Johnny Depp’s 37 Tattoos & Their Meanings

Johnny Depp is an American actor, producer, and musician who rose to fame as a teen idol by working in the 1980s television series ’21 Jump Street’. Being one of the world’s biggest film stars, he has always taken up ‘challenging’ and ‘greater-than-life’ roles. Depp’s interest in ink is very apparent from his various tattoos. Take a look!johnny depp tattoo

1. ‘Cherokee Tribe’ Tattoo

johnny depp-cherokee tribe tattoo

Tattoo: ‘Cherokee Tribe’ Tattoo on his right arm.

Meaning: Johnny’s first tattoo was a ‘Cherokee Tribe’ which he got inked when he was 17, to honor his Indian heritage, as his great-grandmother was a Cherokee. In an interview, Johnny said,

I started getting tattoos when they were sort of verboten in Hollywood… 1983, 1984. I was 17 when I got the first one a Cherokee chief, to honor my Indian heritage.”

2. ‘Betty Sue’ Tattoo

johnny depp-betty sue tattoo

Tattoo: ‘Betty Sue’ Tattoo on his left arm.

Meaning: ‘Betty Sue’ was the name of Johnny’s mother, who died on May 20, 2016, in Los Angeles, California, due to long illness. This tattoo was inked by the tattoo artist, Jonathan Shaw, on May 31, 1988.

3. ‘WINO FOREVER’ Tattoo

johnny depp-wino forever tattoo

‘WINONA FOREVER’ (left) and ‘WINO FOREVER’ (right)

Tattoo: ‘WINO FOREVER’ Tattoo on his right arm.

Meaning: Earlier, Johhny had the tattoo for his ex-girlfriend, Winona Ryder, whom he started dating in 1990, while shooting for ‘Edward Scissorhands’, an American romantic dark fantasy film, released in December 1990. Later, he got this tattoo modified into ‘WINO FOREVER’ after splitting up with her in 1993.

4. ‘Suprematism Triangle’ Tattoo

johnny depp-suprematism triangle tattoo

Tattoo: ‘Suprematism Triangle’ Tattoo on his left shoulder.

Meaning: This ‘suprematism triangle’ tattoo is a painting by the world-famous Russian painter, Ilya Chashnik, in 1925. This tattoo was inked by the tattoo artist, Jonathan Shaw, in 1993. Suprematism is an art that is done by using a limited range of colors and focuses on the basic geometric forms, like squares, triangles, rectangles, and circles.

5. ‘The Brave Movie Symbol’ Tattoo

johnny depp-the brave movie symbol tattoo

Tattoo: ‘The Brave Movie Symbol’ Tattoo on his right forearm.

Meaning: Johnny Depp got the tattoo of the symbol used in various scenes in the movie, ‘The Brave’, directed and co-written by Johnny Depp, which was released in 1997. This tattoo was inked by the tattoo artist, Jonathan Shaw, in 1998. Johnny explained the meaning behind this symbol. He said,

the brave symbol-johnny depp

6. ‘Three Rectangles’ Tattoo

Johnny Depp tattoos Three Triangles

johnny depp-three rectangles tattoo

Tattoo: ‘Three Rectangles’ Tattoo on the index finger of the right hand.

Meaning: These three rectangles were inked between September 6 to September 13, 1994. He once described them as ‘permanent phone doodles’.

7. ‘Number 3’ Tattoo

johnny depp-number 3 tattoo

Tattoo: ‘Number 3’ Tattoo on his left hand.

Meaning: This tattoo was inked somewhere between February 1, 1994, and March 21, 1994. In an interview in 1995, Johnny was asked about this tattoo, to which he replied,

I just have always felt very close to the number three, for some reason I like it. One night I was at a friend’s house who’s a tattoo artist and I said, ‘Put a number three on my hand.’ I don’t know why. I just felt it. It’s been a very important number for me.”

In an interview in April 1996, he again made a statement regarding this tattoo. He said,

Three is a sort of special number for me. It’s a very creative number. Triangle, trinity — you know, two people make another person. Three is a mystical, magical number.”

