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Angelina Jolie's Tattoos and Their Meanings

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Angelina Jolie is one of the world's most recognizable actresses and has an extensive collection of tattoos across her body.

Angelina Jolie is one of the world's most recognizable actresses and has an extensive collection of tattoos across her body.

Hollywood Darling, Philanthropist, and Tattoo Enthusiast

Angelina Jolie is easily one of Hollywood's most recognizable actresses of the last couple of decades. The child of actors Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand, she began making a name for herself in the 1990s after starring in acclaimed projects like George Wallace and Gia. She won an Oscar for Girl, Interrupted and was honored with the Academy’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 2013 for her extensive philanthropic work around the world.

When she hits the red carpet, she undoubtedly draws attention, and fans can often catch glimpses of her extensive and evolving collection of tattoos. Let's take a look at some of their meanings and how they've changed over the years.

Back Tattoos

Jolie's collection of back tattoos has been edited and altered many times.

Sanskrit Tattoos

She used to have a Japanese kanji that translated to "death" on her left shoulder, but that 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 to honor her first adopted son, Maddox.

Know Your Rights

Later, she had the phrase "know your rights" tattooed just below her neck. This is believed to be a tribute to Jolie's favorite band The Clash who has a song with the same name. Jolie has been very outspoken about the rights of girls and refugees around the world for many years, giving the tattoo even more meaning.

Buddhist Yant Tattoos

More recently, she added a Buddhist Yant on her right shoulder while filming in Cambodia. The tattoo is a tribute to the virtues of Buddha and helps protect against failures and bad times.

She also added a Yant of the five gods below "know your rights," a symbol meaning having and acting with grace towards yourself and others.

Traditional Thai Designs

Below that, she placed two more large, traditionally designed Thai tattoos. The upper is a box with magical text, so unique to Jolie that it's hard to decipher. The lower is also very personal, though it's thought to represent the four elements: earth, wind, fire, and water.

Dragon and Tiger Tattoos

Her lower back is the area that's been added to the most. Initially, she had two tiny tribal-style designs on either side of her spine and a small dragon. However, on a trip to Thailand, the dragon was overshadowed by a large tiger placed directly above it.

The design and inking of the tiger were both done in a traditional Thai style. Working by hand, the artist used a long needle that slid inside a tube and was able to make thousands of punctures one at a time.

In the video below, the artist who tattooed the large dragon on her back explains the spiritual aspects of his work and talks about working on tattooing both Jolie and Brad Pitt.

Arm Tattoos

Jolie's arm tattoos follow the classic American style where designs mix, and there is no background pattern. The tattoos appear to be spaced and placed on a whim.

"Billy Bob" and Coordinates

Originally, the tattooing on her left bicep was the name "Billy Bob," for Billy Bob Thorton, her second husband, and a black tribal dragon was just below. Neither of those can be seen anymore, as both were removed with laser treatment.

What now occupies her upper arm is 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 daughter Shiloh (Namibia), and twins Vivienne and Knox (France). There are six sets of coordinates, with the Nice, France, numbers duplicated twice (once for each twin).

In early 2011, the seventh line of coordinates appeared on Jolie's upper arm, below the six that signify the birth locations of her children. It was revealed to be Shawnee, Oklahoma, the birthplace of Pitt—her partner at the time.


Her right inner forearm features a quote from Tennessee Williams. The line reads, "A prayer for the wild at heart, kept in cages." This tattoo is a cover-up for what used to be a tattoo of a Japanese kanji.

On Angelina's left forearm, she has an Arabic tattoo, which translates to "will (determination)." Supposedly this piece is a cover-up of another piece she got during her marriage to Thornton. That same arm also features a tattoo of the letter "H," in honor of her older brother James Haven, and the Roman numeral 13.

During press appearances for her movie Salt, two new decorative designs were on her arms. One is next to the Roman numeral on her lower forearm, and the other surrounds the latitude and longitude coordinates.

Stomach and Leg Tattoos

Though her tattoos are generally concentrated to her back and arms, Jolie has a few others across the lower part of her body.


Angelina has had three tattoos on her stomach, one being a cover-up of another. She claims she used to have a blue dragon on the left-hand side of her stomach, the result of an intoxicated 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 chose to have it covered up with a large, solid black cross. Later, she remarked that when people see the top of the tattoo sticking up out of the waistband of her pants, some think she's carrying a gun.

