In his new GQ cover story, the Oscar-winning writer/actor opened up about his collection of arm tattoos, and how they each represent someone important in his life. Damon said he got his first two tats in 2013, after his wife, Luciana Barroso, brought up the idea.
“She just announced it,” he recalled. “We were in our apartment in Manhattan, and she was, like, ‘We’re getting tattoos.’ I was, ‘Okay.’”
But Damon refused to get tattooed by just any artist who was available at such short notice. Once he decided to go through with the ink, he knew Scott Campbell was the man for the job.
“There is a friend of ours who did all of Heath Ledger’s tattoos,” he said, “and I told him if I ever got a tattoo, he was my first phone call.”
Campbell came over to the couple’s home and inked Barroso’s first name on Damon’s arm. But the actor wasn’t done. That same day, he got a squiggly line tattooed right above it, leading to his shoulder. When questioned about the significance and meaning of the abstract piece, Damon confirmed it was the same tattoo Ledger had.
“That’s something that Heath had on his arm,” Damon said. “Heath was an incredibly restless, creative person. Like, I talked to the person who did his hair on The Patriot and she said he hated sitting still so much ‘that by the time I got the wig on and I set it and everything, and I’d finished, he’d get up and there would be a sculpture of bobby pins that he’d done.’
“He was really sensitive. This stuff just flowed out of him. He was really special. I just wanted to get something that Heath had,” Damon continued. “Scott showed me his laptop and I said, ‘Scott, what’s that one?’ And he goes ‘I have no idea—I think that’s just some shit that Heath squiggled.’ And I went, ‘That’s the one I want.’”
Luciana, who was also good friends with the late actor, got the same tattoo but on her foot.
“So we both have that,” Damon said. “It’s like a little creative little blessing. It’s like an angel that looks over all these names that are on the arm.”
Ledger died in early 2008 at the age of 28. Several years before, he starred in The Brothers Grim alongside Damon.
The tribute tattoo is situated not only beside Barroso’s name, but also the names of their four children: Alexia, Isabella, Gia, and Stella.”
You can read Damon’s full GQ interview here, where he also discusses his upcoming film The Last Duel, as well as his secret Instagram account.