But in another interview, he said,

It’s just a three, man, a friend just put it there one day while we were bored.”

8. ‘Lily-Rose’ Tattoo

johnny depp-lily rose tattoo

Tattoo: ‘Lily-Rose’ Tattoo on the left side of his chest.

Meaning: Lily-Rose is the name of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis, who was born on May 27, 1999. This tattoo was inked in November 1999 by the tattoo artist, Jonathan Shaw. In an interview, Johnny described how Lily’s birth was a life-changing experience for him. He said,

When Lily-Rose arrived, you know it was sorta like . . . boom! You hit the pavement and it’s strong beneath you and suddenly you realize, ‘Ah, that’s what it’s for. That’s why you care about integrity or doing things without compromise. It’s for that. It’s for her.”

johnny depp and lily rose

Johnny Depp with his daughter, Lily-Rose

9. ‘Jack Sparrow-Pirates of the Caribbean’ Tattoo 

johnny depp-jack sparrow-pirates of caribbean tattoo

Tattoo: ‘Jack Sparrow-Pirates of the Caribbean’ Tattoo on his right forearm.

Meaning: This tattoo is inspired by the tattoo of Captain Jack Sparrow, a fictional character and protagonist of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ film series. Johnny got this tattoo inked by the tattoo artist, Mark Mahoney, in 2003, after the completion of shooting of the film. Johnny Depp’s tattoo has the bird coming towards him, with his son’s name Jack, who was born in 2002, while Captain Jack Sparrow’s tattoo has the bird going away from him. In an interview, Johnny said,

You have to have it flying towards you. He’s gotta always fly back to you.”

Johnny is very close to his children and explained that the birth of his children has changed his life completely. He said,

Having children has given me a real foundation, a real strong place to stand in life, in work, in everything. … You cannot plan the kind of deep love that results in children. Fatherhood was not a conscious decision. It was part of the wonderful ride I was on. It was destiny. All the math finally worked.”

10. ‘Question Mark’ Tattoo

johnny depp-question mark tattoo

Johnny Depp (left) and Jonathan Shaw (right)

Tattoo: ‘Question Mark’ Tattoo on his right leg.

Meaning: In 1991, Johnny got inked the tattoo of the ‘question mark with a tiny cross’ on his right leg by the tattoo artist, Jonathan Shaw. The same tattoo was inked by Johnny on Jonathan’s left knee.

11. ‘Silence Exile Cunning’ Tattoo

johnny depp-silence exile cunning tattoo

Tattoo: ‘Silence Exile Cunning’ Tattoo on his left forearm.

Meaning: Johnny got this tattoo inked in December 2007. This is a quote from the book by James Joyce, titled ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’.

12. ‘Three Hearts’ Tattoo

johnny depp-three hearts

johnny depp-three hearts tattoo

Tattoo: ‘Three Hearts’ Tattoo on his left arm.

Meaning: Johnny got this tattoo inked for his ex-girlfriend, Vanessa Paradis (dated 1998-2012), and their two children, Lily-Rose Depp (born on May 27, 1999) and Jack Depp (born on April 9, 2002). However, the couple got split in 2012. The tattoo has three red-colored hearts, in which two hearts are attached, which signifies the bond between the children.

13. ‘Grandfather’s Portrait’ Tattoo

johnny depp-grandfather portrait tattoo

Tattoo: ‘Grandfather’s Portrait’ Tattoo on his right forearm.

Meaning: Johnny was very close to his grandfather, Jim, who died when Johnny was just nine years old. In an interview with Vanity Fair magazine, Johnny was asked about this tattoo, to which he replied that it’s a portrait of his grandfather. He further explained,

We were very, very close, and I lost him. I was about nine. He was a wonderful model. He drove a bus during the day and ran moonshine at night. He was a Robert Mitchum type, a man’s man. He just said things as they were.”

