Fame is fleeting, but tattoos can be permanent. And if you’re a celebrity, that can mean having to explain some pretty weird ink.
Below, we pore over the bodies of 12 famous folk and decipher their peculiar tats.
Ryan Gosling’s tattoo of The Giving Tree
The Drive star got Shel Silverstein’s beloved children’s book on his bicep because him mother read it to him as a tot: “That book is so fucked up,” Gosling told Vulture, “I mean, at the end the tree is a stump and the old guy just sitting on him. He’s just used him to death, and you’re supposed to want to be the tree? Fuck you—I don’t want to be the tree!”
Ryan Cabrera’s tattoo of Ryan Gosling
Couldn’t he have just posted a “Hey Girl” meme like the rest of us? In fairness, Cabreba says the (hardly recognizable) Gosling tattoo was chosen by his friends.
Harry Styles’ bird tattoos
Just one of the One Direction-er’s many marks, but these twin swallows are his most meaningful: “[Swallows] symbolize traveling, and we travel a lot,” said Styles. “I like that kind of style of tattoos, like the old sailor kind of tattoos.”
Pink’s bar code tattoo
The UPC symbol on the back of the “Raise Your Glass” singer’s neck reportedly combines her birth date (9/8/79), the release date of her album Missundaztood (11/20/01), and her lucky number (13).
Eve’s panther claws
Probably the world’s most famous chest tattoos, Eve’s paw prints were the result of a dare when she was younger. She used to regret them, but says “now it’s a thing—That’s how people recognize me.”
Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson’s Samoan design
The half-Samoan superstar traveled to Hawaii to get this shoulder-bicep-pec tattoo. “[It] tells the story of what’s important in life,” he explained. “Strength, protection and loyalty to family.”
Traditional Samoan tattoos—called pe’a—cover the body from the waist to the knee. They’re incredibly painful and can take months to complete. We’re sure the Rock could handle it, but we’re glad he left some of that gorgeous skin untouched.
Miley Cyrus’s dog tattoo
Miley’s been getting a little cray with the ink—she’s got a dreamcatcher, an anchor, a crying-cat emoji inside her lip, and whatever she let her friend put on her—but this one has emotional resonance: Her Alaskan klee kai, Floyd, passed away in April and Miley got a tattoo of him on her rib cage.
Brad Pitt’s doodle
Angelina Jolie reportedly drew this random illustration on Pitt’s back one night out of boredom. We wish we could draw on Brad Pitt’s back.
Jason Derulo’s ‘Undefeated’ tattoo
Derulo’s body is a canvas, but it’s also a personal diary: The “Undefeated” tattoo above his right wrist is a reminder of a horrific accident from 2012. “I got [it] after I broke my neck to define me at my lowest low and not letting it defeat me.,” he told the Daily Star. “I have a Tahitian warrior tattoo on my left shoulder, which I got also because of my injury and being a fighter.”
Jared Leto‘s tattoos of triangles
Though he’s an ally to the LGBT community, the Oscar winner sports large triangles because they’re the alchemy symbol for air.
Adam Lambert’s “Musica delenit bestiam feram”
The lettering might look like Old English, but it’s actually Latin for “music soothes the savage beast.” Speaking of Latin, Glambert also has “Lusus Naturae,” or “freak of nature” tattooed on his wrist
Lady Gaga’s unicorn
Mother Monster is kind of crazy for unicorns: “I had My Little Ponies [as a kid]— I was obsessed with the idea of a creature that was born with something magical that sort of made them the misfit in the world of the stallion,” she revealed. I’m actually quite obsessed with unicorns. The unicorn is born magical and it’s not the unicorn’s fault, and it doesn’t make it any more or less special, but it can’t help that it was born with that magic.”
That tattoo lead to the title of her third studio album.