At least she didn’t get “Brad” inked on her back.
There is, nonetheless, a certain irony in Angelina Jolie having three “magical” tattoos drawn on her back during a visit to Thailand to “bind her” to husband Brad Pitt, just months before they split up.
New photos, reportedly taken in February 2016, show Angelina’s back being branded with three large Thai “Sak Yant” tattoos while Brad had a tattoo of a Buddhist symbol drawn on the left side of his stomach.
The work was done by former monk and celebrated tattoo artist Ajarn Noo Kanpai. The tats were applied using steel rods mounted with a surgical needle—a traditional process that, according to tattoo geeks, is supposedly more accurate than a regular tattoo gun.
It’s also painful—one initiate has described the sensation of having a Sank Yat tattoo done as “a bee sting, followed quickly by a swarm of bees launching a full-scale attack.”
Kanpai applied a shoulder-blade tattoo to Jolie in 2003. He is the holy man of choice for celebrity tattoo-seekers, and has worked on a number of other famous skins, including model Cara Delevingne and actress Michelle Rodriguez.
Alas the tattoos, which were traditionally applied to warriors to protect them in battle, and are believed to give the wearer magic powers associated with healing, luck, strength, and protection against evil, failed to work their magic on Pitt and Jolie, who split in Setember last year.
The tattoos themselves were applied during a break from filming Jolie’s new Netflix movie, First They Killed My Father, in Cambodia.
The decorations were reportedly intended “to symbolically bind them as husband and wife,” so no wonder Pitt was surprised when his wife filed for divorce a few months later.
Angelina recently made her first public statement about the marital split in an interview to promote the new movie, which details the wartime experiences of Cambodian human-rights activist Loung Ung as a child.
Jolie said of her marital breakdown, “It was very difficult. Many people find themselves in this situation. My whole family have all been through a difficult time. My focus is my children, our children.”
Apparently close to tears, Jolie said: “We are and forever will be a family and so that is how I am coping. I am coping with finding a way through to make sure that this somehow makes us stronger and closer.”
Jolie filed for divorce in September last year in a move that caught Hollywood by surprise, citing the “health of my family” as the reason for the split from Pitt, who she had been with since 2004.
The final straw apparently came after Pitt got in an alleged shoving match with their adopted child Maddox on a private jet, although Pitt was cleared of child-abuse accusations by an official investigation.
The battle has at times been vicious, with both parties making poisonous accusations against each other as they tussle for custody of their kids.
Jolie accused Pitt in one filing of being “terrified that the public will learn the truth,” and of attacking her to “deflect from [his] own role in the media storm which has engulfed the parties’ children.”