The story behind Dolly Parton’s tattoos and why she always wears long sleeves

Good golly Miss Dolly, what a life you’ve had! At 73 years old, the country singer is no spring chicken, but she continues to dominate the music scene like she’s the only one around. After more than 60 albums and 100 singles, she’s earned her place as one of the best-selling artists in history, and she shows no sign of slowing down. Only last year she provided the soundtrack for the coming-of-age movie Dumplin’, with one of her songs getting shortlisted for the 2019 Academy Awards. She’s still got it, not that she ever lost it.

With Dolly Parton as famous now as she’s ever been, she continues to be a source of great interest for the media. However, it’s not catfights or relationship drama that have people talking about her. No, it’s something that’s been hiding for a long time which her fans have been desperate to expose.

The rumors that Dolly is covered with tattoos has been going around for years, and the singer has done little to curb people’s curiosity. If she isn’t sporting loads of ink under her clothes, why does she never wear tops with short sleeves?

The look of Dolly Parton

Her image has always been an essential part of Dolly’s brand. From the big hair to her generous chest, there’s a lot of characteristics that have become synonymous with Parton. However, one thing she isn’t generally known for is tattoos.

Could that be the reason she’s hiding them beneath her sleeves? Or, is there really no ink under her clothes?

Country star

When you think country music, the name Dolly Parton probably comes to mind. She’s been making music in the genre for decades, with many of her songs going on to become incredibly successful. Remember Jolene and 9 to 5? What about I Will Always Love You? The track may have become a global hit after Whitney Houston recorded it for The Bodyguard soundtrack, but it was Dolly’s song first.

All of these iconic tunes have helped her album sales go through the roof, with her total now standing at over 160,000,000 units across the globe. That’s a massive amount for a country singer, especially as the genre isn’t as popular outside of the United States. It’s no wonder Parton is still so loved and respected by both people in the industry and her adoring fans. Her career is something most of us would aspire to.

A spotless record

Since the 1960s, Dolly’s fame has slowly grown to monumental proportions. Of course, as any celebrity knows, all that money and attention comes at a significant cost. The more you appear in the public eye, the likelier it is that the media’s going to talk about you. It doesn’t matter whether or not there’s a story to tell; they want to get your name out as often as possible. Unfortunately for them, Parton isn’t someone that’s known for causing controversy.

Unlike some of her fellow musicians, she doesn’t get embroiled with feuds or act out of control after a few drinks. Over the years, she’s given the media little to talk about, but that hasn’t stopped them making wild speculations. From a supposed rivalry with Whitney Houston to being in love with her best friend, they’ve dished out quite a few rumors, most of which haven’t actually been true.

Love for the ages

Part of the reason that the press hasn’t been able to dish the dirt on Dolly is because she knows how to keep her life private. While she definitely makes the most of her fame and fortune, she doesn’t feel the need to be in the spotlight all the time. You just have to take one look at her marriage to realize that. There are probably a lot of Parton fans in the world who don’t even know she’s a married woman because she rarely ever talks about her husband.

He prefers to fly under the radar so doesn’t tend to spend time with Dolly outside of the house. However, that’s obviously something that works for the singer because they’re still together after 50 years of marriage! It’s a refreshing change seeing a relationship last so long given how many celebrity couples break up these days.

Inked up

With so much of Dolly’s life kept under wraps, it’s hard to know which of the stories you see circulating around are actually true. One that’s been bothering people for a long time is whether or not she’s secretly obsessed with tattoos. To look at Parton, you wouldn’t necessarily think she’s someone who loves her ink. However, appearances can be deceiving, and for all we know she loves covering her body up with art.

It’s quite common for singers these days to get inked up. Even Dolly’s goddaughter, Miley Cyrus, has gotten her fair share of body art over the last few years. However, the rumors aren’t just that Parton has the odd tattoo here or there. It’s believed that her arms are completely covered in them, and she’s been trying to hide the truth from us ever since she had them done.

Out of sight

The reason that speculation has been going on for so long is that Dolly is always seen wearing clothes with long sleeves. She could be in the middle of a heatwave and would still hide her arms from the public’s watchful eye.

We don’t remember the last time she had them fully exposed. It certainly seems suspicious that the singer is so determined to keep that part of her body hidden from view. If there aren’t any tattoos there, what else is she trying to stop us from seeing?

Keeping the intrigue alive

All the talk about her tattoos hasn’t escaped Dolly’s attention. She’s well aware that the world wants to know if they’re real or not, but she’s done nothing to ease people’s minds. Parton could very easily bring the discussion to an end by merely pulling up her sleeves and showing us what’s underneath.

