In public Dolly Parton goes no wig no makeup, fan rumor says

Bruno Cooke December 1, 2022
In public Dolly Parton goes no wig no makeup, fan rumor says
Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images

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A rumor circulating on social media claims that country music star and national treasure Dolly Parton wears no wig and no makeup when out in public with her husband, so as to fly under the radar.

Parton has spoken openly in the past about her use of wigs.

She has also spoken about advice her mother once gave her: to always hold something of herself back for her, even when baring her heart and soul on the stage and in her songwriting.

Here’s what we’ve heard about Dolly Parton that might inform how we interpret the rumor about her going out with neither wig nor makeup when out in public with her husband.

Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Would you recognize Dolly Parton if you saw her out in public?

A rumor circulating on social media claims that singer-songwriter Dolly Parton doesn’t wear a wig when she’s out with her husband.

Natural hair and plain clothes, the rumor goes. And when she’s in public without her husband, Parton supposedly just wears a blonde wig, without the trappings of her celebrity persona.

“I can’t stop wondering if she’s the real Hannah Montana,” one fan tweeted on Tuesday (November 29, 2022). “Like is that what the show is based on?”

Parton will turn 77 next year, on January 19. She has been with her husband Carl Thomas Dean since 1966, meaning next year will mark their 56th wedding anniversary.

What has Dolly Parton said in the past about wearing wigs and interacting with the public?

Earlier this year, another Twitter user shared a clip of Dolly Parton in which she talks about the convenience of wearing wigs.

She was answering a question about how long it takes to “do” her hair. Parton responded that she “can’t stand to sit in hair rollers” and “under hair dryers and take all that time, so wearing wigs has been real convenient for me.”

Around the same time as the clip was shared on Twitter, Dolly Parton was interviewed for a special International Women’s Day episode of The Kelleigh Bannen Show on Apple Music, during which she spoke about how she balances her public and private lives. 

“My mama told me when I was young, ‘always keep something back for you. You can give what you’ve got to give but don’t give it all. Always keep something for you.’”

This advice has informed her throughout her life, she said: “Let me share everything I have, but let me keep me.”

Parton’s husband Dean tends to stay out of the spotlight

“It’s just not who he is,” she told Entertainment Tonight in response to questions about their relationship. 

“He’s, like, a quiet, reserved person and he figured if he ever got out there in that, he’d never get a minute’s peace and he’s right about that.”

“I’ve known how to keep my husband private,” Music Mayhem Magazine (MMM) quotes her as saying. “It’s just natural to me to protect the things and the people I love and to protect my own privacy.”

And so what MMM calls her “best kept secret” remains well kept: Dolly Parton and her husband Carl Dean are almost never seen together in public – not by the paparazzi, anyway – which makes speculation about any decisions she might have made about whether or not to wear a wig or makeup in public make sense.

Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Jeff Bezos recently gave her $100 million

With a high profile comes great responsibility.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos recently handed Dolly Parton $100 million “to give to charities of her choice,” The Guardian reports. 

“Conflict travels, conflict is interesting and people do focus on conflict,” Bezos reportedly said during an interview with CNN. “I want to bring a little bit of light, a little bit of amplification to these people who use unity instead of conflict.”

Among Parton’s philanthropic efforts have been the establishment of the Dollywood Foundation, The Imagination Library, and the Dolly Parton Scholarship. 

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Bruno Cooke has been a freelance journalist since 2019, primarily with GRV Media. He was an early contributor to The Focus, and has written for HITC, Groundviews and the Sheffield University newspaper – he earned his MA in Global Journalism there in 2021. He’s the Spoken Word Poetry Editor for The Friday Poem, and self-published his debut novel Reveries in 2019, which his mum called both a “fine read” and “excellent Christmas present”. Bruno has lived in China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines and likes, among other things: bicycle touring, black and white Japanese films, pub quizzes, fermentation and baklava. In 2023, Bruno will set off with his partner on a round-the-world cycle.