Her second stomach tattoo is a Latin phrase located just below her navel. The translation of "quod me netrit me destruit" is "what nourishes me also destroys me."

"For Brad"

In 2010, she added a tattoo to her inner thigh that reads Whiskey Bravo, which she later revealed as being "for Brad." The two are each licensed pilots, and Pitt's aviation name is Whiskey Bravo.

Angelina as Fox in "Wanted." "Toil" and "Tears" are just two of the fake tattoos added for the movie character.

Angelina as Fox in "Wanted." "Toil" and "Tears" are just two of the fake tattoos added for the movie character.

Jolie's Tattoos in Wanted

For her role as a world-class assassin in the movie Wanted, Angelina got to do something she doesn't get to do all that often. She got to let every single one of her tattoos show. In fact, for her role as Fox, she decided it would be appropriate to add even more. The tattoos she sports in the movie are a mix of her own work and some theatrical fakes.

Some of her inspiration came from Winston Churchill's quote, "'We have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat." She had the words "toil" and "tears" placed on the inside of her upper arms.

She also had the "know your rights" tattoo duplicated in Latin and "strength of will" repeated in multiple languages. On her left arm, she placed a floral design going down her forearm and onto her hand. Matching designs were applied to the gun her character used, so the patterns lined up in one continuous design when she held the weapon.

© 2007 Raye

What do you think of Angelina and her ink?

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on November 25, 2014:

Sherry, given that she doesn't know you, nor you her, Angelina's tattoos aren't supposed to have any meaning for you.

Sherry Hewins from Sierra Foothills, CA on November 24, 2014:

I guess they are meaningful for her, but they just look like text to me.

Aamir Raheem on February 18, 2012:

Anglina is a special edition of bold woman, holding the top category in tatooes.

Sahara on December 09, 2011:

I think she's a bold woman who truly knows herself and is comfortable enough with herself to pretty much say to hell with the naysayers when it comes to her body art. From one inked woman to another, I think she is extremely beautiful and as others have said, she carries herself well with regards to her tattoos and they each have special meaning for her. That is the first and most important part about getting a tattoo in the first place.

If a tattoo design doesn't have personal meaning behind it then it is just chaos ink; however, well thought out tattoo designs and placement in addition to the personal meanings behind them makes them not only beautiful but an extension of a person's own creative spirit. My tattoos have personal meaning to me and they are an extension of who I am, where I've been, and where I want to from here along with the love of my children. I have a triquatra in purple (custom design) on my upper left wrist going down the sides of my wrist. The inner section of the triquatra has the circle of life. The three ovals of the triquatra itself represent the maiden (childhood), mother (age of conception), and crone (grandmother/post-childbearing years). It also represents my two daughters as well as myself with the circle of life in the center to show that life never ends, it simply begins again birth, life, death, and rebirth, etc... On the outer edges there are lavender vines, which represent healing. I have mod- to severe Lupus (SLE), Sjogren's, Fibromyalgia, blindness w/light perception & ability to see within 2-3in in front of my eyes with severe loss of peripheral vision, joint damage, severe osteoporosis, connective muscle damage, inflamed corneas from Sjogren's Disease, severe fatigue, and insomnia to name a few health issues I deal with on a daily basis.

I have an intricate purple butterfly on my left ankle to represent each of us from around the world who suffer with Lupus each day yet still get up fighting to live until a cure is found - hopefully within our lifetime and even more hopeful that it comes before many are at the point where a cure will only stop the disease once it's entered the severe stage as mind has. There's no going back so I want as many as possible to be able to have access to a cure before they are like me and the hundreds of thousands of others who will only have relief but no going back to our former health before Lupus.

Eventually, I would love to have a tattoo on my upper shoulder blade with either a heart or a butterfly created out of a special diamond design that will literally glitter when it hits the sun because of the song written by Rob Thomas for his wife who has lupus called, Her Diamonds, which personally, I prefer the acoustical version to the studio version b/c it actually sounds more real and has more bite to it than the stripped clean studio version.

Last, I'd love to have a dragon tattoo with the words written beneath it, "Love All ~ Trust a Few ~ Do Harm to None"

I'd really like the Buddhist prayer that Angela Jolie has but there are few Asian or Buddhist ink artists where I live so I don't want to take the chance of getting a tat or two only to learn the writings & meanings are not what they should be. Some say I'm overly picky when it comes to who I let do my art & that I pay far to much for it but I want custom designs that mean something to me plus, it's important to me that they be authentic & say what they mean.

