Miley Cyrus has well over 20 tattoos. On her right hand alone she has 9 tattoos, though they are all tiny. On the sides of her fingers are an equal sign, a peace symbol, a cross, “Bad” from the Michael Jackson album, and the word “karma.” On her knuckles she has a heart, an evil eye, an alien head, and a watermelon slice. She formerly had a tongue and a triangle, but they were both covered by the watermelon.
On her ribcage is her first tattoo — “Just Breathe” — as well as a dreamcatcher and a tribute to her deceased dog Floyd.
Her right arm is home to an animal tooth on her bicep, Roman numerals inside her elbow, crossed arrows behind her elbow, a portrait of grandmother and an anatomical heart on her forearm, and an anchor on her wrist.
On her left arm she has “Love Never Dies,” a moon, a cat, a Theodore Roosevelt quote, a robot, her brother’s nickname Wukong, and an ohm symbol.
She also has “Love” in her ear, a cat on her inner lip, a skull on her ankle, and “Rolling $tone” on the soles of her feet.
1. Just breathe
Her first tattoo was of the words “Just Breathe” tattooed on the left side of her rib cage. The tattoo was revealed in December 2009, when Miley was only 17 years old. It’s not surprising that Miley’s parents would give her permission to get a tattoo considering that her father, Billy Ray Cyrus, is quite inked himself and her half-brother Trace Cyrus is practically covered in tattoos.
The tattoo is a tribute to her friend Vanessa who died of the lung disease cystic fibrosis in 2007 and her grandfathers who both died of lung cancer. She told Harper’s Bazaar:
“It reminds me not to take things for granted. I mean breathing – that was something none of them could do, the most basic thing. And I put it near my heart, because that is where they will always be.”
Miley’s second tattoo is the word “LOVE” on the inside of her right ear. This tattoo was first spotted by the press in May 2010, but Miley had actually gotten the tattoo months before, at the time her father was having a tattoo done. The tattoo and its placement on her ear signifies drowning out negative messages and only hearing the positive things. Miley told Access Hollywood:
“I have ‘Love’ right here to block out all the crap that everyone throws into your ears…I don’t really care about it. [You’re] only supposed to hear the things coming from the people that genuinely love you.”
She also told E! News:
“There’s so much negativity in the world and what you only need to hear is all the love. People try to say to me, ‘I just heard someone say this or that about you,’ and I just ignore it because it’s irrelevant. Love is what makes the world go around, and that’s all we need to focus on.”
Miley Cyrus has seven tattoos on her right hand. The first of these was a small outline of a heart which she had tattooed on her right pinkie finger in September 2010. This tattoo is one that is shared with every adult in her family.
Her father Billy Ray Cyrus was the first to get a heart tattoo and got his in 2008 out of his love for Miley. They were sitting in church when Miley drew a small heart on his hand, between his thumb and index finger. He told Access Hollywood that he “had already declared that day was Miley’s day” and he would do whatever she asked. She wanted to take him to a tattoo parlor, and so he decided to get the heart in ink.
All of Miley’s family members have a heart somewhere on their hands. Miley’s mother Leticia ‘Tish’ Cyrus has the heart tattoo on her pinkie like Miley, though hers appears to be colored in pink. Sister Brandi Cyrus has hers in the same spot as Billy Ray. Brother Trace Cyrus has a solid black heart on his thumb.
In December 2010 Miley tattooed a tiny cross on the inside of her ring finger. Miley is a Christian and often mentions her belief in God.
On the side of her middle finger there was a small line which she later turned into a peace sign. This tattoo was never explained and is still a mystery.
In February 2011 Miley had a dreamcatcher tattooed on her right side. This is her largest tattoo to date. A friend told People Magazine:
“It’s a picture of the dream catcher that hangs over her bed with four feathers to represent her four brothers and sisters. The dream catcher is to protect them.”
Dreamcatchers are used in many Native American cultures to protect a person while sleeping. The are hung over the bed and are thought to catch bad dreams and only let good dreams through.
