Angelina Jolie's Past and Present Tattoos and Their Meanings
Angelina Jolie is an actress best known for her lead roles in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Gia, Girl, Interrupted, and Hackers, her marriage to super-celebrity stud Brad Pitt, 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 twenty 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, so did 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.
Another tattoo that disappeared was this image created by her and Billy Bob and 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".
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.
On her left forearm there is also the letters "XIII", which translates to the number 13 in Roman numerals. She chose the number 13, which is thought to be unlucky, because she does not believe in superstitions.
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.
Another letter is located on Angelina's palm. It is a capital letter M, in honor of her recently deceased mother, Marcheline Bertrand.
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.
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 and Brad Pitt's daughter, Shiloh, was born.
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."
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.
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.
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!