A Guide to Keith Urban's Storytelling Body Art

Wendy Geller
Senior Editor
Our Country

It's time again for another season of "American Idol," featuring Nashville superstar Keith Urban in his sophomore turn on the show. You — as well as the rest of the nation — have no doubt noticed the country heartthrob's numerous tattoos on display as he judges hopeful talent; but, have you ever wondered what the story is behind all his body art?

As it turns out, Urban has been collecting ink for decades, and each one of his tattoos has special meaning to him. The singer calls them "little signposts along the way" of his personal journey. Here's a guide to some of his more remarkable pieces.

Urban's very first tattoo — an eagle on his back — was inked the first evening he ever spent in America. He'd just flown in from his native Australia on the eve of his 24th birthday, and decided to celebrate by geting a tattoo. In a 2011 interview, he said his choice symbolized America, independence, and freedom — all the things he finally felt he had.

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That’s not his only avian ink: Urban also has a phoenix on his left forearm. The singer — whose well-documented battle with substance abuse ended in 2006 — says it’s there to symbolize endurance. The legend of the phoenix involves rebirth and rising from the ashes: "I can relate to that,” Urban told Women's Wear Daily. (Incidentally, he also chose the bird as the name and design logo for the men's fragrance he launched in 2011.)

As one might imagine, several of Urban's tats pay homage to the woman whom he credits with saving his life: his wife of seven years, Nicole Kidman. In 2007, he inked her name on his right bicep as a Christmas surprise — going so far as to have her "unwrap" the gift by removing the bandage covering it following the procedure.

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He also has Kidman's initials ("NMK") on his wrist. This particular art serves two purposes: Honoring his wife, and also covering up an older tattoo he got while engaged to former girlfriend/supermodel Nikki Taylor!

Finally, Urban has two other special ladies in his life — daughters Sunday Rose and Faith Margaret, of course! He has immortalized his elder daughter, Sunday, with a rising sun on his chest. What will he decide to do for his younger girl? There's plenty of time to decide -- little Faith just turned 3 last month.

What do you think of Urban's ink collection? Be sure to let us know!