Celebs Who Got Their Embarrassing Tattoos Removed

Celebrity tattoos are always good fodder for gossip — just ask Ben Affleck's massive back piece of a phoenix rising from the ashes, or Justin Bieber's face tattoo tribute to his wife Hailey Baldwin. People love to see what the rich and famous are getting inked on their bodies, and tattoo artists themselves are even starting to grab some of the spotlight.

However, in 2014, Cosmopolitan reported that the tattoo removal industry had grown by 440% in the past ten years, with a plastic surgeon noting, "Most tattoo removals are performed on people in their 30s and 40s, because what was attractive in your 20s is not so attractive in your 30s." And, just like the rest of us, every now and then celebs find themselves regretting a tat that seemed like a good idea at the time. 

Read on to see who covered up ink they no longer wanted and who went straight for removal.

Pamela Anderson cancels a 90s icon

When Pamela Anderson got the starring role in 1996's Barb Wire, she explained to the Los Angeles Times that it just seemed to make more sense to get the titular character's tattoo permanently needled on, saying, "The makeup people were going to paint this on my arm every day ... but I had a tattoo artist just sketch it on me and I wore it around for a half a day to see how it looked. I decided I'd just go ahead and get it done. I love it. I think it's very feminine, for barbed wire." The resulting bicep tattoo became a 90s icon all of its own.

Cut to April 2014, and The Daily Mail was reporting that Anderson was undergoing costly tattoo removal sessions to get rid of the offending piece. "Pamela is seeing the effects of age and hard living on her body. Her skin is getting soft. She feels like her tattoos are going to become eyesores," a "friend" told the paper, adding, "She's not a kid anymore. She doesn't want blurry ink all over her wrinkled arms." 

In recent red carpet appearances, Anderson's tat appears to be completely gone (and maybe that gossipy friend should be too).

Kaley Cuoco says goodbye to an anniversary tat

Star of The Big Bang Theory Kaley Cuoco marked her 2013 wedding date to professional tennis player Ryan Sweeting by getting the date in Roman numerals inked on the back of her neck. However, by November 2015, she was back at the tattoo parlor having the regrettable piece covered up in the aftermath of her breakup from Sweeting. 

Cuoco posted a photo to her Instagram on Nov. 24, 2015, showing a tattoo artist hard at work on a massive moth that would cover up the original regrettable ink. Cuoco wrote, "note to self- do not mark your body with any future wedding dates," adding  "#under30mistakes" and "#donttakeyourselftooseriouslykids." The actress later posted a photo of the finished piece to her Instagram, with the caption, "the deep, meaningful, larger than life meaning behind this beautiful piece of ink, is..... It covered the last one." Fair enough!

According to HuffPost, Sweeting had also commemorated his marriage to Cuoco with her first name on his forearm, along with the same Roman numeral dates of their wedding day. No word on what giant insect he may or may not have chosen for his cover-up.  

Angelina Jolie bids adieu to Billy Bob and his tribute tattoo

Another celeb, another iconically cringe-inducing tattoo. Everything about actress Angelina Jolie's May 2000 marriage to actor Billy Bob Thornton seemed impulsive: from the timing (they'd been dating for just a couple months when they made the leap) to the jilted partners (Thornton abruptly abandoned his fiance, Laura Dern, for Jolie) right down to the unfortunate "Billy Bob" tattoo that Jolie had inked on her left bicep in her husband's honor.

After the relationship ended in 2003, Jolie had the tattoo removed along with the dragon below it, and has since covered the space on her arm with coordinates marking the birthplaces of her six children. Oh well. As long as Steve-O still has his "Billy Bob" tattoo, we're happy.

According to The Sun, Jolie once said, "I'll never be stupid enough to have a man's name tattooed on me again." But that didn't stop her from allegedly going in for Buddhist commitment tattoos with then-husband Brad Pitt in Feb. 2016, as Metro reported (the couple split in Sept. that same year).

Eva Longoria downplays her team spirit

Actress Eva Longoria filed for divorce from her husband, NBA player Tony Parker, in 2010, and a few years later was putting in the hard work to erase the three unfortunate tattoos she'd had done to mark their relationship. In Jan. 2012, E! Online reported that Longoria was having "the word "Nine" (Parker's jersey number) on her neck, her wedding date on her wrist and his initials ... somewhere" removed. Considering that, per People, Parker was accused of having exchanged hundreds of text messages with his former teammate's wife and cheating on Longoria early in their marriage, we can't say we blame her.

