Tattoos and regrets aren’t a new combination. When you get new ink, you’re excited about it—you want to show it off. But what if your body art didn’t turn out the way you planned? Maybe the idea you had in your head didn’t match what your tattoo artist had in mind. Or maybe that design seemed like a great idea at the time, but it didn’t age well. Tattoos are permanent, so there’s not much you can do about it… is there?
In all the regret, confusion, and anger of a bad tattoo, cover-ups have always offered relief. While these can be more satisfying than getting it removed and dealing with scarring, sometimes the cover-ups have been worse than the tattoos. Here are the top 10 worst cover-ups where the results could have been better.
Related: 10 Unique Tattoo Pieces And Tattooing Traditions
10 Put a Little Hair on Her Chest
Gorilla tattoos like this one can be cool. But not all cover-ups are quite this lucky. This was the case for this man who had his girlfriend’s face tattooed on his upper arm. But when things went south, he wasn’t exactly interested in staring at his ex’s face all day.
In order to cover up that (poorly done) tattoo of his ex-girlfriend, he decided to have it replaced with a tattooed gorilla. And if we’re being honest, the cover-up wasn’t that great. Let’s just say Jane Goodall wouldn’t have been thrilled. The man paid more money and received a lot more ink than he probably would have liked.
9 One Grande Cover Up
Anyone who actively follows American pop music and knows Ariana Grande is aware of the musician’s controversial relationship with Pete Davidson. It wasn’t the best, but somehow they made it work for quite some time.
When the two were deeply in love, Davidson got a tattoo with Ariana’s name. Sweet, right? But, like most Hollywood relationships, things did not go as planned. After the pair broke up in October 2018, Davidson wanted to strike her name from the record—literally. He soon covered her name with the word “cursed.” It’s unclear what exactly Davidson was referring to, but we get the general idea. Thank you, next!
8 The Devil Is in the Details
Okay, can we please stop getting other people’s faces tattooed on our bodies? One way or another, it rarely ends well. This person had their girlfriend’s face tattooed onto their arm (here we go again). And while the original inked portrait wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t really attractive either. She kind of looks like a puppet Jeff Dunham would have in his act.
So when the ink’s owner was ready to move on, they decided to get this beauty covered up. And it only got worse from there. The tattoo artist turned her face into a devil, complete with horns, a red face, and sharp teeth. Everything that could have gone wrong with this tattoo did so. The cover-up is worse than the original. I guess if you want to see people at their absolute lowest, watch them after a breakup.
7 Ink Happens
It seems that broken hearts cause the most body art regrets. In a bid to cover up their “bad decisions,” couples end up making the problem worse. This was the case of this internet user who summed up their breakup with a photo online, explaining that “sh*t happens.” Olivia is a name that obviously meant something to them, but it looks like the magic is gone now.
It’s okay to regret a decision. But it’s how you handle the situation moving forward that matters. This user crossed out the name Olivia, but it was still pretty visible. Instead of a creative new design, they’ll have to live with crappy break-up memories for the rest of their life.
6 Tramp Stamp Coverups
Whoever Edwin is, he managed to get himself “covered up” in ink and exposed on the internet in record time. In this picture shared by an anonymous user, the first slide shows that they were madly in love to the extent of getting ink with their significant other’s name. The name “Edwin” was engraved in between two stars on what appears to be the lower back.
In the second slide, we can see more stars with a heavily inked “X” crossing where the name “Edwin” used to be. Apart from being located just above the buttocks, the initial tattoo looked much better than the cover-up. But we get it—the name had to go.
Aside from increasing the number of stars, this tattoo coverup is regrettable in every sense of the word. But as they say, “X marks the spot.”
5 And They Called It Bunny Love
If there is one thing Pete Davidson thrives on, it’s getting and covering tattoos. His rocky relationship with Ariana Grande was the most artistically “challenging” as he had to update his ink several times.
Davidson originally had a “bunny ears” tattoo behind his ear that mimicked the symbol on the cover of Grande’s album Dangerous Woman. But close to the time of their breakup, he had the bunny ears swapped out to a heart. You might think it was a sign that he was cutting ties with the singer, but he also had the letter “A” inked next to the heart (supposedly for Ariana, also rumored to have a heart tattoo).
But honestly, the real crime here is the heart shape itself. It looks funky, more like something from a Bugs Bunny cartoon than a symbol of love. And as for Pete and Ariana? That’s all, folks.
4 Hyundai: New Tattoos, New Possibilities
As we’ve seen, break-up tattoo coverups are a terrible idea. But getting tattoos of things we love is much safer… right? This anonymous internet user was so in love with his Hyundai that he got the brand’s official logo inked on his arm. The original tattoo wasn’t exactly appealing, but anyone with half a brain about cars could tell what it meant.
When the tattoo’s owner got fed up, he decided to cover the original with something else. But it didn’t turn out so well. Thanks to the Hyundai logo’s awkward shape, the cover-up tattoo wound up as a strange blob that only the owner could decipher (we hope). We don’t know what happened between the subject and Hyundai, but whatever it was, we doubt it was bad enough to deserve such a lousy coverup.
3 Nas vs. The Lion
Hip Hop stars Nas and Kelis were probably the genre’s most famous couple between 2002 and 2009. Her milkshakes definitely brought him to the yard, and the bond was so strong that Nas got Kelis’s tattoo on his forearm. But after their wedding in 2005, the marriage ended on a rocky path. Nas was accused of infidelity in 2008, and they both decided their love life needed a break from the public.
Just before the birth of the couple’s firstborn in 2009, Kelis filed for a divorce. In response, Nas covered up Kelis’s tattoo. Rather than edit the whole image, Nas only replaced her head with a lion, leaving the torso as it was.
In the end, Nas had a tattoo of a woman’s body with the head of a lion. Frankly, it looks like something out of American Horror Story. But maybe he wanted a tattoo he regretted as much as the way their relationship ended.
2 Slim to Scum: Johnny Depp’s Ink Nightmare
Most of the world supported Johnny Depp through his recent court case struggle (that he won, by the way). But his history with tattoos hasn’t been the best. Famously known for the “Winona Forever” tattoo, the renowned actor had the word “Slim” inked on his knuckles to represent his then-wife, Amber Heard.
However, following their bitter divorce, Depp changed the word to “scum.” Now the celebrity has plenty of tattoos on his body, most of which have required cover-up services at some point. But we doubt that most of them would be as regrettable as the one he got with his ex-wife’s name.
The coverup in itself is not bad. But we all know that if it were up to him, he would want that part of his life to disappear altogether.
1 Back Together: The Big Sean Tattoo
Jhene Aiko is an American musician who made a name for herself with her unique voice. She is even more popular because of her on-and-off romantic relationship with Big Sean. Shortly after they released their album Twenty88 in 2016, Jhene got a tattoo of Big Sean’s face on her arm. But it didn’t take long before fans realized she had covered up the initial ink with a monster dragon. It was later discovered that the two had split. Jhene also followed up with a cryptic tweet that has since been deleted.
While the cover-up tattoo is cool, Jhene later reconciled with Big Sean and even had a kid together. We can only imagine how weird it is for her. First, she was in love, then she wasn’t, and now she is again. But maybe she’ll think twice before tattooing his face on her arm again.