They call it “The First Commandment of Getting Inked”: Never get your significant other’s name tattooed anywhere on your body. You never know when things might end, and if they do, you might find yourself scarred for life – literally. (Or maybe not…)
As with all commandments, there are some celebrities who just can’t heed this rule. And they’ve paid the price.
After the inevitable breakup, many famous folks keep the tattoos as a reminder of their younger days. Other stars just can’t bear to carry their former lover’s name around with them wherever they go. Below, see the celebs who have removed, covered or otherwise altered the ink they got on behalf of their exes.
Arguably the most famous celebrity tattoo do-over belongs to Johnny Depp, who got the name of his girlfriend (and Edward Scissorhands costar) Winona Ryder emblazoned on his right shoulder as “Winona Forever.” The inscription, sadly, was not prophetic. The couple broke up in the early ’90s. In 1994, Depp had the last two letters of Ryder’s first name removed, creating the motto “Wino Forever.” As he told Playboy, the new tattoo is “actually a bit more accurate.”
Angelina Jolie has succeeded in scrubbing her public image of those wild days when she was married to Billy Bob Thornton, a feat which took some literal erasing. After her divorce from the Sling Blade actor in 2003, Jolie removed the tattoo of his name from her left arm. She’s since replaced it with the coordinates of her globe-spanning family’s birthplaces – a handy metaphor for Jolie’s image rehabilitation.
Melanie Griffith had husband Antonio Banderas’s name tattooed inside a heart in the 1990s, but after the couple split, Griffith apparently decided the sentiment no longer held. When the actress stepped out at the Italian Film Festival June 17, the heart remained, but Banderas’s name had been conveniently – and messily – erased.
Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria celebrated her marriage to basketball player Tony Parker with not one, not two, but three tattoos marking the occasion. The first, a giant “NINE” on the back of her neck, was a reference to Parker’s jersey number; the second, a small “07-07-07” on her wrist, was the day the couple were wed; the third, Parker’s initials, is hidden somewhere on her body. After the couple divorced in 2010, Longoria waited two years, then got them all removed.
Seal famously called a kiss from a rose “power, pleasure and pain” – which, we’re guessing, is also the mixture of feelings his ex-wife Heidi Klum felt when she got the tattoo of his name removed (well, mostly removed!) from her arm in 2013.
After his divorce from Jennifer Lopez in 2011, Marc Anthony no longer wanted his tattoo to praise Lopez, so he buried it – under an elaborate cover-up.
The union of Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards was not marked by an excess of forward planning. The couple pledged their devotion in 2002 by tattooing each other’s names on their bodies (“I’ve never had anyone tattoo anything for me!” Richards told PEOPLE at the time), but five years and one divorce later, both were regretting the ink. Sheen got the “Denise” on his wrist removed at the request of then-fiancée Brooke Mueller; in revenge, Richards had the “Charlie” on her ankle turned into a beautiful fairy.
Kat Von D
When most stars get tattoos of their squeezes, they go for something small, like a first name or initials. Celebrity tattoo artist Kat Von D chose a different approach. To honor her on-again, off-again relationship with fellow reality star Jesse James, Von D got a portrait of James as a young boy tattooed on her ribcage. Though she vowed to keep it after the couple broke up for the last time in 2011, the Miami Ink star decided to get rid of the tattoo a year later. Probably because it was incredibly creepy.