The Cyrus family is part Cherokee and all seem to be inspired by Native American imagery. Miley’s brother Trace has a dreamcatcher on his neckas well as portraits of Geronimo on his hand and back. Father Billy Ray Cyrus has Geronimo and Chief Joseph on his arms.
6. Peace Sign
Miley has a peace sign on the side of her middle finger which was done around April 2011. She has not spoken publicly about this tattoo so we don’t know the story behind it. We do know that it must have a personal meaning to Miley because she has told that press that “I could never get a meaningless tattoo.”
Miley Cyrus got an anchor tattooed on wrist by artist Fabio Satori while in Brazil on her Corazon Gitano tour in May 2011. Satori explained that the tattoo represents a feeling of safety to Miley. He said:
“Everyone had an idea in mind and references. She asked me something soft, I made two drawings and she chose one. Miley told her mother that she wanted something that refers to a safe port, something that reminded her that she always has a safe place to return to. The significance of the design is one of hope and a reminder to always have your feet on the ground.”
In July 2011 she had the word “karma” tattooed along the side of her index finger. Karma is cause and effect that means good people will have good things happen to them while bad people will be punished. The concept comes from ancient India and is a part of a few religions including Hinduism and Buddhism. Karma is often mentioned in Western culture in a way that is not tied to any religion but rather is a result of human interactions. We say that if you treat others well, you foster good will that will come back to benefit you.
9. Equal Sign
Miley’s most controversial tattoo is the equal sign on her ring finger. She got this tattoo in July 2011 and tweeted a photo of the fresh ink with the caption “All LOVE is equal” as a statement in favor of legalized gay marriage. The tattoo caused criticism from opponents of gay marriage, but Miley has stood her ground about her beliefs. In a February 2012 article for Glamour magazine, she wrote:
When I shared a picture of my tattoo on my Twitter page and said, “All LOVE is equal,” a lot of people mocked me–they said, “What happened to you? You used to be a Christian girl!” And I said, “Well, if you were a true Christian, you would have your facts straight. Christianity is about love.”
10. Sugar Skull
Miley Cyrus and her fiancé actor Liam Hemsworth have matching tattoos on their ankles which were first spotted in August 2011. The tattoos are colorful sugar skulls, a symbol associated with Mexican holiday the Day of the Dead.
11. Om Symbol
In August 2011, Miley Cyrus got a tattoo on her left wrist of the ‘Om’ symbol: ॐ. Om is a sacred symbol in Hinduism and it’s Miley’s second tattoo to reference Indian culture and religion. Om is a sound or vibration that represents divine energy.
12. Love Never Dies
In February 2012, Miley Cyrus tattooed “Love Never Dies” in small letters on the inside of her left arm, on her bicep.
13. Evil Eye
In March 2012, Miley Cyrus was spotted with a tattoo of an eye on her knuckle on her right hand index finger.
It is thought to be a Nazar, a symbol intended to ward off the “evil eye.” If so, it would seem that Miley has a growing interest in foreign cultures and customs. The evil eye is most prevalent in the Middle East, while Miley’s om and “karma” tattoos represent concepts from Hinduism and other Indian religions.
14. Roman Numeral
Miley Cyrus tattooed Roman numerals on the inside of her left elbow in May 2012. This tattoo is still a bit of a mystery as Miley has not spoken about it and it is not obvious what numbers it represents. The numerals are “VIIXCI,” which are the numbers 5, 1, 1, 10, 100, and 1. “VIIXCI” is not a valid Roman numeral and does not actually represent any number by itself. It seems like Miley intended to represent multiple numbers, but because she combined them with no spaces there are many possibilities. The ones which make the most sense are dates. It could be “VI I XCI” which is 6/1/91 (June 1, 1991), or “V II XCI” for 5/2/91 (May 2, 1991), or “VII XCI” for 7/91 (July 1991) — or it could be something else entirely. We’ll just have to wait for Miley to explain it!
