For celebs and common folk alike, tattoos are a fun way to express themselves and stand out. Unfortunately, some celebs completely miss the mark. In trying to be unique and artistic, these celebs pick tattoos that either make no sense or are just plain ugly to look at. On the other hand, some celebs make really bold choices when it comes to their ink, helping them gain some serious respect in the tattoo community.
There are tons of actors, musicians and socialites with tattoos—way too many to fit onto this list. We’ve handpicked some of the best and worst tattoos that we’ve ever seen on the red carpet—and some we honestly haven’t even really noticed until now. We’ve got it all from the thoughtless, spur of the moment tattoo, to the researched, meaningful tattoo—all the way to the all-too-common cursed significant other tattoo.
Whether you’re reading this list as entertainment or as a comprehensive guide of what to do and what not to do when it comes to getting ink, learn from these best and worst tattoos of some favorite celebs. Just a heads-up: getting a giant tattoo of your girlfriend’s name is almost always the worst idea ever.
15. Worst: Miley Cyrus
Oh, Miley Cyrus, how you shock us so with your extremely random, cutesy, crazy tattoos. Actually, your constant need to be “shocking” is actually having the opposite effect nowadays.. We’re not surprised by any of the crazy stuff you do anymore. Miley has all kinds of random tattoos from pictures of her dogs to a small bottle of Vegemite.
While all of her tattoos are kind of wacky and all over the place, we’ve gotta say one of her worst tattoos is one we can barely ever see. At the bottom of Miley’s feet, she has the words “Rolling Stone.” Apparently, Miley got the simple tattoo while getting interviewed by (you guessed it) Rolling Stone Magazine. Why get a tattoo on the bottom of your feet where you never see it? Who knows? Perhaps she was inspired by fellow pop-star Kesha‘s “suck it” inner lip tattoo.
14. Best: Rihanna
It’s no secret how much Rihanna loves to get tatted up…and we’re not complaining. To date, the R&B goddess has at least 25 tattoos all over her body and they’re all completely different. From simple designs like a single roman numeral to more intricate designs like the cross on the inside of her wrist, RiRi never fails to keep her body interesting. As the weather gets warmer, we get to see more and more of Rihanna’s beautiful tattoos, most notably her unique chest-piece. What makes this chest tattoo interesting is its uncommon placement. It’s hidden just enough but is also eye-popping and interesting. Rihanna got the tattoo back in 2012 in honor of her late grandmother. The Egyptian Goddess that rests on her chest represents the quintessential mother and wife as tribute to her amazing grandmother.
13. Worst: Steve-O
Steve-O made a career out of doing crazy, stupid s***, so why should his tattoos be any different? Steve-O’s claim to fame was his stint on MTV’s Jackass, where he and his friends did all kinds of dumb stunts and pranks. While the show was pretty ridiculous, we couldn’t help but cringe and laugh…or both. So of course, we aren’t surprised that Steve-O covered his entire back with a cheesy self-portrait. And, let’s not forget the perfect accent tattoo of his own signature that reads “Yeah dude, I rock” on his lower back. We can only assume a tattoo that large would hurt pretty badly. However, after voluntarily stapling his own butt cheeks together, we figure Steve-O has developed a fairly high pain tolerance over the years.
12. Best: Shawn Mendes
While musician Shawn Mendes is merely 18 years old, he sure does have a mature taste in tattoos. You may recognize this teen heart throb from some of his hit singles—”I Know What You Did Last Summer,” “Stitches,” and “Treat You Better.” Inspired by the likes of Bruno Mars, John Mayer, and Justin Timberlake, Mendes managed to make quite a splash in the pop music scene in the last year or two.
We’ve gotten used to pop stars covering their bodies in ugly and oftentimes ostentatious tattoos, so we were pleasantly surprised to learn that Mendes kept it classy with his ink. On his arm, Mendes has a tattoo of a guitar fully shaped by a forest of beautiful trees that blend into a Toronto city scape in the shape of a sound wave of his parents saying, “I love you.” The creative tat was given to Mendez by the talented tattoo shop, Chronic Ink. We’ve got to admit, we feel pretty inspired.
