In an exclusive interview with People, legendary singer and songwriter Dolly Parton cleared the air on one of the weirdest rumors about her private life. For years, many have speculated that Parton constantly wears long sleeves to cover up a different sort of sleeve. Yet as Parton tells it, she's not completely covered with hidden tattoos, but she's got her fair share of ink.
"I do have some tattoos, that's true," the country music legend says. "But they're tasteful. I'm not a tattoo girl."
Beyond admitting to having tattoos, the "Jolene" singer remained vague about her body art choices.
"I got them to cover scars or things," Parton told Robin Roberts during a 2019 appearance on Good Morning America. "If I have to get a scar for any reason, I never can get rid of that purple look. So I thought, 'Well, I'm going to kind of decorate these with some flowers or little butterflies or whatever."
She did share new details with People about one artistic choice made to cover up keloid scarring from surgery.
"I had a little beehive tattooed over it -- a little yellow-and-brown beehive with a tiny little bee on top of the hive," Parton adds. "The mouth of it is that little sinkhole."
So the answer to the old question is yes, Parton being inked is no myth, even if those little pastel tattoos are only for the eyes of husband Carl Dean (and celeb friends Roseanne Barr and Jennifer Saunders, per a 2011 interview with Craig Ferguson).
Parton's tattoos have been a topic of conversation since at least the '90s and have been brought up in interviews by Jay Leno and Larry King. The topic returned to the forefront in recent months, while Parton was promoting the podcast Dolly Parton's America, the Netflix series Heartstrings and other projects.
As a celebrity that transcends the public image of most country stars, Parton's used to every little thing turning into an absurd rumor.
"Oh yeah! I always laugh at them," she told People about tabloid gossip. "One, it shows up about every three years in the tabloids, where I'm bedridden because my boobs are so heavy that I'm crippled for life on my back. I just laugh. Well, they are heavy, but they haven't crippled me yet."
This story previously ran on Sept. 23, 2020.