14. ‘Mother’s Portrait’ Tattoo

johnny depp-mother portrait tattoo

Tattoo: ‘Mother’s Portrait’ Tattoo on his left forearm.

Meaning: Since childhood, Johnny was very close to his mother, Betty Sue, who died on May 20, 2016, due to prolonged illness. This is not the first time when Johnny got inked the tattoo for his beloved mother as earlier too he got inked his mother’s name ‘Betty Sue’ on his left arm on Mar 31, 1988. This portrait tattoo was inked in 2009 at the ‘Shamrock Social Club’ in Sunset Boulevard. In a press conference for ‘Pirates of Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ Johnny was asked about this tattoo, to which he replied,

It’s my mom. She was a waitress at the Holiday Inn in Kentucky. This is her waitress’s picture.”

In an interview with ‘Us Magazine in 1989’, Johnny called his mother his ‘best friend’ and acknowledged her hard work and said,

Her whole life she’s been a waitress, but I won’t let her wait tables anymore.”

15. ‘Gonzo Fist’ Tattoo

johnny depp-gonzo fist tattoo

Tattoo: ‘Gonzo Fist’ Tattoo on his left leg.

Meaning: Johnny Depp was very close to his friend, Hunter S. Thompson who was an American journalist and author. Thompson started the ‘Gonzo Journalism’ movement (a style of journalism that is written without the claims of objectivity, including the reporter as the part of the story by a first-person narrative).

Just below this ‘Gonzo Fist’ tattoo, Johnny got inked the birthyear (1937) and death year(2005) of Hunter, who committed suicide at the age of 67, due to serious health problems. In an interview, Johnny was asked about this tattoo, to which he replied,

I feel he’s still with me. There are certain people in your life who have gone away, people you love, and you think about them every day.”

16. ‘Skull with Crossed Bones’ Tattoo

johnny depp-skull with crossed bones tattoo

Tattoo: ‘Skull with Crossed Bones’ Tattoo on his right arm.

Meaning:  Johnny got this tattoo inked about the film series, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, in which Johnny Depp played the role of ‘Captain Jack Sparrow’, who is a fictional character and protagonist of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ film series.

17. ‘SALVE OGUM’ Tattoo

johnny depp-salve ogum

johnny depp-salve ogum tattoo

Tattoo: ‘Salve Ogum’ Tattoo on his left forearm.

Meaning: ‘Ogum’ is an Afro-American deity. ‘Salve’ is Portuguese/Latin word which means ‘save’ in English. He got this tattoo when he was on a trip to Hawaii in 2010.

18. ‘Dots’ Tattoo

No picture is available.

Tattoo: ‘Dots’ Tattoo on his left ankle.

Meaning: No clear piece of information regarding this tattoo is available.

19. ‘Rook’ Tattoo

johnny depp-rook tattoo

johnny depp-rook tattoo

Tattoo: ‘Rook’ Tattoo near his left wrist.

Meaning: Johnny got a ‘rook’ tattoo based on an Eastern Kentucky’s card game called ‘Rook’. Johnny changed the number 2 of the card as the number 3 (his favorite) number. He got this tattoo inked in August 2011. In an interview with BBC on November 7, 2011, Johnny said,

That’s a Rook. Rook was a card game, an old-school card game that my grandfather played all the time. I remember him playing that very well.”

20. ‘Harley Davidson Skeleton Key’ Tattoo

johnny depp-harley davidson skeleton key tattoo

johnny depp-harley davidson skeleton key

Tattoo: ‘Harley Davidson Skeleton Key’ Tattoo on his left wrist.

Meaning: Johnny got this tattoo inked with his friend, Damien Echols, at the same time, but not in the same place. This tattoo was inked by the tattoo artist, Mark Mahoney. Here’s what Damien said about this tattoo,

One was a skeleton key because for me when I was a child, I thought that a skeleton key could literally open any door. So that if you ever got your hands on a skeleton key, you’d be almost unstoppable—no barrier could hold you back. It seemed like an incredibly magical thing. For me now, that’s still what it represents. That one we did simultaneously. He was in L.A. and I was in New York and we were on the phone at the same time both sending each other photographs back and forth, keeping track of the progress and everything else. I was at a shop on Franklin Street called Majestic Tattoo and there was a guy named Alejandro Lopez that worked there. He only worked there for a few weeks. … Now anytime I want something, he’ll come to my apartment.”

