June 23, 2009 -- The Belgian 18-year-old who claimed she fell asleep while being tattooed only to wake up to find 56 stars permanently inked on her face has now admitted she lied about the incident.
Kimberley Vlaeminck now says that she "initially adored" the design on her face but when her father reacted badly to her new look, she decided to blame the tattoo artist, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The Belgian said that the Flemish-speaking tattooist did not understand her French and English instructions, reported Reuters.
The 18-year-old said she fell asleep during the procedure in a parlor in the town of Kortrijk, Belgium, about 60 miles west of Brussels, and woke up in pain while her nose was being tattooed.
A spokesman for Kortrijk prosecutors' office said police were investigating after a complaint from the teenager, reported Reuters.
"Amid a frenzy of media attention, she then said she'd sue the tattoo artist, Rouslan Toumaniantz, for the $14,000 she needed for laser surgery to have them removed," reported The Daily Telegraph.
She said after the tattooing last week: "It is terrible for me. I cannot go out on to the street. I look like a freak," reported The Daily Telegraph.
Her sleeping claim garnered international skepticism, even comedian Whoopi Goldberg weighed in, joking that Vlaeminck must have been "high" to sleep through a tattoo session.
Toumaniantz, who himself is covered from head to toe in tattoos and piercings, had consistently denied he had made a mistake and always insisted Vlaminck wanted all 56 stars, reported The Daily Telegraph.
"I maintain that she absolutely agreed that I tattoo those 56 stars on the left side of her face," he told The Daily Telegraph.
Despite this, he still offered to pay for half the cost of a laser procedure to remove the tattoos.
"Kimberley is unhappy, and it is not my wish to have an unsatisfied client," Toumaniantz told The Daily Telegraph.
Vlaeminck said she wanted to keep the tattoos on her forehead but would have the rest removed, reported Reuters. But after Vlaeminck's confession Toumaniantz withdrew the offer, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Toumaniantz told The Daily Telegraph from now on he will get written consent from clients before undertaking any design.