11. Worst: Britney Spears
Pop icon Britney Spears gave us hit after hit in the 90’s and 2000’s, not to mention plenty of newsworthy episodes to gossip about. After witnessing Britney make some seriously questionable life choices like shaving her head and marrying Kevin Federline, it’s not even a shock to the public that Britney has a bad tattoo with an embarrassing backstory. Believe it or not, Britney Spears isn’t fluent in Chinese (shocking?), so she probably should have paid better attention to the tattoo in Chinese writing she got on her hip back in 2001. Britney believed she was getting Chinese characters that translated into the words “mysterious, amazing.” However, Britney later learned her tattoo actually read “strange.” Well, we find it strange that Britney hasn’t covered that baby up with another tattoo after all these years. What gives, Britney?
10. Best: Ellie Goulding
These days, tattoos with thin lines and interesting geometric shapes are trending with many celebs. One of our favorite tattoos is the one that Ellie Goulding rocks on the side of her rib cage. This ink was drawn by famous celeb tattoo artist Dr. Woo in April of 2016, who pretty much created the design from scratch. The tattoo is supposed to be an interpretation of outer space and a galaxy full of planets, stars, and movement.
Ellie also has a tattoo of a lotus flower by the same tattoo artist on the other side of her rib cage as well as a teeny tiny skull and crossbones on her middle finger. Ellie is also a fan of red ink tattoos as proven by both her wrist tattoos. We have a feeling Ellie is far from done going under the needle.
9. Worst: Tom Arnold
We’ve all heard about the supposed curse of the “significant other tattoo,” yet we could count at least twenty celebs that go ahead and do it anyway. Even actor Tom Arnold couldn’t help himself! Tom Arnold got this awkward tattoo back in the 90’s when he was happily married to actress and comedian, Roseanne Barr. Tom claimed it was a Valentine’s Day gift to his wife, although we don’t know if she appreciated it or not.
Arnold and Barr divorced in 1994 after less than five years of marriage. Needless to say, Arnold regretted getting his ex-wife’s face permanently etched into his chest. Since then, Arnold has endured multiple painful laser tattoo removal procedures to get rid of it. So next time you’re thinking about getting your sweet honey’s face tattooed on your body, remember the curse.
8. Best: Cara Delevingne
This supermodel never fails to miss a thing; thanks to the eyes on the back of her head. Alright, they’re not real eyes, but Cara Delevingne‘s creepy tattoo on the back of her neck strongly resembles a second pair of eyes. While this tattoo is pretty unique, we can’t help but be a little scared of the realistic eyes staring back at us from the back of Cara’s neck. Cara’s second pair of eyes were done by celebrity tattoo artist, Bang Bang McCurdy.
Although she’s only 24 years old, she’s no stranger to that inked life. Cara’s lion tattoo on her finger has caught the attention of many since it makes quite the statement in many of her fashion shoots. We love most of Cara’s tattoos, but she does have one that we aren’t crazy about. The fashion model let actress and friend Margot Robbie put little happy faces under five of her toes. Don’t worry Cara, we’ll overlook that one.
7. Worst: Gucci Mane
I scream. You scream. We all scream for…Gucci Mane? Hey, we like ice cream as much as the next person but we have to say, getting an ice cream cone permanently etched onto our face isn’t quite what we’re in the mood for. The rapper got his chilly tattoo in 2011 and it made headlines. We can’t help but wonder what on earth Gucci Mane was thinking. Although we do think that maybe his short stay at a mental hospital didn’t rub off on him enough. A representative of Gucci Mane claims that the rapper got the ice cream cone with the word “brrr” on his face to show that he’s super cool. Cool as ice, in fact. We already thought you were a chill guy Gucci, but we appreciate your straightforwardness.
6. Best: Ed Sheeran
Is it just us? Or is Ed Sheeran starting to look like a half-finished coloring book? Ed Sheeran’s catchy love songs have catapulted him onto the pop star A-list with hits like “Thinking Out Loud” and “Shape of You.” But lately, his ink has been getting just as much attention as his songs. At just 25 years old, Sheeran has managed to fit at least 60 different designs onto his body. And we’ve got to say, our favorite Sheeran tattoo is his giant lion head on his chest. With the warm blend of colors and detail, Sheeran’s lion tattoo is truly impressive tat. But man, that must have hurt…a lot! Sheeran’s seemingly favorite tattoo artist, Kevin Paul, was the mastermind behind the lion and many of his other tattoos. What colorful tattoo will Sheeran get next? Or better yet, does he still have room for more?
