This article was originally published on Popular Everything and has been republished on For What It’s Earth with permission.
Success is something that’s earned. It’s not something you’re born into, and it’s not something that comes naturally to everyone. And while Dolly Parton is shrouded in success, that’s only because she worked harder than most to be at the top. Her positivity and perseverance are what really pushed her past every hurdle, even when it seemed as though her life was crashing down around her.
Despite her smash-hit singles, albums, and philanthropic adventures, Dolly’s tough journey has forced her to make some serious life changes. She will now only wear long sleeves, her marriage remains a mystery for a very important reason, and she will always stay humble because of what she has gone through in the past. And the reasons behind these decisions can only be understood by learning more about her tumultuous ascent to the top.
Dolly Parton Was Born Into an Incredibly Poor Family, With 11 Other Siblings
Every story starts at the beginning, and for Dolly Rebecca Parton her story started on January 19, 1946, in Sevier County Tennessee. She was born to Robert and Avie Lee Owens, but her early life was far from normal. Dolly was the fourth of 12 children, and her family struggled every single day. In fact, Dolly has noted that her family was “dirt poor” and that they all lived in a one-bedroom cabin in the Smoky Mountains.
The family’s income came solely from Robert Lee, who worked as a tobacco farmer and construction worker. He had left school when he was just a child, and his inability to read or write meant that his job opportunities were slim. And as Avie Lee had 12 children to look after, she stayed at home while her husband tried to earn as much money as he possibly could. But it wasn’t easy, and they were always short on basic necessities.
Dolly Knew From a Young Age That She Wanted to Be a Star, and Wrote Her First Song at 5 Years Old
As one of 12 children, Dolly Parton had to grow up quickly. She found herself taking care of her brothers and sisters, and dreaming of what life could be like in the future. But from a young age, she knew exactly what she wanted to do… she just didn’t know whether she would even get the chance to get there. After all, she wanted to be a star, and she was just a poor girl from rural Appalachia.
For Dolly, singing was her escape. She would often sing barefoot on the front porch of her family’s cabin as her own source of comfort, and her mom would also sing to her whole family. Although they had little money and Avie Lee struggled with her health, she always made sure to entertain her kids with ancient ballads and Smoky Mountain folklore. This inspired Dolly, and she wrote her first song “Little Tiny Tassle Top” when she was just five years old.
The Young Singer Grew up Performing in Front of Her Church Congregation, and Her Uncle Saw Her Potential
Although Dolly’s family had very little to their name, they did have their love for each other and their faith. Dolly was extremely close to her grandfather, who was a pastor at their local Church of God, and the whole family grew up as prominent members of the congregation. And as she got older, Dolly even took her place at the front of the church as a singer, and she loved performing every Sunday.
These performances heightened Dolly’s love for music, and when she was seven years old she decided to make her own guitar out of an old mandolin and two bass guitar strings. When Dolly’s uncle, Bill Owens, saw how seriously she was taking her love of music, he began to take notice of her talent. He wanted to push the youngster even further, and so he bought Dolly her first real guitar a year later.
Dolly Used Her Family’s Financial Troubles and Her Life Experiences to Inspire Her Emotional Songs
Singing in church and performing to her grandfather’s congregation was a form of escape for Dolly. She could see that her family was struggling – both financially and physically – and she felt helpless. And she felt these struggles firsthand. When Dolly was just six years old, she fell over in the street and almost severed her toes on broken glass. Because her parents couldn’t afford to call out a doctor, her mom had to sew her toes back on instead.
All of these experiences both haunted and helped Dolly to hone in her talent. These events as a youngster helped to improve her songwriting abilities, and she put her overwhelming emotions into song form. Her life was far from perfect, but she found solace in putting pen to paper and writing songs. Little did she know that these songs would thrust her into the limelight for decades.
When Dolly’s Uncle Offered to Be Her Manager, Amazing Opportunities Started to Come Her Way
The more Dolly’s uncle Bill heard her singing her original songs, the more impressed he was. He knew that she could be a star, so he offered to be her manager. This risk paid off, as at just 10 years old Dolly Parton scored her first gig. In 1956 she became a regular performer on the popular Knoxville radio show, “The Cas Walker Show.”