Though it’s likely just a coincidence, Miley’s tattoo is quite similar to one on fellow pop star Avril Lavigne. Avril has the Roman numerals “XXV” (25) in the same location, which she got in celebration of turning 25 years old.
15. Theodore Roosevelt Quote
Miley Cyrus’ tattooed a quote on the inside of her left forearm in July 2012. The font and size of the letters are similar to the “Love Never Dies” tattoo on her upper arm, though this quote is much longer and takes up three lines.
The tattoo reads “so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” This quote comes from former United States president Theodore Roosevelt’s “Citizenship in a Republic” speech given in Paris in 1910.
The speech talks about the difference between those who attempt to do things – and sometimes end up failing, and those who stand on the sidelines and criticize. It would seem that the tattoo is a reminder to Miley to live her life without fear of failure or criticism, lest she become one of the “cold and timid souls.” Despite all of her controversies, Miley has certainly accomplished quite a lot at a young age and we think that she has nothing to worry about!
Miley’s fiancé Liam Hemsworth has the previous line of the speech tattoed on his arm.
Miley Cyrus was photographed in July 2012 with the word “BAD” tattooed on her finger in red ink. The tattoo seems to be a tribute to Michael Jackson’s album Bad which has the album name written in red. Miley has described herself as “a huge fan of Michael Jackson” and says that he is the male artist who has inspired her the most (Lady Gaga is her female inspiration). Speaking of Michael’s passing in 2009, Miley wrote “Michael Jackson was my inspiration. Love and blessings.”
Like Miley, Michael had to deal with the pressures of the media from a young age. Miley wishes that more people, including herself, had told him how great he was when he was still alive. Maybe the tattoo is a way of making amends with those regrets? In 2010 she told MTV:
“He was a baby when he started in the industry. And it’s hard, you gotta be strong. It’s so crazy with the media and all that. Nobody ever wrote an article just to say, ‘Hey, Michael, we really appreciate what you do.’ I wish I would have had the opportunity. I wish I would have known. I wish I would have had some kind of determination to be like ‘How can I get in touch with Michael Jackson and let him know how much he means to me?’ Because not enough people told him, and I think it’s sad that he had to wait until it’s too late to tell people what he did. But I think he knows.”
17. Crossed Arrows
Miley Cyrus has a pair of crossed arrows on the back of her right elbow, which are a Native American symbol of friendship. She got the tattoo from artist Kat Von D in January 2013. “Simple symbols of friendship make beautiful tattoos. <3” Kat wrote.
18. Da Vinci Heart Drawing
Miley Cyrus added a circular emblem below the Roman Numerals on her left forearm in March 2013. This was her second tattoo in a row by artist Kat Von D, who wrote “Just did the RADDEST tattoo on @MileyCyrus -a miniature rendition of a daVinci anatomical heart! ❤”.
The tattoo is an anatomical drawing of a human heart from two angles done by Leonardo da Vinci. Kat Von D added a gray background and contained the drawing within a circle. “This was a challenging and seriously fun tattoo for me to do,” she wrote.
Miley hasn’t spoken about the tattoo yet, but some speculate that the two hearts are a symbol of her and her finacé at the time Liam Hemsworth.
19. Curved Tooth Bone
Miley Cyrus got another tattoo from Kat Von D in August 2013. This one looks to be a curved tooth bone from a cat or other animal.
20. “Rolling $tone” Foot Tattoo
Miley Cyrus visited Kat Von D’s High Voltage tattoo shop on August 29th, 2013 for her 20th tattoo(s). She got the word “Rolling” on the sole of her right foot, and “$tone” on the sole of her left foot written simply in black ink. The tattoo is a celebration of her appearing on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine.
21. Grandmother Portrait
On November 4th 2013, Miley got a tattoo of a portrait of her “Mammie,” Loretta Finley, from Kat Von D; her fifth tattoo by her. She took to twitter to share a photo, explaining “Because I am her favorite & she is mine.” It is placed on her right forearm underneath her heart tattoo.
