Tracie Egan Morrissey
Can you remember the last time you saw Dolly Parton wear a sleeveless dress or strapless gown? It's been decades. That's because the country singer is covered in tattoos, which she's been weirdly secretive about. But we found some photographic evidence!
There've been rumors for years that Dolly was heavily inked, with full sleeves. But she's never showed them off publicly, and has even gone so far as denying they exist.
Back in 2012, while on the red carpet for the premiere of her film Joyful Noise, Dolly bent over a little too far and revealed what looks to be a heart or a flower petal tattoo. A few weeks later she was a guest on Anderson Cooper's daytime talk show, where she denied that she had a cleavage tattoo and implied that the photos had been doctored. (Multiple photos from different angles, taken by different photographers for different agencies prove otherwise.)
However, in a 2013 interview, Jennifer Saunders talked about the time that she and Roseanne ran into Dolly at a restaurant. Dolly asked them if they wanted to see her tattoos, so then she opened her top and showed them her boobs, which Jennifer says were completely covered in "the most beautiful angels and beautiful butterflies and baskets of flowers in pastel-colored tattoos."
Dolly made them promise not to tell anyone, but Jennifer put the anecdote in her autobiography.
Roseanne was the first one to tell the story publicly, though, as a guest on Craig Ferguson's show in 2011.
Do you know who's totally tattooed? I shouldn't even tell this. Dolly Parton is totally tattooed…She showed me. She's got all these awesome tattoos all over body—no black or blue lines, all like, pastel gorgeous bows all over everything.The rumor is that her tattoos are strategically placed to cover up the scars from her different breast augmentation surgeries.
But Dolly herself had inadvertently revealed one of her tattoos on her arm in 1996 on The Tonight Show when Jay Leno peeked down the shoulder cut-out of her top.
Since then, Dolly has been really careful with her wardrobe so as not to reveal her ink. She always wears long-sleeve tops, and even when she has on a sheer blouse, she wears an undergarment—sort of like pantyhose that hook down around her hands (like in the photo up top).
But there are some instances where she isn't so careful and her tattoos are visible in paparazzi photos or at public events, like in 2006 at the 25th anniversary party for 9 to 5.