Tattoos: a symbol of rebellion, self-expression, and artwork. Pretty common in today's society, right? It's true, except when it comes to celebrities. Sure, some celebs can get away with the fact that they have some not-so-subtle tattoos, while others go as far as laser removal just to be rid of the otherwise permanent ink.
The world of fame is a surprising one, and it's also full of people just like us who make the commitment to permanent artwork. Celebs you'd never expect seem to have more tattoos than the average person while celebs we'd totally expect to have full sleeves are absolutely free of ink.
It wasn't easy, but someone had to do it—we've found all the celebs who surprised us with their tatted work as well as some who are surprisingly free of it.
What's even more interesting are the stories behind the ink or, in some cases, the mystery behind it. Not every celeb spills all when it comes to their personal decisions, but we've managed to find all that we could on this sacred practice.
From the stars who seem the most innocent to those who, well, don't, here are just over 20 of the most surprising inked and non-inked celebs.
20 Lauren Conrad Has More Than One Symbolic Piece Of Ink
That's right, the Laguna Beach and The Hills star, who is now a designer and co-found of The Little Market, has some of her own small ink. When she was dating former co-star Jason, she actually had the letter 'J' tattooed on her stomach. She later had the tattoo turned into an 'L' and you'd never know anything otherwise.
According to Bustle, she has two other tattoos that are similar in size and just as well-hidden. The first is the quote 'sticks and stones', while the second is a bit more cryptic—the numbers '13-5-22'. We're not sure what it means, but it must be pretty important to have it in the form of a tattoo.
19 Ben Affleck's Back Piece Isn't The Only One He Has
Poor Ben Affleck really landed himself in the middle of some controversy when it was revealed that not only did he have a tattoo, but that he had a major back piece of a tattoo. While the interwebs attempted to be as obnoxious as possible about it, Affleck insisted that it was a fake before eventually acknowledging the truth: that it was real and it was there to stay.
The giant, multi-colored phoenix is a tattoo that many get because it has a very strong meaning in several cultures. The story of the phoenix and its ability to rise from the ashes stands for rebirth, strength, and the ability to endure. What's so bad about that?
18 St. Vincent Won't Even Get Her Ears Pierced
It's pretty rare in the music industry to find a singer or band member who's opposed to tattoos, but St. Vincent has no qualms admitting that she'd never get one. The songwriter made her explanation clear and precise, stating simply that she 'can’t think of a word or a picture that I would want on [her] body for the rest of [her] life,' according to an interview with Pitchfork.
She later confirmed that in addition to tattoos, she would likely never get anything pierced, either... including her ears. It's a strong stance but it's one that's truly respected in the age of self-expression.
17 Hailey Baldwin Is Owner Of A Whopping 19 Tattoos
The wife of Justin Bieber is pretty well-known for her ink, but what many don't realize is how many tattoos she actually has. Those who don't have them are often surprised at how many can fit on one person and so far, Haley is up to 19. In an interview with The Cut, she stated that she's a big fan of anything small and dainty and we'd tend to agree—it gives the appearance of something subtle and feminine.
Her favorite artist is Jon Boy, as she's been seen supporting him plenty of times on IG. The supermodel recently stated that she's taking a tattoo break, but something tells us that won't last too long.
16 Zoe Saldana Is A Superhero With At Least Ten Tattoos
In addition to being flawless, Zoe Saldana apparently has some other unique attributes too... At least ten tattoos! The actress owned up to at least that many several years ago while appearing on David Letterman and managed to crack some jokes about them, too. According to her grandmother, who isn't the biggest fan, she looks like a 'newspaper' with so many tattoos... but we feel otherwise!
The actress said that she's running out of space at this point, so only time will tell if it continues to be an ongoing hobby for her. A particularly beautiful tattoo that she has is the word for 'heal' in Hebrew.
15 Madelaine Petsch Is Admittedly Too Indecisive
The Riverdale star is known on the show for being quite straight-edge, and while she's seemingly bubbly and uber friendly in real life, tattoos are still not something she's quite sold on. Although her boyfriend has plenty, Madelaine Petsch claims that she just isn't the type to get something permanently inked on herself.
