Some types of piercings are believed to date as far back as biblical times. While the cultural significance behind the meaning of a variety of piercings may be completely different today than in the past, there’s something very intriguing about a person who has a piercing that isn’t immediately visible or obvious.
Tongue piercings were once a part of ancient Aztec culture, performed in a ritual where the blood drawn during the piercing was meant to appease the gods and alter consciousness, allowing direct communication with the gods.
Despite rumors about nipple piercings originating as fastening clips that could be seen on the exterior of Roman armor attachments, anyone who has ever had or known anyone with a nipple piercing is aware of how unpractical and painful securing armor to a nipple ring would be. The truth about nipple piercing is that it originated for the sake of fashion in the 14th century as a decoration worn with plunging necklines so low that women were displaying large, unclothed portions of their chests and decorated their nipples with piercings of gold and gems.
Despite all of the benefits of being a celebrity, there are a number of drawbacks. Famous people endure demands of their physical appearance, so diets and exercise routines, and hours of makeup are a necessity, all in the name of their art. It’s no surprise that many celebrities enjoy a piercing or two as their own “dirty little secret” that they revel in revealing from time to time. Discreet, lesser known piercings can be used to celebrate their individuality and reclaim their bodies, which at times may feel like public property. So let’s get in the ring and find out who pierced what that you probably don’t know about.
15 Drew Barrymore
Today a tongue piercing is known as the outrageous “heady” choice of those who want to enhance oral sex. Drew Barrymore has routinely been known for sporting multiple tattoos, including ones on her wrists to celebrate the birth of her daughters Olive and Frankie, but she’s never really been known for piercing. In 2009 this changed when Barrymore showed off her brand new tongue piercing at the premiere of He’s Just Not That Into You. Barrymore reportedly loves her tongue trinket stating that the piercing is something that she’s always wanted and that she did for herself.
14 Malcolm-Jamal Warner
Prior to the recent Bill Cosby scandal, The Cosby Show was once synonymous with good, wholesome, old fashioned values. Malcolm-Jamal Warner played Theo, the middle child and only son in the Huxtable family, who was a mischievous underachiever. He eventually overcame dyslexia and grew up to become an inspiring teacher himself, in typical 1980s sitcom character growth arcs (see also Mike Seaver from Growing Pains). While Warner has been a regular working actor throughout his career, including a lead role in the TV Show Malcolm & Eddie, he is still most known for his breakthrough childhood role in the family favorite The Cosby Show. It’s no wonder he wanted to take a bite out of his clean-cut image by sporting a piercing on his tongue.
13 Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris is a household name, mostly known for his breakthrough role as young Dr. Doogie Houser on the 1990’s TV show and as long-standing womanizer Barney Stinson on the show How I Met Your Mother. Despite being very active on social media, often posting photos of himself, his family, and their amazing themed Halloween costumes, only his inner circle knew about Harris’s nipple piercing until he unveiled it as a part of a shirtless vampire Halloween costume he sported at a Playboy Mansion party in 2012.
12 Nicole Richie
In the late 1890s Parisian fashion, particularly jewelry shops, would market the “Bosom Ring” which was inserted through the nipple, with some women wearing them in both nipples and attaching their piercings using a thin chain to connect them. It was soon observed that these rings enlarged the nipples and kept them in a state of arousal. It isn’t surprising that, much like the high fashion Parisians of the late nineteen century, the trendsetting Nichole Richie would routinely show off her assets, including her nipple piercing, on the runway or red carpet. In the time since, she’s toned things down a lot in both her personal life and runway, and has even launched her own brand of maternity clothing after she had her first child.
11 Amber Rose
Amber Rose is a famous model, actor, and fashion designer. She broke into the limelight after being featured in Ludacris’s video for song “What Them Girls Like” in 2008 and has since become a household name. She is also recognized for her romantic connections to several recording artists including Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa. While many people know her for her trademark dyed blonde buzz cut, they may also be very familiar with her two nipple piercings which she often shows off through mesh or see-through shirts or by posting Instagram photos of herself going braless in form-fitting dresses. Amber Rose published her first book How to be a Bad Bitch where she discusses and offers advice on finance, career, love, and fashion.
10 Christina Aguilera
Shortly after the launch of her career as the latest sweet-as-candy pop star, Christina Aguilera wanted more than her sultry voice to define her and launch her into the diva stratosphere far above her bubble gum competitor (*ahem Britney). Publicly, Christina made a point of showing off and sharing a ”Dirrty” image that included highlighting several new piercings including one in her nipple and one in her vagina. She has since taken out most of her piercings stating that she was no longer in need of “the comfort of the pain” but apparently left the barbell in her nipple to remind her of that particular time in her life.
