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Tuesday, 28 November, 2000, 15:54 GMT
More trouble than you'd ink

Footballer David Beckham's latest tattoo - his pop star wife's name in Hindi - may have been misspelled. It's just one of the dangers of putting needle to skin in the name of love.

Manchester United star David Beckham is making his body a shrine to his family. The 25-year-old already has the name of his son Brooklyn in Gothic script across his back.

Click here for our suggestion to salvage David Beckham's "Vihctoria" tattoo

But with an indelible tribute to his Spice Girl spouse - Victoria Beckham - the footballer may have scored a bit of an own goal.

David Beckham
"Is that Tracey with an H?"
Some experts think the Hindi tattoo mistakenly spells out "Vihctoria", reports The Guardian newspaper.

While a spokeswoman for Beckham has denied the suggestion - "The tattoo has been checked by a Hindu expert" - the affair again raises the question whether it is ever wise to have your partner's name tattooed onto your hide, no matter what the language.

The editor of Skin Deep magazine, who chooses to be known simply as Sally, says many body art parlours have signs reminding clients: "Tattoos last longer than romances."

Tattoo romance

However, the list of celebrities who have braved the needle in the name of love is as long as your arm.

The notorious attrition rate for Hollywood marriages has not stopped the likes of Melanie Griffith ("Antonio" Banderas) or Angelina Jolie ("Billy Bob" Thornton) taking the leap.

Melanie Griffith
The mark of Antonio
Youthful exuberance? Well, both film stars have already experienced failed marriages.

Flamboyant basketball star Dennis Rodman told the Washington Post he was considering doing "something crazy" like getting a "big" tattoo of a former love, the Baywatch actress Carmen Electra.

His comments came after the couple's nine-day marriage had ended. But Rodman has no fear of upsetting other potential brides. "If I get married again, it'll be to her."

Re-writing history

Although some removal techniques exist, many celebrities seem to consider their tattoos to everlasting love as mere palimpsests - to be covered over when things go sour.

Sleepy Hollow star Johnny Depp was arguably being rather optimistic when he asked for a tattoo reading "Winona Forever". When he split with actress girlfriend Winona Ryder, Depp played it safe, having his tat changed to "Wino Forever".

Johnny Depp and paul Whitehouse on the Fast Show
"Come on, sir, say it with me. Wwwin-o-na"
Oasis singer Liam Gallagher and serial rock wife Patsy Kensit followed a similar route with their "his and hers" tattoos when they decided to call their marriage quits.

Gallagher's "Patsy" was hidden by a version of Elvis Presley's "Takin' care of business" lightning bolt logo. Kensit's "Liam" was cunningly transformed into "Lennon" - the name of the estranged couple's son.

Singer Cher is said to have had the names of several boyfriend's tattooed onto her bottom - each one being covered over with a flower emblem when the romance died. She jokes that she now has something of a "rose garden".

Cover up

"The 'cover-up' work that's done today is really amazing. You'd never know there had been another tattoo underneath," says Skin Deep's Sally.

Liam Gallagher
"It only hurts when I lift this arm"
However, she says the stories of celebrity tattoos which make the tabloid press misrepresent the bulk of people who boast so-called body art.

"Tattoos are usually a very positive thing. But Skin Deep asks people to think really carefully, not just get up on Saturday morning and decide to go for a tattoo - that's when you're likely to make mistakes."

Sally says the average age of those getting their first tattoos is on the rise.

Right write

"It's not the stereotype of the impetuous teenager. It's people in their 20s, 30s and 40s; people who really do their homework and find the right artist and the right design to suit them."

However, the best laid plans can go awry - even when you're banking on a love affair more stable than one between two adults.

Tattoo
"It says 'I love Dave', in Sanskrit"
In May, devoted Huddersfield Town fans, Carl Longson and Jez Peel, decided to have the football club's logo emblazoned across their skin - just days before the team announced changes to the badge.

"We love the club. But we should have been asked," complained Mr Peel.

Football can be as fickle as love. Let that be a warning to David Beckham, should he decide to have a go at altering "Vihctoria".

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See also:

28 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Beckham's tattoo misspelt
28 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Beckham's new tattoo
17 May 00 | Talking Point
Will Beckham regret his tattoo?
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