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Angelina Jolie's Past and Present Tattoos and Their Meanings

I have thirteen tattoos. I think they're all pretty cool (and definitely don't qualify as "bad-quality").

Angelina's "Billy Bob" tattoo dissolved almost as quickly as their marriage.

Angelina's "Billy Bob" tattoo dissolved almost as quickly as their marriage.

Angelina Jolie's Tattoo Journey

Angelina Jolie is an actress best known for her lead roles in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Gia, Girl, Interrupted, Hackers, and the incident where she made out with her brother after winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress back in 2000. Angelina is also a big fan of body modification via the art of tattooing.

The focus on her many tattoos began when she embarked on a whirlwind romance with actor Billy Bob Thornton. The two had an extremely close relationship—passionate and intense, if a bit eccentric. It was rumored that the small vials they each wore on chains around their necks actually contained droplets of one another's blood. When Angelina married Billy Bob (who is 20 years her senior and old enough to be her father) in 2000 after co-starring with him in Pushing Tin, she chose to commemorate their union with a permanent mark. On her upper left arm, she tattooed a dragon with the name Billy Bob just above it. In 2003, after their marriage dissolved, she modified the tattoo. The dragon remains, but Billy Bob's name has since been removed using laser surgery; it took five sessions to fully remove the ink.

"Strength of Will"

Another tattoo that disappeared was this image created by her and Billy Bob; it was indecipherable to anyone on the outside looking in. Located on the inside of her right forearm, Angelina erased this tattoo by covering it up with the Arabic characters for "strength of will."

Tattoo of a line from a Tennessee Williams poem.

Tattoo of a line from a Tennessee Williams poem.

A Line of Poetry

Opposite this tattoo, on the inside of her left forearm, is an excerpt from a Tennessee Williams poem that reads, "A prayer for the wild at heart, kept in cages." This piece covers up the Japanese symbol for courage, which matched one worn by her former husband Jonny Lee Miller.

Not Unlucky #13

On her left forearm, there are also the letters "XIII," which translates to the number 13 in Roman numerals. She chose the number 13, which is thought to be unlucky; she does not believe in superstitions.

“H” Is For...

There is some debate over the tattoo Angelina has on her left inner wrist, a lowercase letter H. It is rumored that the H is for her former boyfriend, Timothy Hutton; Angelina, however, insists that it is there to remind her of James Haven, her brother.

The letter "M" honors Jolie's late mother, Marcheline Bertrand.

The letter "M" honors Jolie's late mother, Marcheline Bertrand.

Honoring Her Mother

Another letter is located on Angelina's palm. It is a capital letter M, in honor of her late mother, Marcheline Bertrand.

A tilted cross with Latin inscription.

A tilted cross with Latin inscription.

A Cross and Latin Inscription

While drunk in Amsterdam a few years ago, Angelina woke up with a tattoo of a freaky-looking dragon with a blue tongue on her left hip. Naturally, she despised and regretted the tattoo and a while later covered it up with a thick black cross. She added the phrase "Quod me nutrit me destruit," which is Latin for "What nourishes me also destroys me" alongside the tilted cross.

The tattooed coordinates of where her children were born or adopted.

The tattooed coordinates of where her children were born or adopted.

Honoring Her Children

One of her most recent tattoos are the coordinates of latitude and longitude on her upper left arm that represent where she adopted her three children, Maddox, Zahara, and Pax, and the location where her daughter with Brad Pitt, Shiloh, was born.

Tattoo of a Buddhist prayer.

Tattoo of a Buddhist prayer.

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A Buddhist Prayer

Angelina's very first tattoo was the Japanese character for death on her left shoulder. She supposedly chose this macabre image as a reminder to herself to live each day to the fullest. This too was eventually either removed and/or covered up. When Angelina adopted her first son, Maddox, from Cambodia, the tat was replaced by a Buddhist prayer written in Khmer, Cambodia's native language. Done by a real Buddhist monk, the tattoo is intended to protect her and her son from bad luck. The tattoo says, "May your enemies run far away from you. If you acquire riches, may they remain yours always. Your beauty will be that of Apsara. (a celestial dancer from Khmer mythology) Wherever you may go, many will attend, serve and protect you, surrounding you on all sides."

