she has said it is there to protect her and her adopted Cambodian son Maddox from bad luck. The Gothic letter tattoo between her shoulder blades says “Know Your Rights” and is the title of a song by her favorite band.

Her lower back is the area that has been added to the most. Originally she had two tiny tribal-style designs on either side of her spine and a small dragon. However on a trip to Thailand, she had that work topped by a large tiger design. The artwork and tattooing of the tiger is in the traditional Thai style where the artist worked by hand, manipulating a long needle the slides inside a hollow tube, making all the thousands of punctures one at a time. If that sounds painful–it’s because it is! But Angelina was willing to suffer for her ability to express herself.

Now that you know the back story behind some of Angelina Jolie’s famous tattoos, you’re probably eager to look at them again to see them in a new light! And you’re in luck since there are several picture galleries of Angelina’s tattoos all over the internet. These are a few of my favorites:

JustJared has over 30 high quality pictures, including several of the tattoos that are no longer there.

The Daily Mail focuses on some of her most recent and most meaningful tattoo–those dedicated to her children.

And About.com has a detailed gallery of some of her arm and back tattoos as shown off at various award shows and movie premieres.

Enjoy!

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