At 73, the enigmatic country star is captivating a whole new generation and riding high as the subject of a podcast and the inspiration behind a Netflix series.
Maybe you’ve heard the rumor about the tattoos.
Some people believe that Dolly Parton’s arms — which haven’t been seen bare in public for decades — are secretly covered in ink. Roseanne Barr claims to have once spied the elusive tats (“No black or blue lines,” she told Craig Ferguson in 2011, “all like, pastel gorgeous bows all over everything”), while Savannah Guthrie grilled Parton about the whispers in a 2014 “Today” show appearance. “People said the other day, the reason you wear sleeves is because you have snakes tattooed all over you,” she told Ms. Guthrie, “and I was like, ‘No I don’t!’” True believers took this only as evidence that she doesn’t have snake tattoos.
Parton’s popularity has endured, in large part, because even after five decades of stardom she remains an enigma in plain sight. Call it the Parton Paradox: Hers has been one of the most scrutinized female bodies in the history of modern celebrity, and yet no one can tell you for certain what her forearms look like.