Music

Courtney Allan

Dolly Parton’s secret revealed: Why you’ll never see her with short sleeves on

Dolly Parton, country singer, has been in the public eye for more than 50 years. In that time, she has never worn a top with short sleeves.

For many years, avid fans of the singer have been speculating that her arms are covered in tattoos, but there has never been any proof.

However, comedian Rosanne Barr confirmed the rumour in an appearance on Craig Ferguson’s talk show back in 2011.

"Do you know who's totally tattooed?" she said, according to The NZ Herald. "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 the tattoos was also backed up by Absolutely Fabulous star Jennifer Saunders, who said she saw the artwork after bumping into Parton in 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."

Despite Parton asking Saunders not to tell anyone, she wrote about the experience in her autobiography.

Parton has denied the existence of the tattoos in the past but confirmed their existence in 2017 to 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."

If fans think that they’ll be able to see the tattoos more often, they’d be wrong. Parton performed at the Grammy Awards with her goddaughter Miley Cyrus and despite wearing a sheer top, she kept her tattoos hidden with a flesh coloured material.

Scroll through to see Dolly Parton’s long-sleeved looks over the years.