This experience not only improved Dolly’s fame around the local area but also improved her confidence and her songwriting ability. And by the time her 14th birthday came around she had already released her single “Puppy Love.” That same year, she performed at the prestigious Grand Ole Opry where she met legendary musician Johnny Cash. When Johnny heard her perform, he told Dolly to follow her dreams and always follow her instinct.
With This Newfound Confidence and Drive, Dolly Moved to Nashville the Day After Graduation
For the next few years, Dolly focused on writing as many songs as possible, performing to audiences across her hometown, and waiting for the day that she could truly pursue her dream. And that time finally came the day after she graduated from Sevier County High School in 1964. That was the day that she decided to move to Nashville and become a star.
It didn’t take Dolly long to catch the attention of music producers, and by her 19th birthday, she had secured her very first recording contract. But there was a problem. The label wanted her to be a pop star – but Dolly wanted to be a country star. Dolly pushed for what she wanted, and while she had to write songs for other people for a few years, she finally released her first country single “Dumb Blonde” in 1966. And it was a smash hit.
It Was Clear for People to See That Dolly’s Working-Girl Clothing Style Was Unlike Any Other
Dolly Parton’s song “Dumb Blonde” got everyone talking, and it was clear from her lyrics that she wasn’t going to apologize for her appearance. After all, her song stated through and through that “blondes have more fun.” This song not only introduced the world to Dolly’s singing talent, but it also introduced the world to her eclectic, working-girl style.
During the early stages of her career, Dolly blew everyone away with her high, quaffed, blonde locks. And she wore checked shirts that showed off her country roots or switched things up with flamboyant shirts covered in color and pattern. At this stage in her life, she wasn’t actively trying to cover up her arms, something she has become much more conscious of over the years.
The Success of Another Artist Allowed Dolly the Chance to Express Her Own Unique Sound
It’s important to note that Dolly didn’t just ask to release a country music song like “Dumb Blonde.” She didn’t just click her fingers, look beautiful, and get the record label to change their minds. It was actually the success of another artist that allowed Dolly the chance to go back to her country roots, mainly because she wrote the song that made him so famous. Yes, she helped Bill Phillips top the charts.
In 1966 Dolly’s composition of the song “Put It Off Until Tomorrow” was recorded by the one and only Bill Phillips, and his already-established fame and fortune helped to push Dolly’s burgeoning popularity. Everyone wanted to know about the woman behind the song that made it to number six on the country music chart, and everyone wanted to hear more from her. So, with pressure from fans mounting, the label relented.
The Year Dolly Released Her First Single Was the Same Year That She Married the Love of Her Life
Releasing her first single was a huge achievement for Dolly, but what most people didn’t realize was that there was more to her life than music. The day after she had moved to Nashville, Dolly met someone in the laundromat. Despite the fact that she was just 18 years old, Dolly knew that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with this person.
The man in the laundromat was 21-year-old, Carl Dean. He was an elusive man who didn’t want much in life, and while Dolly had her dreams of being a star, he was happy to celebrate her from the sidelines and encourage her to achieve everything she wanted and more. Dolly knew that he was the man for her, so she had no qualms about marrying him in 1966. The only problem was that her record label didn’t approve…
Dolly’s Record Label Thought Her Marriage Would Tarnish Her Image, but She Married Carl Anyway
When Dolly told her record label that she was engaged and due to marry Carl – who was an asphalt layer – they weren’t happy. Dolly was young and beautiful, and they thought that marrying her off would tarnish her image and affect her popularity. But the singer didn’t listen to them, and instead went with Carl and her mother across the state line to Ringgold, Georgia.
Although the couple had intended to get married in a courthouse, Dolly knew that she wouldn’t feel properly married if she didn’t say “I do” in a church. So her mother made her a white dress and a little bouquet for her daughter to hold, and she gave her a Bible. Speaking of her special day, Dolly said ” we found a little Baptist church in town, and went up to Pastor Don Duvall and said, ‘Would you marry us?’ We got pictures on the steps right outside the church.”