BTW, my doctor & even the Lupus Foundation have all been supportive of my inkings and my piercings. My doctors helped me stay healthy prior to, during, and after the ink & piercings I've had done. I have only had one out of the ones I've had done go sideways and that was more because I didn't know I was allergic to nickel than anything else. After learning this little gem of information along with the fact that some 80% of women are allergic to nickel, I began to spread the news among those I knew who wanted piercings so they would know ahead of time in addition to prior to surgery because I was lucky. I had to have surgery several months after my first piercing went sideways because of the allergy. It helped my surgeon by ensuring he used equipment that did not have nickel alloy in it so it would not cause any more health problems than I have already, which is more than enough. The surgery was necessary because of damage from Lupus (SLE) and Sjogren's Disease wreaking havoc on an internal organ I could live without although I've learned it is not as easy to live without it as I initially thought but there was no option when it come to removal. It was a life or death and further damage to my health situation so I had to have the operation regardless of the hardships that followed and continue to follow even today 4 years later.

Keep rocking Angelina!

sada22 on October 05, 2011:

Face it Shes a badass biathch!! LovE Her!!!!!

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on September 15, 2011:

j3llyfi5h, I have no clue. You'll have to do some font research on that one.

j3llyfi5h on September 14, 2011:

what font is the toil and tears in ?

Amanda B on April 23, 2011:

I dont like tatoos, but these ones are very special.

Karli on December 18, 2010:

I love her tats!! It kind of gives you a sneak peek into her private life, and it shows she's human just like any of us, not someone with supernatural powers like we view most people in Hollywood.

vian on August 05, 2010:

i have always admired Angelina. I feel that if I had the chance i would do the same. praying for her whole family

shelleen on May 24, 2010:

her body is simply a work of art lovin the meaningful ink none of this random crap shes exy as hell...

Rachelle on March 03, 2010:

I love her tattoos!! Especially the one on her stomach, in her neck and the Khmer one!!

And she is só sexy!!

IdeaMorphist from Chicagoland on February 15, 2010:

I gained a little bit of respect for her from reading about her body art... lets ya see a more human side than normal.

tattoo_design on November 11, 2009:

Sorry, don't like these! She can be a great actress though, watched Changelin the other night - tough subject matter but a great performance for Angelina!



privateye2500 from Canada, USA, London on October 19, 2009:

...ok...i ended up here from a link on one of MY pages.

This isn't about tats; it is a FanClub! ;}

halleyhoops from west palm beach on September 26, 2009:

love them!!!

amie50 on August 20, 2009:

I love angelina's tattoos, I think she carries them well...and her tats really add to her sexiness.

tatau on June 26, 2009:

I love the buddhist blessing she had tattooed on her shoulder!

Angela on June 24, 2009:

Angelina Jolie is just hot. i absolutely adore her glaring eyes, her soft lips, and her very defined cheekbone.

Tey on June 16, 2009:

I always love Angelina even when the press said before that she is weird (all black) she is awesome! I like about vampire and deaths EVERYTHING, her eyes,forehead and lips they are WOW. And the tattoo it's really cool I hate people who have a tattoo that is non sense. Angelina you are really a "pretty little angel." =p

jez on April 26, 2009:

what a nice tatoos i like it

Tattoostar on February 26, 2009:

Usually I don't like when people get so many tattoos. A couple of them in the right places are just fine for me. But with Angelina Jolie it is different. She has class, style, it doesn't matter how many tattoos she gets, she will always look smart and gorgeous!

zoey on February 23, 2009:


Amber Saltsgiver on February 11, 2009:

I love Angelinas asian tiger one i am totally gettin it

Tattooed World on February 02, 2009:

Some very nice work on display

Lyv on January 29, 2009:

Angelina is sexy, crazy, spontaneous, and prob. the most gorgeous being that ever lived. Aftre watching Wanted, I wanted to be more outgoing, sexy, and badass like her character. Girls envy her, guys want her, and celebrity news reporters want to know the entire scoop on her 24/7, yet with all this attention on her she simply gracefully acknowledge's it, and moves on.