It's not for everyone and definitely not for those who are so indecisive, of which Petsch says she most definitely is. Unlike some of her co-stars, this star says she's just not willing to take the plunge right now. We can't really blame her, though; she's pretty awesome without them!
14 Zac Efron Gave In, Too... With A Popular Millennial Quote
It's really not such a surprise that Zac Efron has tattoos, as his larger ones have been captured by many a paparazzi. However, the surprise to us comes in the form of a small hand tattoo that's quite different from the rest. The star got a tattoo that's seemingly quite fitting for his philosophy on life, which he's never really complained about.
The star got 'YOLO' tattooed across the side of his hand, and while it may have inspired some eye rolls, it's not the worst thing in the world. Some of us enjoy subtlety rather than massive works of art as glaring reminders, and this is one of them. To each their own, right?
13 Reese Witherspoon Has A Surprisingly Large Work Of Art
While few have actually committed Reese Witherspoon's tattoo to film, it does exist. She was spotted recently with some new additions to the tat, which sits just along her hip. The tattoo, she claims, is symbolic of her family and features two birds and star design. The birds, which appeared soon after she got married, are meant to symbolize her life change and growing family.
While this is from a secondary source and not Witherspoon herself, we tend to believe that's exactly the reasoning for adding onto an older tattoo design. It's sweet and meaningful, something perfectly fitting for the sweetheart of an actress.
12 Taylor Swift Says No To Any Future Ink
Not so unsurprisingly, Taylor Swift has taken a firm 'no tattoos' stance when asked about it. While it's not surprising, what is surprising is that she didn't seem to rule them out completely in her interview with Taste of Country. The singer did say that she doesn't see herself ever 'permanently' committing to something of that caliber, but really, who knows?
It seems more that it's just not on her radar or something that's important to her and, with such a successful musical run, we're quite sure that she's got bigger things on her mind than hitting the tattoo parlor. Rock on, T-Swift.
11 Ryan Gosling Has Fake Tattoos And Some Real Ones
While Ryan Gosling has been seen with some faux tattoos for movies he's starred in, the actor does have some permanent ink. He was all tatted up for his role in The Place Beyond the Pines, but in real life, he has several that are actually real.
In an interview with W Magazine, he was quoted as saying that he liked 'bad' tattoos as well as this gem: "So I did one myself. That’s why it’s bad. I’m waiting to get old — I think old guys with tattoos look good." Whether or not he'll stick to his goal of getting 'bad' tattoos is something we can't confirm but hey, more power to him, right?
10 Scarlett Johansson's Tattoos Are, In Fact, Very Real
It's hard to tell if Scarlett Johansson seems like a tattoo person right off the bat, but that doesn't change the fact that she actually has several. The first two are fairly well-known and include a horseshoe near her ribcage and sunset on her forearm. They're far smaller and much more subtle than her most recent addition, but the third is just as stunning.
During the filming of Infinity War, Johansson was spotted with a large back piece that featured a cascade of roses in black and white. The tattoo was later spotted again at the 2018 Emmys when she wore a dress that definitely did her new ink some justice.
9 Shailene Woodley Isn't A Hard No But Believes In Purposeful Meaning
Unlike most celebs who are either a hard no or a total yes when it comes to getting inked, Shailene Woodley provided inquisitive minds with an interesting and unique response when asked about her interest in tattoos. Although she didn't say she would never get one, the actress did tell Yahoo that she believes any kind of tattoo should have a deep and purposeful meaning.
She believes tattoos are symbolic of a life journey, and this is something that Woodley does not believe she has quite enough experience in yet to commit to something so permanent. While it could very well be a possibility in the future, we'll see if she eventually changes her mind.
8 Brad Pitt Lays Claim To Something Deep And Meaningful
According to Ranker, Brad Pitt likes to keep the tattoos he has out of the way of prying eyes. Everyone has their reasons for where they get their tattoos and sometimes, they're purposely hidden much of the time. This hasn't stopped the general public from seeing Pitt's ink, though, and confirming that he does have several permanent pieces.
One of his tattoos and probably the most striking is the one on his arm, accompanied by quite a unique quote. The quote is as follows: 'There exists a field, beyond all notions of right and wrong. I will meet you there.' The quote was said by Rumi, for those who are unfamiliar with the 13th-century mystic poet and, in simplest terms, refers to the afterlife.