Thankfully Her Marriage Didn’t Affect Her Career, and Dolly Released Her Debut Album in 1967
Dolly’s wedding day was one to remember, and she felt almost complete as she made her way back to Nashville with her husband in tow. The only thing missing was the next big step in her music career – and thankfully, she didn’t have to wait too long to take it. After the success of “Put It Off Until Tomorrow” and “Dumb Blonde” her record label Monument Records agreed to an album.
Dolly released her debut album Hello, I’m Dolly in September 1967, and while this album did feature one pop song – as requested by her label – this was the least successful of the lot. In fact, it was Dolly’s country twang and emotional lyrics that proved to be most popular. The whole album peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Top Country Albums, and two singles from the album landed in the top 40. But things were about to get tougher for her…
In 1967 Dolly Was Offered a TV Gig, but Fans of the Show Didn’t Make Her Feel Very Welcome
After the success of Dolly’s debut album, she was given the chance of a lifetime to appear on television alongside the one and only Porter Wagoner. He was one of the biggest country music entertainers of the era, and his show, The Porter Wagoner Show, drew in countless viewers every single week. For her, it was a dream come true.
Dolly was offered a regular spot on the show by Porter himself, after his previous and much-loved host Norma Jean left the show after getting married. Although Dolly knew she had big shoes to fill when she took on this television gig, she had no idea just how hard it would be. In fact, it would almost break her to the point where she wanted to leave the music industry entirely.
Dolly Was Often Booed by Fans of The Porter Wagoner Show, but She Used This to Push Her Forward
Dolly was overwhelmed by the newfound opportunity to appear on The Porter Wagoner Show, and she wanted to make a good impression. But fans of the show had loved Norma so much that they didn’t want to see anyone else take to the stage – especially as she was a relative newcomer to the country music world.
Dolly noted in her 1994 autobiography that the audience was often so unhappy with her appearance that they would boo her and even chant Norma’s name as she walked onto the stage. Dolly tried to keep a smile on her face, but it was hard to see such resistance when she just wanted to make a good impression. In the end, she used this resistance to push her forward, and it made her even more determined to achieve her goals.
Porter Eventually Got the Fans on Dolly’s Side, and Even Helped Her Get Signed to a Brand New Record Label
Porter Wagoner could see that the fans’ reaction to Dolly was soul-crushing for the enigmatic singer. He knew that she just wanted to share her love of music and songwriting with the world, and the fans were doing nothing to help her achieve her dreams. So, he put in a little extra work to get the fans on Dolly’s side, and they eventually warmed to her and realized her true potential.
But that’s not all. Within just a few short months Wagoner had also convinced his record label RCA Victor to sign Dolly as a new artist. While they knew signing a relatively controversial artist would be a risk, they also trusted Porter – and they also trusted the relationship Dolly and Porter had. So, they insisted that the duo record a duet together to start things off. They re-recorded Tom Paxton’s “The Last Thing on My Mind” and it was a smash hit.
Rumors Swirled That Dolly and Parton Were an Item, but Dolly Was Desperate to Go Solo
Although Dolly was over the moon to learn that her duet with Parton Wagoner was a success, the singer quickly learned that with success comes struggle. Because much of her career so far had been associated with one man, many people began to speculate that there was more to Dolly and Parton’s relationship than met the eye. Rumors began to swirl that they were romantically linked, and Dolly didn’t like it.
For a start, Dolly was a happily married woman, and she didn’t want any rumors to ruin her marriage to Carl. Secondly, she knew that she hadn’t worked so hard to ride on the coattails of another artist – let alone a man. Dolly desperately wanted to showcase her talent on her own, but as Porter co-produced her music and owned 50% of her publishing company, she knew it would be hard to get away.
At First, Dolly Was Comfortable When It Came to Showing Her Bare Arms… But Then Her Style Began to Change
As Dolly’s career began to take off, she began to throw herself into the world of show business. She attended red carpet events, she attended high-profile parties, and she schmoozed with some of the best in the business. For these occasions, she had to ditch her checked shirts in favor of red-carpet-ready gowns and dresses. And while she never really opted for completely sleeveless outfits, she didn’t try and hide her arms.
