Miley Cyrus has been in the spotlight ever since she was a teenager, meaning she has gone through many physical changes in the public eye. Fans marveled every time Cyrus changed up her fashion or hairstyle, like going from brown curls to an ombre bob or a bleach blonde pixie cut to blonde space buns, because her change was always so unexpected. Experimenting with her style is just one way Cyrus expresses herself, but Miley Cyrus' tattoos have a special way of telling her life story.
From honoring her loved ones and paying tribute to her biggest musical milestones to commemorating her most important career moments and personal life events, Cyrus' tats are each significant in their own way. Though in the past, she's only spoken about a handful of specific pieces of art, fans have pieced together a ton of her tattoos' possible meanings based on what was going on in the singer's life at the time. Though fans may only be familiar with her larger tats, Cyrus has a ton of hard-to-spot dainty ones, too. With over 50 tattoos and counting, Cyrus' collection will inspire many fans to get inked themselves.
Check out 20 of Cyrus' most meaningful tats below.
1. "Just Breathe"
Cyrus' first piece of ink was the phrase "Just Breathe" located underneath her left breast. The script was written by her mother, Tish Cyrus, and is meant to remember her friend who died of cystic fibrosis, as well as her grandfathers who died of lung cancer. "It reminds me not to take things for granted. I mean, breathing was something none of them could do, the most basic thing," Cyrus told Harper's Bazaar in 2010. "I put it near my heart because that is where they will always be."
2. A Portrait of Her Late Grandmother
To honor her late maternal grandmother, Loretta Finley, Cyrus had a portrait of her inked on her right arm. "Because I am her favorite & she is mine," Cyrus wrote on Twitter in 2013.
3. Pixies Lyrics
A few weeks after Cyrus and Hemsworth announced their split in August 2019, Cyrus debuted a new tattoo at the MTV Video Music Awards. Located on her left bicep, the tattoo reads, "My head was feeling scared, but my heart was feeling free." The line is from the Pixies' 1990 song "The Thing" and, because it alludes to feelings of moving on, fans believe the tat is about her separation from Hemsworth.
4. Dream Catcher
One of Cyrus' most noticeable tattoo sis her dream catcher. Fans can see it every time the star wears a revealing item of clothing that exposes her right torso. "It’s a picture of the dream catcher that hangs over her bed with four feathers to represent her four brothers and sisters," Cyrus' close friend reportedly told PEOPLE in February 2011. "The dream catcher is to protect them."
5. Theodore Roosevelt Quote
Written on Cyrus' left arm are the words "So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat." It's a quote from a famous speech about criticism by former president Theodore Roosevelt. A few months after Cyrus got this ink in July 2012, her then-fiancé Liam Hemsworth got a similar one that reads "If he fails, at least fails while daring greatly," which is the line that precedes Cyrus' from the same speech.
Cyrus' "Love" tattoo is one that's easy to miss since it's so small, and it's located on her ear.
"I have 'Love' right here to block out all the crap that everyone throws into your ears," she told Access Hollywood in June 2010. "I don't really care about it. [You're] only supposed to hear the things coming from the people that genuinely love you."
7. A Drawing of Her Late Dog Floyd
After Cyrus' dog Floyd passed away in 2014, the singer honored his memory by getting matching tattoos with friends featuring a drawing of Floyd, along with a speech bubble that reads, "With a little help from my fwiends."
8. A Portrait of Her Dog Emu
Following Floyd's passing, Cyrus adopted a sheepdog and named him Emu. Three years later, she forever marked Emu's face on her left arm, right on top of an image of her deceased fish, Pablow.
9. "I'm proud of u"
Cyrus received a handwritten note from Japanese artist and musician Yoko Ono that read "I’m proud of u, Yoko," and then had the phrase permanently etched on her back.
10. An Anchor
"The significance of the design is one of hope and a reminder to always have your feet on the ground," Cyrus' tattoo artist Fabio Satori reportedly told EGO in 2011. "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."
Around the same time Cyrus got her Yoko Ono script done, she had "Freedom" inked on her right hand. "FREEDOM #freedom #mothersdaugter [sic] #mileycyrus #singleneedle #delicatelysharp #tattoo," the star's tattoo artist Daniel Winter wrote on IG. Since he used the hashtag #MothersDaughter, the tat could reference Cyrus' song of the same name, which features the line, "Don't f*ck with my freedom."
12. "Love Never Dies"
Cyrus got this script with Liam Hemsworth by her side in February 2012, so it's not a stretch to say the Hunger Games star could have inspired it, especially since the couple announced their engagement that June.
13. Johnny Cash Autograph
As the daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus, the "Slide Away" singer was heavily influenced by country music growing up. Johnny Cash appeared to be another source of music inspiration for her, as she got his autograph stamped on her right arm. "I’ve got a tattoo of Johnny Cash’s autograph that he gave me when I was a little girl that says, 'I’m in your corner,'" Cyrus told Billboard in 2019.
As you've probably noticed, many of Cyrus' tattoos honor the most important people in her life. Another one is "KATZ" that is a tribute to her friend Katy Weaver, who got "MEOWTZ" on her wrist to symbolize Cyrus in return.
15. Naked Woman
One of Cyrus' latest additions is a drawing of a naked female figure that is seemingly inspired by Leonard Cohen’s "Dance Me to the End of Love."
"Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin. Dance me through the panic till I'm gathered safely in. Touch me with your naked hand or touch me with your glove. Dance me to the end of love," Cyrus captioned a March 2 IG post referencing the song's lyrics.
16. "Rolling $tone"
Cyrus celebrated her first Rolling Stone cover in 2013 by getting "Rolling $tone" etched on the bottom of her feet, marking her 10th piece of body art at the time.
The meaning behind this tattoo is a mystery, but many fans think it symbolizes Cyrus' close tie with her family since her mother, father, and sister all have heart tats on their hands as well.
On Cyrus' left wrist is the word ""Wükong," aka, the nickname she has for her brother Braison.
Apart from the Theodore Roosevelt quote, Cyrus and Hemsworth also have another matching tattoo: a picture of a can of Vegemite.
20. Birth Year
The meaning behind this is simple because it's just Cyrus' birth year. "YEAR OF THE MONKEY 🐵," she captioned an October 2019 IG debuting the tat.
Since it seems Cyrus always finds herself back at the tattoo parlor every few months, fans should keep their eye on the star's IG because she could debut another tattoo at any moment.