7 Zendaya: Photoshopped Tattoos Only
While Zendaya is cool enough on her own, she recently posted a photo on her IG of photoshopped tattoo sleeves. While the celeb admitted she would never actually commit to them, she did seem quite pleased with how they looked regardless.
Other than that, there seems to be no hard stance against tattoos (except for the sleeves she's most definitely not getting), but hey, who knows what the future holds. Word for word, she said, 'I would never do this...but hey ya girl looks good yatted??' And to be quite honest, we're lowkey hoping she decides to take the plunge anyway.
6 Eva Longoria Had Her Tattoos Removed... All Three Of Them
Back in 2016, Eva Longoria actually took to social media to document her personal experience going through laser tattoo removal. The snaps showed the entire process and her face made it clear how uncomfortable it was.
While it seems that at one time she was quite the fan of tattoos, she underwent removal for three of them. It took multiple sessions to completely remove the ink and all traces of the tattoo, something that many people can't see themselves committing to. It served as a lesson: don't get something tattooed unless you could see yourself with it for the rest of your life.
5 Christina Ricci Has An Intriguing Literary-Themed Tat
While small and abstract, Christina Ricci's tattoo seems almost perfectly fitting for her. The uniquely-designed lion on her back is a tribute to The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, which happens to be her favorite novel. This fun literary tattoo isn't the only one the star has, but the rest are just as tasteful and interesting as the first.
The black and white ink is delicate yet subtle and truly fit her personality. While she doesn't try to hide them, none of her tattoos is anything that would smack you in the face, either. Kind of like her personality, right?
4 Britney Spears Had An Interesting Tattoo Removed Post-Dark Days
Everyone talks about Britney's 'dark days' as though none of us have ever had a point in time where we've felt the need to shave our heads and go crazy. Okay, maybe we're not all that extreme, but something else did come out of this time for the 'Stronger' pop singer: an interesting tattoo.
According to Style Bistro, Britney hasn't had the best of luck with tattoos and has actually had two that were misspelled. The first, a small tat on her hip, was intended to mean 'rebellious' while the second, a Kabbalah-inspired tattoo, was intended to mean 'God'. The latter is the one she got removed and as far as we know, it has not been replaced.
3 Mark Wahlberg Went Under The Laser To Further His Future In Acting
One person you'd think would have plenty of his own ink is Mark Wahlberg but, in fact, his story is quite the opposite. The tattoos he did have were quite the interesting variety and included Sylvester the Cat and Tweety that were once on his ankle, his initials, a Bob Marley-inspired 'One Love' tattoo on his arm, and a rosary around his neck.
The actor has since made the effort to remove them in order to further advance his future in acting and it seems that it was the right move. While we're sure Wahlberg would have been just fine with his interesting ink, it's hard to picture him with such huge tattoos now.
2 Hilary Duff Has Many Subtle, Yet Meaningful Tattoos
Hilary Duff, both an actress and singer, is known for being a little bit rebellious at times. But still, it's a bit of a surprise to find out the star is such a fan of permanent ink.
On her arms, she has several small and cute designs, including a bird with the words 'stand by me', a red heart on her wrist, the word 'shine' on her finger, 'thick as thieves' along the outer part of her arm, a two-cents coin, a tiny 'ride or die' ghost, her son's name Luca, the initials 'bk', a crescent moon with an arrow, and several roses. According to BodyArtGuru, she also has several more including one on her ankle, under her ribcage, and even on the back of her neck.
1 Victoria Beckham's Ink Is Beautiful And Deep
Victoria Beckham is known for her edgy look and style, but she's also known for her interesting tattoo work. Many know about the tattoo down her spine that means 'I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine', but she has several others, all just as meaningful.
The celeb has the Roman numeral date of her and her husband's marriage revitalization on her wrist and, according to BodyArtGuru, she also has David Beckham's initials on her other wrist. In addition to his initials, Beckham also has the words 'together, forever, eternally' in Hebrew. Lastly, she has the Hebrew words for 'again from the start' on her right wrist. The beautiful thing is that her husband also has corresponding tattoos in honor of their love.
Sources: BodyArtGuru, Ranker, Style Bistro, The Cut, W Magazine, A Taste of Country