21. ‘NO REASON’ Tattoo

johnny depp-no reason tattoo

Tattoo: ‘NO REASON’ Tattoo on his right wrist.

Meaning: Johnny got this tattoo about Marilyn Manson’s song, ‘Overneath the Path of Misery’, which was released in 2012. Marilyn Manson has the same tattoo but on his left wrist.

22. ‘Les Fleurs du Mal’ Tattoo

Johnny Depp tattoo Les Fleurs du Mal

Tattoo:Les Fleurs du Mal’ Tattoo on his back.

Meaning: Marilyn Manson and Johnny shared the experience of being inked with artwork covering their back with Les Fleurs du Mal tattoo by French poet, Charles Baudelaire. Les Fleurs du Mal means ‘The evil flowers’ in English.

23. ‘Brothers’ Tattoo

brother tattoo

johnny depp-brothers tattoo

Tattoo: ‘Brothers’ Tattoo on the right side of his chest.

Meaning: This tattoo means ‘Brothers’, written in Theban alphabets. It was designed by Johnny’s dearest friend, Damien Echols, and was inked by the tattoo artist, Mark Mahoney, in 2012. The tattoo has the runes inside that spells Johnny and Damien’s names. In an interview, Johnny said,

It’s one of my all-time favorites, and it means quite a lot to me.”

24. ‘Zigzag’ Tattoo

johnny depp-zigzag tattoo

Tattoo: ‘Zigzag’ Tattoo on his left hand.

Meaning: Johnny got this tattoo soon after his adoption in the Comanche Nation on May 16, 2012. On May 22, 2012, Damien Echols (Johnny’s friend) tweeted that he got a similar tattoo on his left hand. He tweeted,

I got a similar tattoo on my left hand in honor of my friend who was brought into the Comanche Nation. The ‘Z’ or the zigzag is a common Native American symbol. The straight horizontal line in Native American glyphs represents movement upon Mother Earth and closing connections with Father Sky. If the centerline of the Z slants left it indicates the path of the soul – the journey the spirit takes and the walk that is made on within the spirit. If the middle line in the Z slants to the right, this indicates forces that call loudly to a person’s soul – passions or issues that compel a person to take a chosen path of life. The two horizontal lines (top and bottom – connecting the middle slant line) indicate the journey of life and the understanding as we walk upon the grounding plane of Earth – we are also living the life of Sky. These lines definitions are common to Plains Native Peoples of North America.”

25. ‘Little Guitarist’ Tattoo

guitarist

Bill Carter (left) and Johnny Depp (Right)

Tattoo: ‘Little Guitarist’ Tattoo on his left arm.

Meaning: On the back of his upper left arm is a little guitarist which was drawn by Johnny’s son, Jack. This was confirmed by Bill Carter, the godfather of Johnny’s son, Bill Carter has got the same tattoo and Vanessa Paradis (Jack’s mother) has a t-shirt with the drawing.

26. ‘Crow’ Tattoo

Johnny Depp-crow tattoo

Tattoo: ‘Crow’ Tattoo on his right hand.

Meaning: Johnny got this tattoo inked in Toronto on September 9, 2012. Bill Carter (Jack Depp’s godfather), Damien Echols (Johnny’s friend) have got a similar tattoo on their respective hands, for the celebration of a great reception for West of Memphis.

27. ‘Snake’ Tattoo

johnny depp-snake tattoo

johnny depp-snake tattoo

Tattoo: ‘Snake’ Tattoo near his right wrist.