In fact, it was fairly common to see Dolly’s bare arms during this stage of her career. At the time we thought nothing of it, but looking back now it’s amazing to see how her style and her clothing choices have changed over the years. And mainly believe that her decision to wear sleeves and gloves later in life was a result of what happened over the next pivotal moment in her career.
Dolly’s First Shot at Going Solo Was a Relative Success, but Her Biggest Hit Was Just Around the Corner
As Dolly’s name continued to chart during the early 1970s, Porter Wagoner could see that his stake in Dolly’s career could work in financial benefit to him. And as he could see that his own fame was dwindling, he eventually decided to turn his attention towards Dolly’s solo antics. He pushed her to release music on her own, and so she did just that.
In 1970, Dolly released a cover of “Mule Skinner Blues” which instantly shot to number three in the charts. Spurred on by this success, Dolly then released her first number-one single “Joshua” a year later – and many more chart-toppers came after that. From the likes of “Coat of Many Colors” to “Burning the Midnight Oil,” Dolly seemed to finally be in her stride. But her best song of all time came in 1973.
“Jolene” Was Released in 1973, and Remains One of Dolly’s Most Iconic Songs to Date
While many of Dolly’s solo ventures during the early 1970s are loved by fans of the singer, it’s fair to say that her most iconic song of all time was released in 1973. According to reports, Dolly was inspired to write the song after a red-headed bank clerk flirted with her husband just a short while after they got married. Despite this awkward encounter, it spawned a legendary song.
Although Dolly was optimistic about “Jolene” she had never expected the response it got. The song was released in late 1973, and by February 1974 it had topped the country music chart in the United States and even got her noticed across the pond in the UK. This was the first time that Dolly’s name was associated with the music world as a whole and not just the country corner.
In 1974 Dolly Decided to Part Ways With Wagoner, and He Inspired Her Hit Song ”I Will Always Love You”
Before too long, Dolly had realized that she didn’t need Porter Wagoner’s help. And while he was contractually allowed to stay on to help produce her songs until 1975, she ultimately decided to professionally part ways with him in 1974. It was this separation that inspired her to write the hit song “I Will Always Love You,” which quickly became a hot commodity in the music world. In fact, Elvis Presley initially wanted to record it – but Dolly refused.
Although Dolly wrote, recorded, and performed this song herself that year, it rose to even more critical acclaim in 1992 when the one and only Whitney Houston covered the song for the movie The Bodyguard. Dolly had already earned a huge amount of money from this single, but handing over the rights to Whitney meant that she earned even more. And later on, we’ll dive into how Dolly spent the fortune she earned from this song.
Thanks to Her Success in the Country World, Dolly Accidentally Made the Cross-Over Into Pop
After the success of “Jolene,” “I Will Always Love You” and other hit country songs, Dolly Parton’s name was huge in the country music world. Everyone in Nashville knew who she was, and she’d already scored countless number one singles on the Country Music Chart. But little did she know that she would soon become a mainstream international sensation thanks to other artists.
Although Dolly was still a relative newcomer, her songwriting skills preceded her – so much so that pop singers like Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, and Olivia Newton-John wanted to cover her songs. This exposure accidentally thrust Dolly herself into the pop world, and she opted to ride this wave rather than fight against it. In fact, she experimented with pop sounds within songs like “My Girl” and “Light of a Clear Blue Morning.”
This Mainstream Success Landed Dolly Her Very Own Television Variety Show, But It Took a Toll on Her
In 1976, Bill Graham – the president of the production company that brought The Peter Wagoner Show to life – saw how successful Dolly had become. He knew her popularity was only going to increase, so he went to her with an offer. He didn’t want her to stand on the sidelines or stand alongside a host on television again. He wanted her to be the star of her very own show.
Dolly’s very own variety show made its way onto air just a few months later, and Dolly! proved to be hugely successful. Fans loved seeing the singer perform on their screens alongside high-profile guests like Freddy Fender, KC and the Sunshine Band, and Kenny Rogers, and they were eager to see more. But then, out of the blue, Dolly canceled the show. According to reports, she was worried about the damage the show was causing her vocal cords.
