LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 16: Dave Bautista attends the "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery" European Premiere Closing Night Gala during the 66th BFI London Film Festival at The Royal Festival Hall on October 16, 2022 in London, England.
Photo via Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

How many tattoos does Dave Bautista have?

Former professional wrestler and actor Dave Bautista expresses himself through body art. Here's a look at his numerous tattoos.


Much to the dismay of blue haired grandmas everywhere, tattoos have been around for thousands of years. In 1991, an iceman was discovered near the Italian-Austrian border that was carbon-dated at around 5,200 years old with dot-like tattoos on his spine, knee, and ankle joints. The working hypothesis is that these tattoos were therapeutic.

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Actor and former professional wrestler Dave Bautista also believes in tattoo therapy and has an affinity for ink. This towering macho man has tattoos covering much of his body. Bautista broke down his love of tattoos in a recent GQ interview. “I am a storyteller in every aspect of my life, from my career to what I’ve done in wrestling with films, being a film producer, being an actor, and through my tattoos I tell the story of my life,” he mused. Before we divulge how many tattoos he actually has, let’s take a look at his life from his early years in Washington D.C. to his best known acting role Drax the Destroyer in the Guardians of the Galaxy films.

A brief history

Bautista was born on January 18, 1969 in Washington, D.C. He did not have an ideal childhood, with his family living in poverty and him getting into trouble with the law. He became estranged from his family and got arrested after beating someone unconscious while working as a bouncer in a nightclub. Bautista was sentenced to one year of probation and shortly after turned to bodybuilding to repair his life. This would eventually lead him to a professional wrestling career. 

Bautista studied under Afa Anoa’i at the Wild Samoan Training Center. He made his professional wrestling debut as Khan on October 30, 1999. Career highlights winning the World Heavyweight Championship four times and the WWE Championship twice.

Bautista began acting in 2006 and was hooked. In 2019 he announced his retirement from professional wrestling. “I left a career in professional wrestling to take a chance on myself because I fell in love with acting,” he stated. Bautista has appeared in numerous television shows and movies such as Spectre, Blade Runner 2049, and Dune. Drax and Guardians remain his calling card.

Bautista shares two daughters with ex-wife Glenda to whom he was married to from 1990-1998. He shares a son named Oliver with ex-wife Angie to whom he was married to from 1998-2006.

The number of Bautista’s tattoos is all about perspective

Bautista has a unique answer when asked to count his tattoos. “If people ask me how many tattoos I have, I typically say like three because most of them are just all connected together. [You] can consider it like one big tattoo,” he stated.

How many hours did his back tattoo take?

Bautista’s tattoos evolved during his wrestling career. He could not get his whole back down in one go because of the physical nature of the sport. He had to do it in smaller chunks often when he was injured.

“My back I did in big chunks throughout my wrestling career. But I had to because I was wrestling so much that I couldn’t take the time needed to, to let ’em heal,” he explained.

Because of this he often had to do things over. “I let it set for so long without finishing that, I had to go back and retrace and do my whole back over again,” he stated.  “I’ve gotta have close to 50 hours on my back.” On his back is a large dragon which signifies strength and wisdom.

Bautista’s first tattoo

Not all of Bautista’s tattoos have remained a permanent fixture on his body as he has chosen to cover some up. He got his first tattoo at age 18. “It’s not my proudest moment. It was this heart that looked like it was cement and around it it said heart of stone,” Bautista recalls. It was located on his bottom so his dad would not see and get him in trouble.

Other tattoos that have been covered up include names of ex-girlfriends, ex-wives and a former team logo. He covered them up after the break ups and when his unnamed former teammate made homophobic statements.

Winnie the Pooh

Bautista has a Winnie the Pooh tattoo for all the right reasons. It is to honor his former My Spy co-star Chloe Coleman who he calls “one of my favorite people in the world.” On the press tour for the film, she was asked a true or false question about if Bautista had a Winnie the Pooh tattoo. Chloe proceeded to gush about Bautista, saying, “He’s like the sweetest guy ever. He’s just a big teddy bear and I just love him to death.” She eventually concluded: “Yes, I think it’s true.” When it turned out not to be true, she was disappointed. 

This broke Bautista’s heart. “And I said, I don’t have one, but because I love you so much, I’m going to get one,” Bautista recounted. He made good on his word and added a little Pooh to his tattoo collection. 


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Author
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Shannon Cudd
Shannon is a passionate writer and actor from sunny Southern California with a degree in Theater from Chapman University who believes in the power of storytelling to make this world a better place. Beyond being a freelance writer for WGTC her byline has appeared in the OC Register, KnockLA, LittleThings, Inside Hook, and more. Her love of all things nerdy is fueled by decaf Earl Gray Tea. Follow her on social media @MsShannonCudd or check out her website at www.ShannonCudd.com