Meaning: Johnny got this tattoo inked in 2012, to honor his Native American roots and his adoption in Comanche Nation. In Native American culture, a snake is considered as the symbol of transformation, renewal, and new beginnings.

28. ‘Comanche Shield’ Tattoo

indian tattoo 2

Tattoo: ‘Comanche Shield’ Tattoo on his right leg.

Meaning: Johnny got this tattoo of ‘Comanche Shield’ inked to honor his adoption into the Comanche Nation in 2012.

29. ‘man is a giddy thing’ Tattoo

johnny edlind-man is a giddy thing tattoo

Tattoo: ‘man is a giddy thing’ Tattoo on his left arm.

Meaning: The faceless man is a drawing by his son, Jack. The letters below a faceless man say ‘man is a giddy thing’, which is a line from the Mumford and Sons song ‘Sigh No More’ as well as from Shakespeare’s play ‘Much Ado About Nothing’.

30. ‘SCAM’ Tattoo

johnny depp-scam tattoo

SLIM (left) and SCUM (right)

johnny depp-scam tattoo

Johnny’s ‘SCUM’ tattoo is now modified into ‘SCAM’ tattoo

Tattoo: ‘SCAM’ Tattoo on his right hand.

Meaning: Earlier, Johnny had the tattoo of his ex-wife, Amber Heard’s nickname, ‘SLIM’, which he later got the tattoo modified into ‘SCUM’ when Amber filed for divorce in 2016. However, in 2018, Johnny again got it modified into the word, ‘SCAM’.

31. ‘Wind Over Heaven-Ching’ Tattoo

Johnny Depp-Wind Over Heaven-ching tattoo

johnny depp-wind over heaver-ching symbol tattoo

Tattoo: ‘Wind over Heaven-Ching’ Tattoo on his right arm.

Meaning: This tattoo is believed to be ‘Wind over Heaven’ from the I Ching, an ancient Chinese text called Book of Changes. It’s meaning is ‘Forcing your way will only bring misfortune. Remain focused on your path and remove obstacles with gentle actions’.

32. ‘death is certain’ Tattoo

johnny depp-death is certain tattoo

A clear picture of this tattoo is not available.

Tattoo: ‘death is certain’ Tattoo on his right leg.

Meaning: Johnny got the tattoo of a skull with crossed bones and the text which says, ‘death is certain’ inked on his right leg.

33. ‘Ouroboros’ Tattoo

johnny depp-ouroboros tattoo

Tattoo: ‘Ouroboros’ Tattoo on his right arm.

Meaning:  An ouroboros is an ancient symbol of a dragon eating its tail. This symbol has several meanings in different cultures. Generally, it represents eternity, infinity, and the circle of birth and death.

34. ‘JJ 13’ Tattoo

johnny depp-jj13 tattoo

Tattoo: ‘JJ 13’ Tattoo on his left arm.

Meaning: This tattoo of Johnny was inked in April 2019, about Johnny’s bodyguard, Jerry Judge’s death on April 5, 2019. Jerry was considered as the ‘Life Angel’ of Johnny, who performed his duty of being Johnny’s bodyguard for almost 20 years. In between the ‘JJ 13’, Johnny got the portrait of Jerry inked on his left arm.

35. ‘3’ Tattoo

johnny depp-3 tattoo

‘3’ tattoo on his left arm

36. ‘Anchor Fish’ Tattoo

johnny depp-anchor fish tattoo

‘Anchor Fish’ Tattoo on his right arm

37. ‘Sun setting over the Sea’ Tattoo

johnny depp-sun setting over the sea tattoo

Tattoo: ‘Sun setting over the Sea’ Tattoo on his right arm.

Meaning: Earlier, Johnny had the tattoo of ‘Portrait of a Lady’ which might be about his ex-wife, Amber Heard, which he later got it covered with the ‘sun setting over the sea’ tattoo, inspired from the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ saga.

johnny depp-portrait of lady tattoo

Johnny’s ‘Portrait of Lady’ tattoo is now covered with ‘Sun setting over the sea’ tattoo

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