5. Worst: Nick Cannon
This is the second “significant other” tattoo to make this list and believe it or not, it may be even more tacky than the last! Back when Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon were an item (how could we ever forget that weirdness?), Cannon decided getting a giant tattoo dedicated to Mariah was a great idea. But instead of getting creative with the idea, Nick just got a gigantic tattoo of the name of his ex-wife across his upper back. When will these celebs learn that the tattoos always last way longer than their relationships ever do?!
Since the couple divorced after eight years with a set of twins, Nick decided to fix his back tattoo so that it didn’t remind him of the chanteuse. He covered his back tattoo up with Jesus on the cross that pretty much takes up his entire back. Hopefully, Nick has learned his lesson about getting his significant other permanently printed on his skin.
4. Best: Adam Levine
Remember the days when Adam Levine was the cute lead singer of Maroon 5, all clean-cut and belting out love songs? Well those days are long gone. Lately, Adam Levine has toughened up a bit as pretty much every inch of him is covered with tattoos. The tattoo started with the mermaid that sits in the center of the scene and now extends over his entire backside. The piece in its entirety took about six months to complete! This work of art was completed by tattoo artist, Bryan Randolph of Spider Murphy’s Tattoo. Adam’s arms are also pretty much completely covered. We have a feeling that although Adam has limited space, he’ll find some spare skin to fill with more ink.
3. Worst: Mandy Moore
When we think of Mandy Moore, we think of a sweet, beautiful actress; not a hard, tattooed vixen. And we’re right, she definitely isn’t a tatted up gal. However, sweet Mandy does have a small tattoo that you probably never even noticed before. On one of Mandy’s feet, she has a teeny tiny little sperm. Yes, you heard that right—sperm. Why would anyone want a little sperm tattooed on them? The story behind Mandy’s lil’ sperm tattoo as actually kind of adorable.
While Mandy and her band mates were playing shows around ten years ago, they all shared the same bathroom. They made a rule that no one was allowed to…uhm…give themselves any extra love in the shower because as one of the band mates said, “I don’t want babies on my feet.” Mandy and her mates turned that saying into a little song they’d sing before every show. As a way to remember that time in their lives, they all tattooed a little sperm on their feet. Leave it to Mandy to make sperm absolutely adorable. The tattoo is still totally weird though.
2. Best: David Beckham
Soccer player and model David Beckham is no stranger to the tattoo needle. He is pretty much covered in ink from head to toe. Beckham prides himself in his body art and claims that every tattoo he has holds a special place in his heart and has deep meaning in his life. While a lot of Beckham’s tattoos are about religion and beliefs, one of our favorite tattoos of his is of a horse head on his neck. It’s a beautiful sketch of the head of a horse with black and grey shading. Beckham got the tattoo at one of his frequent tattoo spots, Shamrock Social club in Los Angeles. We’re guessing the horse has something to do with his wife, designer and ex-Spice Girl, Victoria Beckham. The two love going on vacations and horseback riding together. We’d love to go on and on about all of Beckham’s tattoos, but we don’t have nearly enough space.
1. Worst: Hayden Panettiere
Hayden Panettiere may be a successful actress, but we have a feeling she didn’t do too great in English class. Many have noticed Hayden’s tattoo written in Italian down the entire right side of her torso. They’ve also noticed that it’s spelled wrong. The tattoo is supposed to read “Live without regrets” in Italian. But unfortunately, one of the Italian words is totally misspelled. We assume that that tattoo is actually one of her biggest regrets yet.
Since Hayden has gotten the tattoo, she’s begun to get laser tattoo removal to correct the mistake. We’re unsure whether she’s just fixing the tattoo or removing it all together. But our advice, is to double…no, triple check her spelling before she commits to another tattoo. Better yet, she might just want to stick to drawings as tats.