Dolly’s Playboy Photoshoot Was One of the Last Few Times We Saw Her Wearing a Sleeveless Outfit
But the reality show wasn’t the only way Dolly tried to maintain her place within the mainstream. In 1978 she wowed fans everywhere when she appeared on the cover of Playboy Magazine. This shoot made her the very first country music star to ever appear on the cover of the magazine, and she blew everyone away when she wore the bunny ears and costume.
Dolly later confirmed that this photoshoot “was just another way I was trying to market myself, at that time, to kinda get in the mainstream.” And looking back at this photo now, it’s hard to imagine that Dolly would once market herself like this. After all, this shoot was one of the last times she openly had her arms out in public. She even recreated this photo in 2021, but with one big difference that we’ll see later on.
In 1980 Dolly Was Given the Chance to Write the Songs for a Movie, and She Even Landed a Leading Role
Although fans were sad to see the end of Dolly!, it wasn’t the end of Dolly Parton herself. The singer and songwriter made the decision to focus solely on producing new music within the pop and country world from 1976 until 1980, but when a new opportunity landed outside her door in 1980 she just couldn’t turn it down. Especially as she had the chance to work alongside Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda.
When Lily Tomlin came up with a concept for the movie 9 to 5, she asked Dolly Parton to write the whole soundtrack – including the hit single of the same name. And while Dolly was happy to write songs for the film, she was even more ecstatic when Tomlin also asked her to take on a leading role. This was Dolly’s first foray into the acting world, and her role as Doralee Rhodes, a busty secretary, thrust her even further into the forefront of popular culture.
As Dolly Kept Her Marriage Quiet, Rumors About Other Men Surrounded Her for Years
The movie 9 to 5 took Dolly’s career to a whole new level, and many suggest that it was this role that made her a superstar. From that moment on she became a living legend, and fans screamed her name, paid big bucks to see her perform, and even had her poster up on their walla. But she wasn’t just popular with regular people. Famous people wanted a piece of her, too.
Dolly would often be seen out with the likes of Elvis Presley, Burt Reynolds, and Sylvester Stallone – and even though she was a married woman, rumors swirled around these alleged “couples” all the time. Especially as Dolly famously said, “I love to flirt, and I’ve never met a man I didn’t like.” But Dolly has maintained that she has never cheated on her husband and that Carl Dean prefers to cheer her on from behind the scenes.
At This Point in Her Life, Dolly Made Sure to Cover Up Her Arms and Avoided Sharing Her Dark Secret
Although many people focused on the rumors around Dolly’s love life, there were others who focused on the rumors about her style. It had changed so dramatically over the years, and it was clear to everyone that she had something to hide. No longer did Dolly wear short-sleeved shirts or dresses. Instead, she always covered up her arms and even began to wear gloves that partially covered her hands.
While this look became Dolly’s trademark, it raised many eyebrows. What was she trying to hide? Did she have something hidden under there? Why wouldn’t she let us see her arms? The truth remained a mystery for decades, but Dolly has since revealed her secret. And it’s not what we thought it would be.
Dolly’s Hard Work and Determination Paid off in 1999 When She Was Inducted Into the Hall of Fame
Over the course of her career, Dolly Parton has composed over 3,000 songs for herself and other people. And while it took her a while to truly get on her feet after trials and tribulations as a youngster and as a new musical act in Nashville, her hard work finally paid off in 1999. It was this year that she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
But Dolly didn’t stop working when she achieved this accolade. She’s also received countless awards, from Grammy Awards to Tony Awards and Emmy Awards, she has a full trophy shelf at home. And it seems as though she won’t be retiring from the celebrity world anytime soon, because Dolly has her fingers in so many pies and her music is just the start…
Dolly Has Expanded Her Range Over the Years, and Become Somewhat of a Businesswoman
Everyone knows that with great fame comes great fortune, and Dolly Parton has been no exception. While she had extremely humble beginnings and rarely had any money as a child, her net worth currently stands at $350 million – a number she once could only dream about. And while a huge amount of this money has come from her music royalties, Dolly has also been smart with her money. In fact, you could say that she’s a businesswoman.
