Does Dolly Parton Have Any Tattoos?

Dolly Parton isn't afraid to share. In a 2014 interview with Billboard, she was asked the potentially cutting question of whether she regretted never having children. With her trademark bracing honesty, she responded, "When my husband and I were dating, and then when we got married, we just assumed we would have kids ... but it didn't turn out that way." Where Dolly is concerned, no question seems off the table, but there is one thing many fans don't know about her: Does she have tattoos?

It's only natural that all manner of stories and rumors circulate around her. A popular one has been that she has many tattoos – hence her custom of wearing long sleeves. Though she's not the biggest tattoo enthusiast, it turns out that she does have some ink, and for a rather surprising reason.

In a study entitled "Tattoo or taboo? Tattoo stigma and negative attitudes toward tattooed individuals," Kristin A. Broussard and Helen C Harton asked two study groups to look at images of the same people: both with their tattoos visible and with them edited out. The result, according to the Abstract at the National Library of Medicine, was that those with tattoos were rated "stronger and more independent," but were assigned more negative traits, than the very same people with their tattoos invisible. Needless to say, everybody has their own reason for choosing tattoos and for their placement. For Dolly, her tattoos were "to cover scars or things," she stated on "Good Morning America" in 2019.

Tattoos, for Dolly, add a decorative pastel touch

Whenever she gets a scar, she said on "Good Morning America," she's uncomfortable with the dark marks they leave on her arms, and so she chooses brightly colored designs to cover them: "[I decide] I'm going to kind of decorate these with some flowers or little butterflies or whatever." One such design is a beehive, she explained to "Today" in 2020, complete with a little bee at the top. "The mouth of it is that little sinkhole," she said, referring to marks left by surgical tubes after an illness.

Later, in 2021, she elaborated a bit more on the mystery of her ink. She told W Magazine this year that she has only soft, pastel tattoos, and that heavier, more dramatic designs aren't to her taste at all. As for exactly what else and where, though, it seems that'll remain a secret. Dolly said nothing further on that subject than, "I have a few little tattoos here and there."

Two things are certain, though: Dolly does have some tattoos, and cute and fuzzy designs to reflect her bright and optimistic personality (in defiance of the hardships she's faced) seem like the perfect fit.