As The Daily Mail reported, Longoria was back at the tattoo removal game in Sept. 2016, snapchatting her session while she had a star on her wrist zapped off. "This is a tale for all young kids ... It hurts to get a tattoo, but it's ten times worse getting it off!" Longoria warned. 

Adrienne Bailon finally makes a good tattoo decision

During a 2013 episode of talk show "The Real," former "Cheetah Girls" star Adrienne Bailon admitted to having probably one of the worst tattoos on this list, telling her co-hosts, "Everybody knows I have the ratchetest booty tattoo of an ex-boyfriend."

The ex-boyfriend in question? None other than Rob Kardashian, who Bailon dated in 2008. The tattoo? His name on her backside. Yeesh. Bailon added, "I made a very bad decision. Don't follow my example." We don't think you have to worry much about that, Adrienne.

A July 2014 episode of Extra chronicled Bailon's final tattoo removal process after two previous attempts that hadn't worked. "I think I've waited for a very long time, long enough, to have this officially gone," Bailon told the cameras. "Living the last six years with somebody's name on your body is a little weird and that's a bit more painful [than getting the tattoo]." 

Mark Wahlberg shared the trauma of his tattoo removals with his kids

According to The Daily Mail, at one point actor Mark Wahlberg's body was home to the following tattoos (among others): a shamrock that was later replaced by a Tweety bird on his ankle (OMG), his initials and last name on his right upper arm, a portrait of Bob Marley with the words "One Love" underneath it on his left upper arm, and "a rosary tattooed around his neck, with a crucifix and the words 'In God I Trust' resting over his heart." It's like a walking gallery of regrettable body art.

However, as he described to David Letterman in 2012 (via HuffPost), Wahlberg eventually underwent over 30 laser treatments to have his pieces removed, despite being told initially that it would only take five to seven sessions. And he made it a family affair to boot, explaining to Graham Norton during a 2012 interview, "I took my kids to a couple of the appointments for the procedure, so they could see how much pain it was causing me, but they didn't care," despite the fact that, as he added, you can "smell the skin burning." 

Regardless of how the little Wahlbergs feel, consider us deterred. 

Is it hot in here, or is it the opposite of Nick Lachey's tattoo?

It's refreshing to see that former 98 Degrees member Nick Lachey has a good sense of humor about his regrettable tattoo, a late 90s, early 2000s nostalgia piece if ever there was one. He eventually had the tribal sun with his band's name in the middle of it filled in, as he revealed to fans on Instagram with an August 2017 post, writing, "How hot is it? Hell if I know... but it sure is sunny." To be honest, the tattoo is still pretty cringe-y, but at least it doesn't rep a boy band anymore. And it's worth noting Lachey kept his Pamela Anderson-style barb wire tattoo for good luck.

Lachey has consistently been a good sport and poked fun at his former public image, as with a Dec. 2017 flashback photo of himself posing in overalls against an upholstered chair, which he gamely captioned, "Found this on an article titled '25 boy band shoots that went horribly wrong'. Do you think it was the leopard print chair or the overalls?" He explained to Bustle that same month, "There's constant reminders and constant cringing of bad pictures and bad fashion and bad hair."

Kelly Osbourne pays the time for her tats

Former The Osbournes star and Fashion Police host Kelly Osbourne started getting inked as an act of young rebellion, as she explained to British talk show This Morning in 2009 (via Us Weekly), saying "I was miserable and I just went and got all these tattoos and I don't know why. One of them is a keyboard and I don't even know how to play a piano!" In her weekly column for Closer magazine in 2010 (also via Us Weekly), Osbourne explained that she'd decided to have the majority of her 15 tattoos removed, and that the process would likely take several months.

But it took more like several years, as Osbourne posted an Instagram video of a removal session for said keyboard tattoo in Nov. 2013, writing, "I did the crime I am now doing the time! #NoPainNoGain!" In a follow-up Facebook post on the subject, Osbourne further explained, "I have some proper s**t tattoos ... In my opinion removal hurts more then getting the tattoo."