Rihanna isn’t subtle about much; she’s a furiously talented force to be reckoned with who doesn’t shy away from publicity, even if that means flashing her nipple bling for the cameras. Photos first surfaced of the singer in 2013 displaying her nipple piercings through particularly tight and revealing dresses as well as sheer material that would make people notice what was underneath. In May 2014, she posed for the cover of Liu Magazine topless showing off her pierced nipples. The superstar has tremendous confidence about her body, clothed or naked. That is extremely sexy, pierced or not.
8 Katarina Waters
Katarina Waters is a German born English pro wrestler. She is well-known for her time with WWE where she used the stage name Katia Lea and on Total Nonstop Action Wrestling where she used the name Winter. The femme fatale states that her biggest wrestling influence is Kevin Nash and is known for her finishing moves the Ice Breaker, Neckbreaker, Blood Mist, and the Swinging Side Slam. The brunette has appeared completely nude on stage on Naked Comedy at the Cap Theatre, and is one of many famous people who have confessed to having (or planning) a genital piercing of her very own, whether it’s actually or still there only she can say!
7 Rooney Mara
When she was cast for her role in The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, Rooney Mara decided that it was very important for her to really get involved in her own transformation into the character Lisabeth Salander. During filming she’d spend hours in makeup, getting transformed with the character’s tattoos and piercings. Because the character had a nipple ring in the book, Rooney decided that it would be a good idea to get one herself. This way she’d be able to feel like she was “in costume” even during the many scenes of the film where she was wearing absolutely nothing at all. It is unclear as to whether or not Rooney decided to keep the ring as a memento of the ground-breaking role.
6 Janet Jackson
Many people remember seeing Janet Jackson’s nipple, decorated with a star shaped nipple shield, when it was shockingly revealed by Justin Timberlake at the 2004 Super Bowl half-time show. Never one to shy away from nude sunbathing, scantily clad costumes, or posing with some of her clothes removed, it’s really no surprise that "Any Time, Any Place" isn’t just a song title, it can also refer to the places Ms. Jackson has pierced. The singer has reportedly pierced her nose, labia and nipple. The star has said that it was her septum piercing that hurt the most.
5 Lady Gaga
While Lady Gaga is an unusual, rare and flamboyant talent, we can probably guess that she wasn’t Born that Way when it comes to her body piercings. In 2011, she revealed all in a bright red, highly cut dress, when she was photographed with what appears to be a genital piercing that she flashed to the cameras. Many believe that nothing Gaga has done is ever an accident and this was all a part of her regular promotion machine. In 2013, she decided to lay low, quit Twitter and take a rest from the public eye, or so we thought until in support of her album ARTPOP the singer recorded getting her septum pierced and posed in the buff for V Magazine.
4 Tommy Lee
Fans of Motley Crue are no strangers to Tommy Lee’s love of tattoos and body piercings. While very well-known for his bombastic beats, showmanship and literally turning a song on its head (he’s been known to play upside down on an actual roller coaster loop), he’s also quite famous for other reasons. Even if you aren’t fans of “The Crue” you probably heard a little something about a certain tape involving Mr. Lee back when he was married to Pamela Anderson. The two made more waves than the entire cast of Baywatch back in the day when they made their own legendary 54-minute sex tape on their honeymoon. The tape was stolen and leaked virtually everywhere, long before anyone knew what viral meant. In the years since, there has been a lot of discussion surrounding the size of Tommy Lee’s “instrument” and how he rocks a Prince Albert piercing (although he’s never shown the piercing off publicly).
3 Scarlett Johansson
A nose ring, particularly a septum piercing may not seem like a cutting edge or naughty piercing, but it certainly isn’t common among the “A” list leading ladies like Scarlett Johansson who rely on their faces to sell their films and brand. While the septum ring on Scarlett has been highly criticized and subject to a lot of haters over the years, it has definitely been a way for the star to showcase her individually. Perhaps Jessica Biel decided to follow Scarlett’s example in 2013 when she wore a fake septum ring to the Punk: Chaos to Couture exhibition at the Met Gala.
2 Pete Wentz
Fall Out Boy member Pete Wentz has had many things pierced in a fleeting rock star moment, enduring many, many piercings before he was 22 years old. In 2014, the bassist revealed to FHM Magazine that he had previously pierced just about everything including his septum, nose, lips, ears, tongue, nipples and even a below the belt piercing. The rocker has admittedly chocked the piercings up to being young, stupid and caught up in the idea of a rock and roll lifestyle. He says that he has since removed all of his metal.
1 Lenny Kravitz
Lenny Kravitz has a trademark of great rock and roll style, this includes a healthy sprinkling of tattoos and piercings. It isn’t very surprising that the singer likes to rock out with his johnson out. Last summer he released his piercing from its pants prison by accident at a concert when his tight leather pants split. Kravitz doesn’t have the traditional Prince Albert piercing through the head of his penis, instead he has what’s known as pubic piercing, where the penis connects with the torso. This type of piercing is said to provide stimulation for the ladies. Lenny also sports nipple piercings since the 1990s.