What you might not know about Dolly Parton is that she used to be the co-owner of her very own production company. Throughout the ’80s and ’90s this company, Sandollar Productions, brought the likes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Father of the Bride, and Sabrina into our lives. But this isn’t even her most impressive business venture to date, as she has invested in something so much cooler.
Dolly Has Always Stayed Humble to Her Roots, and Put a Huge Amount of Money Back Into Her Hometown
Dolly’s family were once scrounging around for money and struggling to buy basic necessities, and now that she has money to her name, the singer has tried to give back – especially to her hometown. She has invested a huge amount of her earnings into local businesses around Pigeon Forge and Sevier County, including restaurants, dinner theaters, and she even bought the tiny cabin she grew up in. As if that wasn’t enough, she has her own theme park.
In 1986, Dolly bought an old theme park in the Knoxville-Smoky Mountains metroplex and turned it into Dollywood – an exciting theme park that featured rides, concerts, crafts, and more. Dolly has since expanded this project to include an adjoining waterpark and even opened more locations across the country. But the Tennessee park is the flagship, welcoming around 3 million people every single year and bringing money back to the area she grew up in.
Dolly Is a Keen Philanthropist, and Knows Herself How a Helping Hand Can Change Someone’s Life
Fame can often be a fickle friend, and it can change people in many ways. And while some famous people become greedy with this extra wealth, Dolly Parton has been the opposite. Her humble background and her subsequent success have allowed her to experience both sides of the spectrum, and because of this, she has put a huge amount of time and energy into becoming a philanthropist.
Dolly knows for herself that a helping hand really can change people’s lives, and so she has partnered with countless charities over the years. She has worked to raise money for the American Red Cross and HIV/AIDS-related charities, as well as PETA and cancer research. As if that wasn’t enough, she also recently donated a whopping $1 million towards the Covid-19 research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Dolly Even Used the Royalties From ”I Will Always Love You” to Quietly Help Those in Need
What’s so incredible about Dolly Parton is that she is an extremely quiet and humble celebrity. She doesn’t shout about all the people she has helped over the years but instead does it quietly without anyone knowing. That’s why we’ve only just found out, in 2021, that Dolly used her $10 million royalties from Whitney Houston’s cover of “I Will Always Love You” to help out a black neighborhood in need decades ago.
She confirmed the news to Andy Cohen, stating that, “I bought a property down in what was the Black area of town, and it was mostly just Black families and people that lived around there. And it was off the beaten path from 16th Avenue. And I thought, ‘Well, I am going to buy this place, the whole strip mall.’ And thought, ‘This is the perfect place for me to be,’ considering it was Whitney.” By doing this, she kept them in their homes.
Dolly Has Also Set Up an Initiative That Inspires Children to Read More Books, and It’s Been a Huge Success
To truly spread love, money, support, and awareness, Dolly has created the Dollywood Foundation. It’s through this foundation that she has started Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, an initiative that inspires young children to read. As soon as a child is signed up, they will be mailed one free book every month – from the time they are born to the time they enter kindergarten.
Amazingly, this initiative now sends out books across the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and the Republic of Ireland. And Dolly has helped countless children to embrace their education and their imagination early. The singer was even honored by the Library of Congress in 2018 when the foundation sent out its 100 millionth book.
Dolly Has Made It Very Clear Over the Years As to Why She and Her Husband Never Had Kids
It’s no secret that Dolly Parton keeps herself busy, but many people have wondered why she and her husband have never had children. After all, they have been together for over 50 years, and it’s clear to see from her history that she loves children. She even helped to raise her younger brothers and sisters when she first got married, and that’s why her nieces and nephews call them “Uncle Peepaw” and “Aunt Granny.”
Dolly is also like a second mother to her god-daughter, singer Miley Cyrus. So why didn’t she have kids herself? For Dolly and her husband, their reason is a medical one. For decades the country legend suffered from debilitating endometriosis, and the only way to curb her pain was to have a hysterectomy. While the couple could have adopted or gone down an alternative route, they’re happy with their life.
Dolly’s Choice to Wear Long Sleeves and Fingerless Gloves Has Finally Been Revealed
Alongside the questions surrounding her marriage and her family, many people have also questioned Dolly on the fact that she always wears long sleeves and fingerless gloves. Dolly has rarely been seen with her arms out on display, and it seems as though there’s a reason for that. And that reason is that she’s covering her tattoos.
