Dolly Parton gives glimpse of lovely real hair and hidden tattoos covering body

With her 14-inch waist and towering hair, Dolly Parton is as gorgeous now as she was at the start of her 60-year career.

The icon – who turns 75 today – is famed for her elaborate hairstyles and gravity-defying body, as well as her epic songs.

And that’s just the way the singer likes it. Raised in poverty in the Smoky Mountains, Dolly spent her younger years yearning for a hairpiece.

And when the money started rolling in after she signed her first record deal in Nashville, Dolly could have as many of them as she wanted.

In her recent autobiography, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics, she wrote : “I always wore my hair all teased up. Whenever that style started, I was the first to get my hair all poofy. Then as soon as I could buy those hairpieces and wigs, I wanted them.”

Explaining her very practical reason for wearing a wig rather than showing off her own hair, she continued: “For one thing they were so handy.

“Plus my hair would never do exactly what I wanted it to. So the wigs became kind of my trademark.”

Indeed, Dolly’s wigs are as much a part of the show as she is. She has a dedicated stylist who brushes and maintains the creations.

What’s more, in the book Dolly also gave fans a rare look at her natural hair – and it’s gorgeous.

In a black and white picture taken around 1965 after she signed to Monument Records, a young Dolly can be seen singing into the microphone with her blonde, mid-length hair swept back.

And she captioned it: “In case you’re wondering, yes, that’s my real hair.”

Meanwhile, one thing that the pneumatic Dolly isn’t associated with is tattoos.

But for years now, rumours have abounded that she’s secretly covered in body art and wears long sleeves to conceal it.

And Ab Fab star Jennifer Saunders once let slip that she’d seen Dolly’s ‘beautiful’ but mysterious inkings over dinner is Los Angeles.

“It was 9.30 in the evening, which meant that the restaurant was empty, because that’s what happens in LA, everyone goes home, no one stays out drinking late,” Jennifer once recalled.

“And so the restaurant was empty and she just opened her jacket and showed us, can I say, the most beautiful tattoos.”

And Dolly recently confirmed that she does indeed have a secret collection of pretty pastel-coloured tattoos which she uses to hide her scars.

She told CNN: “If I have to get a scar for any reason, I never can kind of 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.'”