A Bengal tiger.

A Bengal tiger.

Bengal Tiger

Angelina's largest tattoos are on her lower back, where she has a large Bengal tiger that was done in Bangkok. It was created and then blessed by the same artist, Buddhist monk Sompong Kanphai, who did the Khmer prayer.

Blue dragon tattoo with tribal design elements.

Blue dragon tattoo with tribal design elements.

Blue Dragon

Just below the tiger is a blue dragon with a window beneath it. Angelina has said that the window symbolizes a time when she was on the inside looking out, desiring to live the life that she now has. The window has possibly been removed. Accenting these tattoos are two black tribal designs on either side of the window.

"Know your rights"

"Know your rights"

A Personal Meaning

Finally, the words "Know your rights" are inked in black letters on the back of her neck between her shoulders. The meaning is unclear to outsiders, but I am certain it has a highly personal meaning for Angelina herself. A talented woman of grace, beauty, and intensity, Angelina's many tattoos perfectly match her personality. They are sleek and daring—just like her!


renee on March 25, 2013:


biblequotes on April 16, 2012:

Jesus instruct us to judge righteously, keep reading!

LuverOfLyfeNBodyArt on July 20, 2011:

To all whom vocally degrade the choice of people like myself who choose to permanently wear our beliefs and symbols of our faith love and happiness for the world to see, it's called freedom of speech !!!! Many have died to give us this right. The bible says {Thy shall not judge} that means you.

Paggaw on July 12, 2010:

her tattoos are anya?

Koa on June 15, 2010:

the five row tattoo on her left shoulder and the big tiger were done by Thai Khmer prayer also called Ajan Noo Karnpai who is very famous in Thailand. She also have many tattoo than you thought and done by the same Thai guy but you can't see them because he use oil to tattoo.

what the hell on March 07, 2010:

i think tatoos are trash. black and white. trashy and ugly and almost irrimoveable. plus if u do what angelina did and did something like ur hubby's name and then got divorced it would be almost impossible to get it off if ur not spoiled and rich like angelina and brad and the rest of her circus family.trashy trashy trashy............suck it

nathalia on August 21, 2009:

eu acho bem legal eu imitei ela e fiz todas essas tatus

Rose Ella Morton from Beverly Hills, Michigan on July 25, 2009:

I think tatoo's are private, and only your lover our spouse should be able to look upon them. I remember when Brad Pitt was on Oprah. he wouldn't show his tatoo on his lower back, saying it was for his wife eye's only.

Arabic Tattoo on May 30, 2009:

Angelina Jolie has style but what's more - she doesn't make mistakes - her Arabic tattoo is correct! If you are looking for an accurate Arabic tattoo - check out

rachaelc from Austin on October 01, 2008:

very interesting and thorough. thanks!

Lacey on August 06, 2008:

First of all tattoos are a beautiful form of art. Angelinas are very significant to her life. Your just Jealous because your probably like 12 and cant have them yet. I on the other hand think they are hot. You should probably invest in one. Start saving in your piggy bank

Kai on April 01, 2008:

The "Know your rights" tattoo is a quote from a song from The Clash, her favorite band.

elizabeth uno on November 27, 2007:

angelina is an original persona no stupid lookin taz tattoos on that girl.don't print what you will regret....make your tat true to you other wise what's the point its a scar aint it ? good or bad...

Vincent on September 05, 2007:

Who tatoos for her.

GreatTattoosNow from San Jose on September 04, 2007:

Nice hubpage on Angelina Jolie. She has some great tattoos since they are very orginal and unique to her. Nice pictures and nice hubpage.

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