Have you ever noticed that Dolly Parton never wears tops with short sleeves?

The singer has been in the public eye for more than 50 years, and her arms have been covered up the whole time.

For years, fans have speculated what Parton's hiding. The most common theory is that her arms are covered in tattoos.

Comedian Roseanne Barr confirmed the rumour during an appearance on Craig Ferguson's talk show in 2011.


"Do you know who's totally tattooed?" she said. "I shouldn't even tell this. Dolly Parton is totally tattooed.

"She showed me. She's got all these awesome tattoos all over her body — no black or blue lines, all like pastel, gorgeous bows all over everything."

The existence of Parton's ink was also backed up by Absolutely Fabulous star Jennifer Saunders, who claims to have see the artwork when she bumped into the singer at a restaurant.

"She literally just opened her top," Saunders recalled on Channel 7's Sunday Night. "And she wasn't wearing a bra.

"They were the most beautiful angels and beautiful butterflies and baskets of flowers in pastel-coloured tattoos."

Parton asked Saunders to keep the tattoos a secret, but the comedian wrote about the bizarre experience in her autobiography.

Remarkably, there have only been a couple of instances in the past few decades where fans have got a glimpse of Parton's tatts.

In 2006 at the 25th anniversary DVD launch and cast reunion party for 9 to 5, Parton posed with co-stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, and eagle-eyed fans spotted a butterfly tattoo through the singer's blouse.


Fans had to wait another six years to catch a glimpse of another of Parton's tattoos. When she walked the red carpet for her 2012 movie Joyful Noise, the actress bent over a tad too far and exposed a rose tattoo in her cleavage.

The photo caused quite a stir, but when Parton was asked about the rose tattoo during an interview with Anderson Cooper, she bizarrely insisted the pictures were fake.

"Was that not the ugliest picture you've ever seen?" the singer said in 2012. "That looks like something obscene."

Parton then lowered her dress on the talk show, and the rose was nowhere to be seen.

"Do you have tattoos?" Cooper asked.

"I might," Parton said. "But I'm not going to show 'em 'til they catch me at it."

In the past few years, Parton has been more open about the tattoos and is now willing to confirm their existence.

In 2017, she told Vanity Fair: "I don't really like to make a big to-do of [the tattoos] because people make such a big damn deal over every little thing.

"But most of the tattoos, when I first started, I was covering up some scars that I had 'cause I have a tendency to have keloid scar tissue, and I have a tendency where if I have any kind of scars anywhere then they kind of have a purple tinge that I can never get rid of.

"So mine are all pastels, what few that I have, and they're meant to cover some scars. I'm not trying to make some big, bold statement."

Just because the Jolene singer's now willing to confirm the tattoos exist doesn't mean she'll be any less vigilant about covering them up.

Earlier this year, Parton performed at the Grammy Awards with her goddaughter Miley Cyrus, and despite wearing a sheer top, she once again kept her tatts hidden with a flesh-coloured material.