The inking on her lower back - an elaborate etching based around a butterfly and designed by the 'Promise This' singer - took 11 hours to complete at Los Angeles tattoo salon Shamrock Social Club and is said to mark her freedom after splitting from husband Ashley Cole last year.
According to the Daily Mirror newspaper, the star told a friend: "The tattoo is deeply personal. It took weeks to come up with the final design. It has a strong symbolic meaning and signifies a fresh start and my new independence.
"The sitting itself was pretty painful but I was determined to get it done in one hit. I didn't cry once!"
Cheryl, 27, is also believed to have had a tattoo reading 'Mrs C' - which she had shortly after she married Ashley in July 2006 - covered up.
The star - who is believed to be dating US dancing professional Derek Hough - also has other tattoos, including a barbed wire design on her left thigh and a Polynesian tribal symbol on her hand.
Following her success as a judge on the UK version of 'x factor', show supremo Simon Cowell wants to give her a role on the US programme when it launches later this year, even if network Fox block her appointment as a panellist.
A source told The Sun newspaper: "Simon desperately wants Cheryl to be a judge but if that's knocked back by Fox chiefs the next option is to start her as a mentor.
"It would be a way to test how she's received In America. Plus viewers would be able to warm to her first, rather than having her thrust upon them by going straight on the panel."