Rihanna's ex Chris Brown is sporting a new tattoo that suspiciously looks like the battered face of the Barbadian beauty.
Brown was recently photographed with the new ink on the right side of his neck, below his jawline with what looks like a face with features similar to Rihanna's, which led to speculation that it was a rendering of her face after he bashed her before the 2009 Grammys.
But TMZ now reports that his rep insists it is actually a Mexican-themed skull in commemoration of Dia de los Muertos.
"His tattoo is a sugar skull (associated with the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead) and a MAC cosmetics design he saw. It is not Rihanna or an abused woman as erroneously reported," he said.
According to the tattoo artist, Brown brought him the "sugar skull" design from a MAC ad the singer had seen.
Brown and Rihanna sparked rumours that they were rekindling their romance at the MTV Video Music Awards last week after they were seen kissing and hugging.
Rihanna, arrvied back in Los Angeles yesterday after a trip to London where she performed at the closing ceremony of Paralympics. She talked about her complicated feelings for her ex to Oprah Winfrey last month, calling him 'the love of my life'.
The Women's Blog, published on The Guardian website, said the tattoo was "sickening".
Writer Kira Cochrane said if the tattoo was not meant to be Rihanna, then Brown should find a new tattoo artist.
"Because there's no doubt the image calls to mind the biggest scandal of his career, looks absolutely like a pummeled woman, and is in those terms completely sickening," Cochrane wrote.
"What's also depressing is that if this is, in fact, the intention, it would actually mark a natural next step in Brown's career path.
"While he might have been expected to be contrite in the wake of the 2009 attack, he has actually built a strong and burgeoning profile by embracing a bad boy image."
In June 2009 Brown pleaded guilty to a felony and accepted a plea deal of probation, community service and domestic violence counselling.