There’s no doubt that Vin Diesel was struck with grief when his best friend and Fast and the Furious co-star Paul Walker was killed in a car accident in 2013, so when the actor shared a recent photo on Facebook of a tattoo on his back, we weren’t surprised to learn that many people were likening the eyes in the piece to Paul Walker’s. In the black and white photo Diesel posted online, you can see a large tattoo covering the upper part of the actor’s back, featuring a pair of angel’s wings with a set of eyes making up the base of the wings.
It was while Fast and the Furious 7 was still being filmed that Walker, then 40, was killed in a high-speed, single-vehicle collision alongside his friend and driver, Roger Rodas. Walker’s brothers, Caleb and Cody, actually ended up filling in for some Furious scenes after the actor’s tragic death, but no one could replace Walker in Diesel’s mind. He mourned the late actor’s death harder than most, and he even named his daughter “Pauline,” in honor of his friend, whom he referred to as “Brother Pablo.”
Diesel and Walker first met back in 2001, while filming the very first Fast and the Furious, but it was in 2008, during the filming of the fourth installment of the franchise that the tight bond between the two was formed. According to Diesel, they were shooting a fight scene, and “at the end of the day, [Walker] came into my trailer and said ‘What’s eating you? Something’s wrong, I know you too well.’”
As it turns out, Diesel’s girlfriend, Paloma Jimenez, had just informed him that she was about to give birth to their first child, and the actor hadn’t wanted to tell anyone because he was afraid of paparazzi flocking to the hospital. But “[Walker] told me to go into the hospital and be present and said, ‘A lot of tough guys will tell you to wait in the hallway, don’t go in the delivery room. But Vin, go into that delivery room, be present and cut that umbilical cord and it will be the best day of your life.’ And he was right. And when that happened, he went from just basic friend to a brother.”
The two men obviously had an incredibly special friendship, and when Walker died, a little piece of Diesel died with him. “He’s really the best of us,” Diesel said about Walker during an appearance on The Jonathan Ross show in 2015, “he was that selfless and he was such an important figure in my life.” It would make sense then, that Diesel would choose to commemorate his “brother” in a tribute tattoo on his back.
Diesel hasn’t confirmed or denied that the eyes in his back tattoo were inspired by his late friend (nor has he let on whether the tattoo is actually real or part of his makeup for the upcoming XXX film), but if you ask us, the eyes definitely share a haunting resemblance to the late actor’s, and would be a great way for Diesel to remember his late friend.