She is a slice of heaven

anonymous on January 28, 2009:

i love her ink . i think it has helped her career. she plays alot of dangerous characters who are bada**es and her image offscreen shows her free spirit, her individuality and like megan fox said about her tats, she doesnt care what others think of them, which is a complete turn on. i like the above article that says some people think shes carrying a gun when her stomach tat pokes out of her pants, thats awesome. brad pitt has never been with a woman like angie and she landed the sexiest man alive and now he has some ink. women have loved the badboys that have tattoos why is it different for women. johnny depp wouldnt have the same appeal without his tattoos. shes the same way, theyre both pirates. if you dont get it, its just preference. i so get it-shes a rockstar.

mike on January 17, 2009:

I guess I am a minority here. I came after watching "Wanted" to check if she really had that many tattoos and what they meant.

I guess that is personal preference, but for me tattoos are huge turn-off.

Anyway, thanks for the good info.

Alison on January 12, 2009:

I like all of her tattos but seh does have alot of them.

livelovecoffee from Georgia on December 24, 2008:

I cannot tell you how long I have been trying to figure out what her tatoos represented. I always catch a part of them in pictures and miss the rest. I used to think the one on her back said "now your right" b/c her clothes always covered the rest up just enough...and i feel . this big - thanks

SHANNON on September 18, 2008:


learn to guitar on July 15, 2008:

I love the tattoo from her movie - Wanted. Look very nice.

mitchmetal on July 10, 2008:

i wan to have more tattoos than what she have! arrrggghhh i already got 7 tattoos yet I still envy her! i want more tattoos for myself! just got a problem about the spot on where to put them coz mine are so damn big covering my whole back! I want one like Angelina's on her left upper back but I want it in Thai characters. Damn!

Anjellyca on June 28, 2008:

Gosh I just LOVE Angelina Jolie!! I love everything about her. The tattoos are totally awesome!! I love how shes so unique with all her tattoos.


The Blaque Bastard on June 26, 2008:

Prolly The ONLY Skinny White Woman Who I WOULDNT Kick Outa Bed.. Your A Lucky Guy Bradley U've Got The WHOLE Package As Much Of A Minx..As She Is Motherly..& Seems Quite Intelligent To Boot.

Gen on June 04, 2008:

I love the sanskrit one, definitely want one of those...

Angelina on May 23, 2008:

She is so sweet but i think a little bit crazy too. this is an excellent hubpage with many information. would this page gonna be update? i think angelina is getting more and more tattoos :)

Maya on May 17, 2008:

Love the tatooes so much menaing and beauty , your sooooooooooooo beautiful .. but dont get more

RYUE on April 15, 2008:


shash on March 29, 2008:

she is hot and hot, wonder when she be available. love her love her but not her tattoos sorry angie

bryan on March 07, 2008:

,,,,u look gud!

Cheap Music on February 22, 2008:

wau, LOVE it. Very Sexy tattoos. Great photo sharing. Thanks

Raymond Philippe from The Netherlands on January 22, 2008:

So Angeline visited our country for a tattoo.That really makes my day.Raymondfrom Holland

Hector Herrera from Dominican Republic on January 15, 2008:

Just to add to the conversation. Angelina Jolie was in the Dominican Republic to act in the movie the Good Shepherd along with Matt Damon . Film directed by Robert Da Niro. She took some time out to visit poor kids around the island.


ipnomad on November 22, 2007:

Who said Angelina Jolie's overrated. I could close my eyes and bet you its a envious female. She's hot.

Katy on October 12, 2007:

Not really a fan of hers, but I really like the cross tattoo, even if it is a cover-up.

MissAmyBlogs on October 05, 2007:

I just have to say thanks for this page. I absolutely adore Angelina despite (and maybe because of) her weirdnesses & I think she's stunning. I only wish I could be so passionate about anything as she is about her causes.

romeo on September 20, 2007:

yo i got 2 say u looking real sexy i like your lip's soo sexy holla at me ma!!!

jennifer on July 25, 2007:

She is extremely over rated. She is not that good looking.

Is the cross covering something? I hope so because why would someone get a huge blob of black like that

Laura and sam! on April 27, 2007:

God Damn! me and my friend sam both think angelina jolie is banging! love the tattoos! *cough cough* Nah wicked site! anyone know when her and brad are breaking up? and weither she still likes girls? bye!