22. Crying Cat
Miley Cyrus got a tattoo a yellow crying cat emoji on her inner lip in March 2014 while on her Bangerz Tour. The ‘sad kitty’ motif first appeared at 2013 American Music Awards, where she performed her song “Wrecking Ball” in front of a video of a crying cat. Her backdrops for the Bangerz Tour featured cats and other animals which were designed by Ren & Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi. “Our whole tour is literally based on animals,” she told MTV. “His art is driving a lot of the tour.”
Miley Cyrus got a tattoo of a tongue emoji on her right middle finger during the same session as her cat tattoo in March 2014. The red ink did not stick well and what is most visible now is the curved black line which represents the mouth.
Beginning in 2013 Miley’s stuck-out tongue became an integral part of her image. She’s been spotted sticking out her tongue on red carpets, at concerts, and in photoshoots.
23. Floyd Memorial
Miley Cyrus paid tribute to her deceased dog Floyd with a tattoo on her side, which she had done on July 5th 2014 along with her friends Wayne Coyne and Katy Weaver. The three pals all got the same medallion design with a cartoon drawing of Floyd and the words “with a little help from my fwends” in a speech bubble around the outside of the circle.
Floyd was Miley’s favorite dog and she was devastated by his sudden death. The 2-year-old dog was killed by a coyote on April 1st. Miley tweeted “I know I don’t mean it but I wish he would’ve taken me with him, this is unbearable. What am I gonna do without him?” as well as “what you don’t understand is he’s not in a better place. The best place he could be was with me… where he was loved more than anything.”
“With a Little Help from My Friends” is the title of a song by The Beatles. The particular misspelling of “Fwends” comes from Wayne’s band The Flaming Lips, who released an album called The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends in 2012 and a The Beatles cover album With a Little Help from My Fwends in October 2014. The latter album uses a full-color version of this tattoo design as part of the album packaging. Miley also contributed her vocals to the track “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”
24. Triangle Tattoo
Miley covered up her faded tongue tattoo with an upside-down black triangle on July 27th, 2014 while her best friend Cheyne Thomas got a tattoo on his foot. The tongue tattoo is still partially visible underneath the new triangle tattoo.
25. Moon Tattoo
Miley did her first “tattoo swap” on August 5th, 2014 with tattoo artist Bang Bang. He gave Miley an outline of a crescent moon on her left elbow, then Miley took hold of the tattoo gun and gave Bang Bang a replica of the design on his thumb.
26. Love Yer Brain Tattoo
Miley Cyrus got the title of The Flaming Lips’ song “Love Yer Brain” tattooed on her right arm on August 5th, 2014. The band’s lead singer Wayne Coyne is one of her closest friends.
27. Wukong Tattoo
Miley has a tattoo on her wrist which says “Wükong” — a nickname for her younger brother Braison Cyrus.
28. Alien Tattoo
Miley Cyrus got this outline of an alien’s head tattooed on her ring finger on October 14th, 2014. Tattoo artist Lauren Winzer also added color to Miley’s existing finger tattoos. She filled the heart on her pinkie with galaxy print, transformed the triangle on her middle finger into a slice of watermelon, and colored the eye on her ring finger.
29. Watermelon Tattoo
Miley had her triangle knuckle tattoo redone yet again as part of her session with Lauren Winzer on October 14th, 2014. The tattoo started out as a tongue emoji, but when the red ink faded Miley covered it with an outline of a triangle. Lauren transformed the triangle into a slice of watermelon, adding a red/pink gradient with little seed speckles and a green rind.
31. Cat Tattoo
Miley Cyrus got this gray cat head tattoo on her left elbow from artist Lauren Winzer on October 14th, 2014.
31. Yoshimi Tattoo
Miley and her best friends Wayne Coyne — lead singer of The Flaming Lips — and his girlfriend Katy Weaver got another set of matching tattoos on October 29, 2014. It is an outline of the robot from the cover art of The Flaming Lips’ 2002 album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.