Dolly Parton's name is known the world over. Whether that’s because of her enduring songs, her silver screen charm or her one-of-a-kind image, Dolly’s magic is undeniable.
Her career, which began in the late 1960s and is still going strong today, has seen her evolve into a country music hitmaker, a Hollywood star, a business magnate and a fount of good deeds.
Throughout it all, Dolly has captivated our hearts.
The songbird has gifted us with dozens of genre-defining classics, including chart-toppers like ‘Jolene’ and ‘I Will Always Love You’, from her still-growing discography.
She has blessed us with so many lovable on-screen moments through memorable roles like Doralee Rhodes in 9 to 5 and Mona Stangley in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.
To top it off, her selflessness has made this world a little better and her unequaled style has made it all the more colorful.
While Dolly has continually altered her look, sound and career over the last several decades, she has remained authentically and unapologetically herself. But who exactly is the woman sans rhinestones?
Throughout her time in the spotlight, the star has appeared to be one big open book, but she has often kept the finer details of her life close to the chest. Whether it be aspects of her upbringing, love life or even her body, the line between fact and fiction has sometimes blurred, leaving fans with heaps of questions.
To help bring a little clarity, background and context to the timeless icon, we've compiled answers to some of the most widely asked questions about Dolly Parton.
The country goddess graced this earth as Dolly Rebecca Parton on January 19, 1946, making her 77 years young.
In her seven decades of life, she seems to have done it all, having made a name for herself in the worlds of music, film, business and philanthropy.
Along the way, she has collected an incomparable wit and wisdom that she continues to sprinkle throughout everything she does.
Parton was born in rural Tennessee.
Some sources say she was born in a one-room cabin in Pittman Center, Tennessee, a small town that borders the larger mountain city of Gatlinburg near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Others note the nearby area of Locust Ridge as the place of her birth.
When she was still young, her family moved not far from either location to the town of Sevierville, a place that would inspire the star’s 1973 classic song, ‘My Tennessee Mountain Home’, and concept album of the same name.
Decades after her breakthrough success, Dolly established her theme park, Dollywood, less than a 30-minute drive from the place of her upbringing.
Dolly comes from a big family, having joined the Partons as the fourth of 12 children. She has six brothers and five sisters: Willadeene, David, Coy, Robert Jr., Stella, Cassie, Randy, Larry, Floyd and twins Freida and Rachel.
Growing up in a musical household thanks to their mother, all of the Parton kids shared the same love of song.
Dolly has always kept much of her personal life under lock and key, with her husband of 57 years being one of the more reclusive details.
From what we’ve found, she has been married to the now 81-year-old Carl Thomas Dean since 1966. According to Dolly’s official website, their love story began with the meet-cute of all meet-cutes.
The two met in 1964 when Dolly was 18 years old. The soon-to-be-star had just moved to Nashville for her career and when outside the Wishy Washy Laundromat, apparently on her first day in town, she bumped into the man who would be her husband.
"My first thought was 'I'm gonna marry that girl,'" Dean said of their chance encounter (per Entertainment Tonight). "My second thought was, 'Lord she’s good lookin'.’ And that was the day my life began.”
Dolly reportedly lives just south of Nashville in the affluent suburb of Brentwood, Tennessee.
A haven away from the hustle and bustle of Music City, USA, Brentwood has been home to a number of country hitmakers over the years, such as Sheryl Crow, Keith Urban and Taylor Swift.
Since well before her guest appearances as Aunt Dolly on the Disney Channel show Hannah Montana, Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus have gone way back.
While the icon is not an actual aunt to the ‘Wrecking Ball’ singer, she is her godmother.
Dolly took on the heavenly role because of her longtime friendship with Miley’s country star father, the ‘Achy Breaky’ heartthrob Billy Ray Cyrus.
While the mile-high hair, towering heels and bedazzled disposition make her seem like a sky-scraping figure, the legend is actually much more compact.
It’s almost impossible to conceive that a personality, talent and heart as sizable as Dolly’s could be contained in a 5’0” frame, but sometimes the biggest gifts come in the smallest of packages.
Dolly has never had children in the biological sense, but that doesn’t mean she has been childless.
"God has a plan for everything," she once told the Today Show. "I think it probably was His plan for me not to have kids so everybody's kids could be mine."
Much of her wealth has gone toward helping others, especially bettering the lives of children around the world with charitable organizations like the Imagination Library. The book-gifting program has provided nearly 100 million free books to young readers since she launched it in 1995.
Forbes estimated the icon’s net worth to be around $350 million in a 2021 report.
Not only a skilled singer-songwriter, Dolly is also a shrewd businesswoman and has maintained publishing rights to much of her music since the very beginning.
Her music catalog makes up only a third of her net worth, though, with her theme park venture, Dollywood, being her biggest asset.
Dolly is an iconic figure who has perhaps become best known for her… iconic figure.
For years, rumors have stirred and spectators have speculated about whether some aspects of the singer are natural or augmented. When it comes to “the girls”, she proudly confirms the latter.
Dolly has been rumored to have dropped a cool one million dollars on her voluptuous chest and has even gone as far as insuring her breasts. Whether the hot goss is true or not, the legend is privy to all the tea.
"I always laugh at them," she once told PEOPLE of the rumors, noting the most outrageous and quite frequent 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.'"
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