Dolly told Vanity Fair that “I have a tendency to have keloid scar tissue, and I have a tendency where if I have any kind of scars anywhere then they kind of have a purple tinge that I can never get rid of. So [my tattoos] are all pastels, what few that I have, and they’re meant to cover some scars.” It’s not known how Dolly obtained these scars in the first place, but many believe they’re a result of her tough and tormented childhood.
When Dolly Recreated Her Playboy Cover in 2021, There Was One Noticeable Difference as She Covered up Her Arms
Dolly’s choice to cover her scars may surprise you, but it seems as though her mission to cover herself up plays a huge part in her life. So much so that she adds sleeves and gloves to every single outfit she wears – even if she’s recreating one from earlier on in her career. This was the case in 2021 when she recreated her Playboy cover shoot for her husband’s birthday.
While Dolly donned her black corset outfit, her bunny ears, and her bow tie to replicate the outfit she wore over 40 years ago, there was a noticeable difference. For this look, Dolly also added a pair of almost-shoulder-length black gloves – which weren’t included in the original outfit. This just goes to show that the singer cares deeply about keeping her scars covered.
Dolly Has Maintained That Her Tattoos Will Remain Covered and That They’re for Her Husband’s Eyes Only
While we know that Dolly has tattoos that cover the scars she’s so conscious about, we don’t know where specifically they are or what they are. Many fans have speculated that she has snakes tattooed on her body, but she has never confirmed or denied the many rumors that have circulated. However, she has suggested that some of these tattoos are in more intimate places on her body.
She’s even gone so far as to say that these tattoos are “mostly for my husband”, which has just made fans even more intrigued. The fact that Dolly doesn’t want to share these tattoos with her fans makes us all want to know what’s beneath her gloves and sleeves even more. But she has given us little glimpses over the years…
At the 2019 Grammy Awards, Dolly Showed More of Her Arms than She Had in a Long Time
Dolly has kept her arms and wrists away from the public for a few decades now, but fans seemed to think that she became a little more lenient in 2019. While her outfit at the 2019 Grammy Awards was still extravagant and featured her tell-tale sleeves and fingerless gloves, there was a hint of skin underneath the lace.
Many believed that Dolly was finally giving people a glimpse of the skin underneath the covers, but the Los Angeles Times did suggest that she was just wearing nude sleeves underneath the lace. If this was the case, then it proves how self-conscious Dolly really is about the scars and the tattoos that lie on the surface of her body.
The Singer Has Spent Her Life Defending Her Unique Marriage, but Fans Still Question It
While Dolly has gone through her struggles, there’s no doubt about the fact that she has come out the other side. But to many, it seems as though she has done it alone, as her husband has stayed noticeably absent from the limelight. Rumors of affairs have followed them, and it’s even been suggested that they have an open marriage. But Dolly has finally spoken up about her five-decade-long marriage to Carl Dean.
Dolly told Vogue that “My husband is not one who wants to be just thrown out there. He’s very private, and I’ve always respected that for him and about him. And so, we just try to live our lives.” When asked whether this private relationship was the key to her long-lasting marriage she replied “I do think that’s had a lot to do with it. If we had fallen victim to every tabloid story and all that—we just try to find the humor in it.”
In 2009, Dolly Worked Hard to Produce a Musical Version of the Hit Movie 9 to 5
Dolly Parton’s songwriting skills have always reigned supreme, and this was obvious in 2009 when she was approached to make a musical version of the hit movie 9 to 5. Considering her single of the same name proved to be so popular when the movie was released – and it’s still so popular today – many knew that a musical version would be a hit. And it was.
Dolly worked hard behind the scenes to write more songs for the musical, that started off on Broadway and has since made its way across the world. The New York Post wrote about Dolly that, “It shouldn’t surprise anybody she’s taken so well to the stage. She’s always been a storyteller first and foremost. Her countrified pop, enhanced by fiddle and peddle-steel guitar, fits perfectly on Broadway.”
