The Real Meaning Behind All Of John Finlay's Tattoos

If you've already devoured every episode of Netflix's Tiger King, then you were likely mesmerized by Joe Exotic's eccentric sense of style. However, he wasn't the only one who caught viewers' attention with his so-called aesthetic. While Joe's foe, Carole Baskin, opted for a cat print-filled wardrobe and fellow animal park owner Doc Antle's wives were almost always dressed in sexy, er, uniforms, one of Joe's husbands, John Finlay, was shirtless for much of his time onscreen. For that reason, those who were watching got a good look at his assortment of tattoos.

Finlay has over 50 tattoos, according to Oprah Magazine. Among various tribal designs, he also has a large tiger covering his upper arm while what appears to be an alligator crawls over his shoulder. His other tattoos include "[p]ortraits of my parents, portraits of animals I hand raised, names of animals I raised, and the most recent one that matches with my wife's, (via Oprah Magazine)" who he married following his split from Joe.

"I think he was very proud of his tattoos. That's a big thing in that particular culture," the docu-series' co-director, Rebecca Chaiklin told the Los Angeles Times. That may be true, but there was a least one piece of ink that Finlay was apparently willing to get rid of.

John Finlay had three Joe Exotic tattoos

Among John Finlay's many tattoos, it seems that he had at least three that were dedicated to his now-ex-husband, Joe Exotic. Along with the name "Joe" tattooed below the head of a big cat on Finlay's chest (see first pic above), Finlay also has text inked across his upper arm that reads "For My Husband Joe." But it's the third tattoo that viewers of Tiger King may remember best.

Finlay once had large script that read "PRIVATELY OWNED BY JOE EXOTIC" that covered his lower abdomen — just above his pelvis — which New York magazine's Intelligencer notes Joe, himself, paid for. After leaving the animal park owner, the final episode of the docu-series showed Finlay getting the third tattoo (somewhat) covered up with the head of a bull. 

Apparently, it was just one of the changes that Finlay made to his appearance in order to put his past behind him and move on to a brand new life, which is why, nowadays, he certainly doesn't look like he did on Tiger King.