However, perhaps the singer likes all the mystery surrounding her secret tattoos. Maybe she enjoys being the center of attention for something that isn’t riddled with scandal and drama. A little publicity never hurt anybody.

Uncovering the truth

Determined to get to the bottom of what was going on, Savannah Guthrie questioned the singer about the rumors when she featured on Today. She wanted to find out once and for all whether or not Parton was really hiding ink under her sleeves, or if it was all a big misunderstanding.

Guthrie told the singer that people had informed her that the reason her arms were always covered was because she had “snake tattoos all over [them].” Dolly didn’t hesitate to respond, and her answer wasn’t what we expected.

Complete denial

After Guthrie questioned her about the tattoos, Parton quickly shut down the allegations. She told her that the sleeves of snake tattoos definitely didn’t exist, although she didn’t uncover her arms to back up her denial.

You’d think by now that Dolly might have found a way to prove the ink didn’t exist to stop all the questions coming her way. After all, Guthrie certainly wasn’t the first person to ask her, and it’s likely she won’t be the last either. They’ll never stop until we know for sure.

Some truth in the matter

Although Dolly denied having her arms covered in ink, she did admit that she has gotten some tattoos done in the past. If she thought that would dispel all the rumors about her sleeves, then she was sadly mistaken.

The fact that she’s not afraid of having tattoos on her body certainly adds fuel to the rumor fire, and it’ll likely make people even more determined to uncover the truth. Unfortunately for her, that means many more interviews in the future where the question will come up again and again.

Covering her insecurities

Apparently, the ink she does have is there to cover up some of her old scars that have yet to go away. She admitted that because she’s so fair-skinned, the marks and bruises don’t always fade the way she’d like them to.

Much like everybody else, Dolly sometimes feels self-conscious about her body, so the tattoos are her way of boosting her confidence. Even though people can’t see the marks, she knows they’re there and wants a way to feel more comfortable in her body.

For someone special

If Dolly really does have these tattoos on her body, you’d think she might have shown one or two of them off by now. However, Parton revealed during her interview that they’re not in places where she can easily display them.

Obviously, the singer doesn’t want to expose herself on TV, and we understand that. Moreover, she admitted that she didn’t get the tattoos for other people to look at, revealing that “they’re mostly for my husband.” Well, he is the one person that gets to see every part of her.

Not making a statement

When she’s been questioned about her sleeves in the past, Dolly has denied the allegations, stating that the tattoos she has aren’t supposed to be bold statements. Unlike some other musicians, she doesn’t get inked to attract attention or make a point about something.

They’re simply there to cover up the parts of her body she feels conscious about. During the interview, she also assured that she doesn’t resemble a biker chick under her clothes, especially because she doesn’t have the tattoos to pull off that look.

Finally exposed

While Dolly’s insistence that the tattoos on her arms don’t exist might appear to be the end of the story, people still aren’t entirely convinced by her words. However, she may well have put a stop to all the talk about her ink during an appearance at the 2019 Grammy Awards.

Her outfit for the night was a bejeweled, white outfit that was see-through in several places, most notably on her arms. They might have been covered up, but the material made it clear that Dolly had no tattoos there… right?

Nothing’s as it seems

Well, perhaps not. It’s hard to know for sure, but it’s possible that what we saw through her sleeves wasn’t actually the singer’s skin. The Los Angeles Times speculated that Parton was wearing a nude fabric under her outfit, perhaps in a subtle attempt to cover up her arms.

If that’s the case, then Dolly definitely seems determined to keep the world from seeing what she has beneath her sleeves. It’s hard to believe that she’s not hiding a load of tattoos now after all this apparent deception.

Support from the fans

Dolly may or may not be covered in ink, but there are some people who we know are tatted up for sure – her fans. To honor their favorite singer, some of them have gotten pictures of her face inked onto their skin forever.

A lot of those people have gone all-out with their body art, getting big pieces that take up their whole bicep or thigh. Dolly might not want to cover herself in tattoos, but we’re sure she appreciates all the people who have gotten ink in her honor.

The mystery continues

Will we ever find out what’s hiding underneath Dolly’s sleeves? We wouldn’t hold out hope but never say never. There’s every chance she might get frustrated by all the persistent questions and show us once and for all what she’s been keeping secret from us.

Then again, maybe she just wants to keep the mystery going for as long as she releases new music. It’s something for the fans to talk about and ensures she’s always in people’s mind whenever she has a new album on the way.