kiefer-sutherlandKiefer Sutherland freely admits that his tattooed body is testament to momentous events in his life.

The ‘24′ star has several pieces of body art to date and will add to them every time something memorable happens to him.

As he explains it: “Every few years something happens in my life that will make me want to write it down. The tattoos have always represented that to me. No one would have to speak at my funeral they could just read the tattoos and know what happened.”
Kiefer Sutherland has certainly had an eventful life. At one time, you could not pick up a paper and avoid his name mentioned in tandem with some trouble somewhere. He is also credited with having the longest name in showbiz: Kiefer William Frederick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland. Couple that with famous parents who were constantly in the media eye lens, and I think we can forgive him for his lapses… especially as he now credits his stepgrandson Hamish with being the calming influence in his life.

Kiefer Sutherland does not usually discuss his tattoos in interviews, but it is possible to make an attempt at interpreting them. His tattoos are meaningful and somewhat mysterious – always a good combination. It all began when he left home at 16. Scared and insecure, he and his friends had their first tattoos inked. He still feels the urge to mark important moments in his life in the same way. Here are some of his tattoos explained:

1. A black Icelandic Runic sentence meaning “I Trust You to Kill Me” is etched on his inside arm.

2. A barbed wire band was inked on his left bicep but has been modified to look like ivy thistle.

3. Our Lady of Guadeloupe, a Mexican representation of Mary, is tattooed on his inner left forearm.

4. A Celtic band is on his right bicep. This is made up of Scottish heather and a crest. It started out as a Maori tribal band tattoo and is said to now represent the Sutherland clan.

5. His first tattoo, as a teenager, is the Chinese symbol for strength. It is on his right shoulder.

6. Below the Chinese symbol is a sword pointing downwards.

People are constantly trying to interpret the meaning and significance of the tattoos. For example, many will say he is a closet Catholic because of the Madonna tattoo. Others exclaim that it is reminiscent of his days living in a Hispanic neighbourhood in California. His tattoos also seem to evolve and adapt over time. His tribal bands have been modified and reinvented. It seems to me that it does not matter that we don’t know what his tattoos mean to him.

It all nearly never happened, however. When Sutherland was planning his first tattoo in his teens, he eventually decided on an image of Mickey Mouse with a space helmet on his head. Good thing he changed his mind. That may well have been the end of the matter!