Demi Lovato has
a lot of tattoos, and almost every single one of her designs is rooted in deeper meaning. As if the singer’s music and story of recovery aren’t inspiring enough, the collection of tattoos covering everything from her fingers to her arms to her ribs is more motivating than a two-hour TED talk (and a lot more fun to look at).
Lovato got her first tattoo when she was just 16 and has since added over 20 other designs to her lineup. Take a closer look, and you’ll notice that every single one is like a landmark in the singer’s personal history, chronicling everything from her career come-up and emotional and
physical struggles with bulimia and addiction to her public missteps and successful comebacks. Her tattoos are a masterclass in meaningful body art — and you can check them all out, ahead.
Lovato is no stranger to expanding and evolving her older tattoos. She got her first — “You make me beautiful” on her right side of her rib cage — in 2008, then added the two feathers just below the quote a few years later. In 2016, she visited
Bang Bang studio in New York to finish off the design with a massive dreamcatcher.
Lovato added the feather tattoo behind her ear while on a tour bus for the Warped Tour festival back in 2010. She later admitted to
Hollywood Life that the design doesn’t really mean anything; she just got it because it was cute. Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.
finishing treatment for “ emotional and physical issues ” in early 2011, Lovato added the words “stay” and “strong” to each of her wrists, respectively. Not long after, Lovato opened up about her struggle with eating disorders and self-harm, explaining that the tattoos are a message to literally stay strong as well as coveringx physical scars on her wrists. Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images.
A few months later, Lovato added a lip imprint to her left wrist, right underneath the word “stay,” with a
few of her friends. By 2015, Lovato had the kiss mark covered up with a rose. She added a second rose to the cover-up tattoo a year later.
Lovato also added a black cross to the outside of her right hand as a tribute to her faith in 2011.
Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.
“Peace” & “Rock N Roll”
Lovato became a fast fan of
finger tattoos after adding the word “peace” to her left middle finger and “rock n roll” to her right middle finger in 2011. These are the singer’s tiniest tattoos to date. Photo: Noel Vasquez/Getty Images.
Lovato got this straightforward tattoo in late 2011 on her right arm, reportedly alongside a friend she met in treatment earlier that year.
“Let Go & Let God”
Lovato waited nearly a year to add her next
quote tattoo. Fans started to notice the ink in late 2012, spotting the words “let go [and]” on her right foot and “let God” on her left. Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.
Flock Of Birds
One of Lovato’s most recognizable tattoos — a flock of 12 birds on her right arm — came less than two months later, courtesy of Kat Von D. Lovato later explained that the number of birds, which she chose at random, was a happy accident she now considers meaningful and
representative of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step recovery program she’s been a part of.
“Now I’m A Warrior”
In 2013, Lovato visited Bang Bang again to add “Now I’m a warrior” to the back of her shoulder, a snippet of lyrics from the song “Warrior” off her 2013 eponymous album
Demi. “[The tattoo] was kind of like a tribute to releasing the album as well as overcoming some really, really difficult things in my life,” she later explained on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Photo: Frazer Harrison/AMA2015/Getty Images.
Lovato also added a Roman numeral “III” to her left wrist as a tribute to her late father, Patrick Lovato. Although they weren’t close for most of her life, Lovato explained to Craig Ferguson on
The Late Late Show in 2013 that she wanted to honor him in a positive way, so she got his favorite number.
Outline Of Africa
Lovato got a delicate outline of Africa on the inside of her right arm just after spending her 21st birthday in Kenya.
Photo: Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic.
She added five dates in Roman numerals to her left ribcage in 2014 courtesy of
Keith “Bang Bang” McCurdy, signifying the birthdays of her mother Dianna, her older sister Dallas, her younger half-sister Madison, her step-father Eddie, and her biological father Patrick. Photo: Michael Buckner/Getty Images.
“Buddy Was Here”
In 2015, Lovato’s dog Buddy tragically died after a coyote
reportedly got into her backyard. Not long after sharing the news, Lovato got the words “Buddy was here” in child-like handwriting on the inside of her left foot. By 2019, she added another tribute to the late pup in the form of a detailed portrait tattoo created by L.A. tattoo artist Dr. Woo just above the older ink.
Fans are convinced that Lovato’s intricate lion tattoo, which she got in April 2017, is a nod to her
zodiac sign, Leo. McCurdy, the artist behind the design, seemingly confirmed the suspicions in his own Instagram post revealing the ink, writing, “Sometimes the canvas makes the art.”
A year later, Lovato added the word “free” to her pinky finger not long after revealing she’d
broken her six-year sobriety in her song “Sober.” The singer’s hairstylist, manager, personal assistant, makeup artist, and bodyguard also tattooed the word on their fingers in solidarity.
In January 2019, Lovato visited L.A. artist Daniel Winter to get this tiny
rose tattoo on the inside of her finger. “Obsessed,” she wrote in an Instagram revealing the new design. Although Lovato never commented on exactly why she got this floral tattoo in particular, fans suspect it was to celebrate her six months of sobriety.
A few months later, Lovato went to Dr. Woo to get a
portrait of her late great-grandmother, who she called “Mimaw,” on her forearm. “This is for you Mimaw,” Lovato wrote on Instagram, showing off the tattoo. “You at 26 on my arm while I’m 26, and forever. I love you more.”
“Me” & Smiley Face
By June, Lovato added this
tiny text — “me” — to her finger. Sure, it may be small, but sends a big message, one Lovato echoed on Instagram when she first revealed the ink. “Can’t love anyone unless you love yourself first,” she wrote on her Story. She later posted a photo to her feed, co-signed by the caption, “Me first. Thank you [Winter] for my new forever reminder.”
Three years prior, Lovato added the now-faded
smiley face to her pinky finger. “Cause life’s too short not to tattoo your pinky,” she said of the decision.
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