Fans Have Been So Enamored by Dolly’s Story That Her Life Was Made into a TV Movie in 2015
But Dolly hasn’t just stuck her toe into the world of theater. Her life and times have been so inspirational to so many that it’s also played out on the big screen. In 2015, a made-for-TV film called Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors was made about her childhood, her humble beginnings, and her rise to fame and featured the young Alyvia Alyn Lind as the young Dolly.
The movie was a hit with fans of Dolly and movie fans alike, and it proved to be so popular that a sequel was commissioned just a few weeks later. This second movie was released in November 2016, and fans of the franchise couldn’t believe it when Dolly herself made a cameo in the sequel.
As If That Wasn’t Enough, Netflix Added a Documentary All about Dolly Parton’s Life in 2019
Dolly Parton’s rags to riches story has inspired generation after generation, and it seems as though fans everywhere still aren’t bored with her. Because of this, Netflix added a documentary made all about Dolly Parton’s life in 2019, called Here I Am. Of course, this name is based on her high-profile and famous song with the same name.
This biographical documentary was directed by Francis Whately and was an instant hit with fans of the singer-songwriter. They got to hear all about Dolly’s life from the legend herself, as well as her friends, family, fans, and other people who have been able to watch her impressive journey from a small cabin to fame and fortune.
Looking Back over Her Life and Achievements, It’s Clear to See That Dolly’s Appearance Has Changed
While Dolly Parton’s career has changed over the course of her lifetime, it’s fair to say that her appearance has also changed – and not just because she no longer shows her arms in public. Dolly’s face and body have also changed, and she’s confessed that she’s certainly no stranger to cosmetic surgery. In fact, she’s even gone so far as to say that “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap.”
Refreshingly for a Hollywood celebrity, Dolly has been open and honest about the surgeries that she has had done. And the way she sees it, “If I see something saggin’, baggin’ or draggin’, I’m gonna get it nipped, tucked, or sucked.” And while her changing facial features have got everyone talking, it’s her breasts that have garnered the most attention. But a few years ago she made a big decision when it came to these famous assets.
Dolly Has Confessed That She Underwent a Breast Reduction after Suffering from Crippling Back Pain
Although Dolly’s 40DD breasts have become two of her most defining features, Dolly confirmed in 2019 that over a decade earlier she had actually undergone a breast reduction. In fact, when she started suffering from crippling back pain and enormous pressure in both her shoulders and her back, her doctor confirmed that her large assets were to blame. So, she decided to do something about it.
But after this initial breast reduction, Dolly noticed that her breasts – which she has nicknamed “West Virginia and East Virginia” – weren’t quite the same size. So, she decided to go under the knife once again to get West Virginia made slightly smaller to be in keeping with East Virginia. Today it seems as though Dolly is once again happy with the size.
Despite Her Fame and Fortune, Dolly Has Continued to Stay In Close Contact with Her Many Brothers and Sisters
Dolly Parton certainly had both talent and luck on her side when she moved to Nashville with dreams of being a star. And while she made it big time, she hasn’t forgotten her brothers and sisters along the way. Dolly grew up extremely close to her 11 other siblings. She not only helped to raise them, but they all bonded over their shared love of music and singing.
But what you might not realize is that many of Dolly’s brothers and sisters also made their way into the music industry. While they have not been quite as successful as Dolly herself, the singer-songwriter has often invited her siblings onto the stage with her to perform. This has provided them all with platforms to expand their own careers.
Sadly, Dolly Lost Her Dear Brother and Songwriting Partner Floyd Parton in 2018
Although Dolly was close to all of her siblings, she was particularly close to Floyd Parton. As Dolly’s youngest brother Dolly felt protective over Floyd, and so took him under her wing over the years. Thankfully, he was just as talented as she was in terms of performing and songwriting, and so this led to incredible collaborations. The brother-and-sister duo even wrote “Rockin’ Years” and “Nickels and Dimes” together.
But Dolly was heartbroken when Floyd passed away in 2018. He was just 61 years old at the time, although it’s not known how exactly he lost his life. But while Dolly no longer has her brother to turn to, she still has the memories of their childhood and her rise to fame – which would not have been the same without her brother by her side.