Demi Lovato Has Over 23 Tattoos and The Meaning Behind Each Is Just Beautiful
Demi Lovato got her first tattoo when she was 16, and she really hasn't slowed down. Over the years, Lovato seems to debut a new tattoo every time she steps out on a red carpet or posts a photo on Instagram, and her latest pieces of ink seem to prove that.
On September 3, the star shared a photo on Instagram of a butterfly tattooed just below her ear. Similarly to her tattoo of the word "Survivor," Lovato's tattoos are known for having a deeper meaning. Tattoos like these are beautiful testament to her road to recovery and sobriety.
In a 2014 interview with iHeart Radio, Lovato revealed she doesn't even know how many tattoos she has. "Well, it's difficult because it's like I lost count [...]," she's said. "Do you count the 'Stay' and 'Strong'? Do you count the individual birds? And, then, I have feathers connected to an old tattoo, so I have no idea. I have a lot. It could be 10. It could be 26!" she said. "I have a very, very high pain tolerance."
While Lovato might have lost count, we did our some investigative work to compile all of her ink. Brace yourself, because the list is extensive.
— Additional reporting by Carly Sokol and Allison Ingrum
"You Make Me Beautiful" and a Dreamcatcher
Lovato's first tattoo was the words "You Make Me Beautiful" in cursive on her right rib cage, which she got before turning 18 years old. "It's a Christian song, so some people are like, 'Who's that for?' And I'm like, 'No, it's for God.' I was 16. And I got it in some tattoo artist's apartment," she told iHeart Radio in 2014. "It was so sketch [...] but I wanted to get tattooed so bad. I do things out of rebellion. So that was like one of the main reasons why I got it so young."
Recently, Lovato had a dreamcatcher added around that first tattoo. It features intricate bead details and three more feathers in a red shade.
The singer got the number three in Roman numerals on the side of her wrist to commemorate her father, who passed away in June 2013. "I have the number three in Roman numerals on my wrist and that was a number that was very significant to my birth father because he loved [race car driver] Dale Earnhardt," she told iHeart Radio. "So when he passed away I got the number three tattooed on me to remind me of him, and also because I love Dale Earnhardt. That's like the most redneck tattoo I have, by the way!"
Lovato got the words "Stay Strong" on her left and right wrists after she completed rehab for bipolar disorder, addiction, and eating disorders in 2011.
"When I got out of rehab, that's the first thing that I did. I went and got tattooed 'Stay Strong' because a lot of fans were telling me that, and it helped me get through a rough period, so anytime that I would feel triggered to either self-harm or act out in an unhealthy behavior, I could look down at that and stay strong," she told iHeart Radio.
"Faith" and 12 Birds
In Stay Strong, a documentary Lovato recorded after rehab, she revealed she got the word "Faith" inked right below her elbow, with Lauren Martin, a friend she met during treatment.
Demi's 12 birds on her outer forearm were brought to life by Kat Von D. Although it's now understood that they symbolize the 12 steps of Alcoholic and Narcotics Anonymous, when she first got them she didn't have that in mind, she told iHeart Radio.
"I love the freedom that birds represent and I didn't specifically have a huge reason why I got 12 of them," she said. It "was kind of like a God thing, like I worked the 12 steps, so as I got that while I was in Sober Living, apparently it was really meant to be."
"Now I'm a Warrior"
The singer and former Disney star has the words "Now I'm a warrior" on the back of her right shoulder — lyrics from the closing song from her self-titled 2013 album, Demi, called "Warrior."
In an interview with Billboard, Lovato said "Warrior" was "the hardest song to write because it was the most vulnerable."
Outline of Africa
After celebrating her 21st birthday in Africa, Lovato inked her inner upper forearm with the continent's outline to commemorate the missionary trip to Kenya she took with Free the Children, where she helped build a school.
"I went there for my 21st birthday. I went to Kenya and it was just a very, very inspirational journey that I feel like really had a huge impact on my life," she told iHeart Radio in 2014. "And, I would've gotten Kenya but then people would have been like, 'What's that?' So Africa's a little more distinct."
You might remember Lovato covered up what she called her "vagina tattoo" with two gray and black roses by artist Bang Bang. The original ink was actually of a lip print.
Smiley Face and "Me"
This fun smiley face tattoo made its debut on her personal Instagram via an adorable Boomerang years ago with the caption "Cause life's too short not to tattoo your pinky," she captioned the post. It can be seen in this more recent post, which debuts her new "me" tattoo.
"Let Go & Let God"
Lovato has the words "Let Go & Let God" across her feet. She's never publicly spoken about the tattoo's meaning, but we think it's safe to assume that they have to do with her Christian faith.
Roman Numeral Dates
Yet another roman numeral tattoo for Lovato, this one is a long list of birthdays on her side, each representing a close family member: From top to bottom: her mom's, Dianna de la Garza (Aug. 8, 1962); her older sister, Dallas Lovato (Feb. 4, 1988); her younger half-sister, Madison de la Garza (Dec. 28, 2001); her stepdad, Eddie de la Garza (Feb. 14, 1963); and her biological father, Patrick Lovato (Oct. 23, 1960).
Lovato has always been open about her faith, so it was no surprise when she got a tattoo of a cross on her hand. She confirmed on On Air With Ryan Seacrest that she got it because she's a devout Christian.
This is one of Lovato's tattoos we don't get to see often. She has another feather, this one small and blue, behind her left ear.
"Rock n Roll" and "Peace"
In this picture, you get a Lovato at Demi's "Peace" tattoo on the inner middle finger on her left hand. She also has the words "Rock n Roll" on her left hand in the same spot, said to represent her love for music. Even though she's said she has a high pain tolerance, Lovato admitted that of all her tattoos, these two "hurt" the most.
Buddy Was Here
Buddy was Lovato's beloved dog, whom she lost in a tragic accident in 2015. Because her furry friend was like a child to her, Lovato got the ink in kids' handwriting.
Shortly after revealing that she had relapsed in her song "Sober," Lovato debuted a "Free" tattoo on her right pinky finger on Instagram stories. She also revealed that her team got "Free" tattooed on their pinkies. "The team that tats together stays together," she captioned one of the photos.
Divine Feminine Spiritual Awakening
Lovato worked with Alessandro Capozzi to design this eye-catching back tattoo that features. awoman being lifted by three small doves. "We created this piece together to represent a rebirth of the spirit," Capozzi wrote on Instagram. "The dark wings represent the bad times, their fading away is how she moved forward. The light from within represents the inner strength necessary for the change and the doves, pulling her up, symbolize the reach of an higher state of consciousness."
This black and white portrait of Lovato's grandmother made the perfect tattoo in memoriam for her "Mimaw." As she states in her caption, Lovato, age 26 at the time, chose to capture her grandmother at that same age in this image.
"T" For Thomas Trussel
In honor of her late friend, model Thomas Trussel, tattoo artist Rafael Valdez gave Lovato a cursive T on her arm.
In a selfie she shared on September 4th, Lovato took to Instagram to show off her new butterfly neck tattoo, a stunning representation of transformation. She is expected to release a new song titled "Butterfly" soon, which fans speculate could be connected to her new tattoo.