20 Weird Facts About Dolly Parton

20 Weird Facts About Dolly Parton | I Love Classic Rock Videos

via Vogue / YouTube

Dolly Parton. The name conjures up images of a larger-than-life personality, a powerful voice, and a signature style overflowing with rhinestones and wigs. But beyond the glitz and glam lies a complex and fascinating woman with a story waiting to be told.

For many, Dolly Parton is synonymous with country music hits like “9 to 5” and her iconic appearance in the “Dolly Parton Meme Challenge”. However, her life journey is far richer than these snapshots might suggest. Her biography is a tapestry woven with threads of struggle, determination, and a relentless pursuit of success.

Whether you’re a die-hard fan or simply curious about this country music legend, prepare to be surprised! This collection of fun facts dives deeper into the life of Dolly, revealing the woman behind the larger-than-life persona.

She gives away free books to children

Dolly is dedicated to giving back to her community, and one of her most impactful initiatives is the Imagination Library. This program mails a free, age-appropriate book to every child under the age of five, every single month.

Parton, who personally selects the books, emphasizes the transformative power of literacy. “Even if you’re not able to afford to go to college,” she explained to Forbes, “if you can read, you can find out about any subject that you’re interested in. And if a book is comin’ to the mailbox every month and it’s got your name on it, then you’re gonna find someone to help you read it to you.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Dolly Parton (@dollyparton)

She has a bathtub (sort of) in her bus

Dolly Parton is known for her unique style and personality, and even her tour bus reflects this. While rumors of extravagant amenities like an underground bunker full of dresses have circulated, the truth is slightly more practical.

During a European tour, a reporter from The Guardian received a glimpse into Dolly’s bathing arrangements. Contrary to the rumors of a luxurious bathtub, the reporter was shown a “ceramic hollow in the floor, two feet deep, not much larger than a washing-up bowl” by Dolly’s manager. While not exactly a conventional bathtub, this small basin highlights Dolly’s fondness for comfort and personalized touches, even while traveling.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Joel Green (@joel_makeup)

She eats home-cooked food even when touring

Dolly prioritizes home-cooked meals even when on tour. To ensure this, she dedicates a significant chunk of time before each tour to preparing her favorite dishes.

“I do cook for a week before I go on tour,” Dolly explains. “So I put stuff in the freezer, so we’ll have great country food if we don’t have what I want in all the places we stop.”

She loves Adele

Dolly, despite her immense success and senior status in the music industry, remains a passionate fan of contemporary music. In a surprising revelation, she shared her admiration for the British pop icon Adele.

During an interview with Digital Spy, Dolly expressed her deep affection for Adele, stating, “I love her, love her, love her! I would love to do something with her. Maybe write a song? Maybe do a duet?”

She’s Miley Cyrus’ godmother

Dolly’s relationship with country music legend Billy Ray Cyrus extends beyond friendship. She holds the special title of godmother to his daughter, Miley Cyrus, a renowned pop star who began her career in country music.

Parton’s affection for Miley is evident, as she once affectionately called her “a little Elvis”, highlighting her talent and potential.

She bought her mom a Cadillac

Dolly’s success allowed her to express her gratitude to her family in a big way. One of her first purchases was a Cadillac for her mother, a symbol of her love and appreciation.

“I bought my mama a Cadillac,” Dolly reminisced. “That went back to me when Mama passed on. I wouldn’t take nothing for it. My husband drives it a lot. Because it was Mama’s car, and I still drive it some, I call it the ‘Dolly-Mama’.”

She dyed her lips with an antiseptic dye as a teenager

Growing up, Dolly and her sisters faced their father’s strict rule against wearing lipstick. Undeterred, they found a creative – and slightly dangerous – way to express themselves: she and her sisters would paint their lips with Mercurochrome, an antiseptic dye

She recalled, “I’d paint my lips and see there wasn’t nothing Daddy could do. He couldn’t rub that off… Then I would do that and I would blot it off and Daddy, he’d say, ‘Come here get that lipstick off you!’ I’d say, real calm, ‘It’s my natural color, Daddy.'”

She and her husband decided to never have children

Dolly and her husband, Carl Dean, made a conscious decision not to have children. While acknowledging the potential joys of parenthood, Dolly recognized the challenges it would pose to her career aspirations.

She explained that she couldn’t have spent six decades writing, recording, and performing if we had kids. Although they pondered the possibility of parenthood and even envisioned their future children, they ultimately accepted that path wasn’t meant for them. Looking back, Dolly expresses contentment with their decision, stating, “Now that we’re older? We’re glad.”

She and her husband have been married for almost 60 years

Dolly has been married to her husband for over 50 years, a testament to their enduring love and happiness. While Carl prefers a quiet life away from the spotlight, their unique dynamic has stood the test of time.

Despite her global fame, Dolly chose to keep her stage name after marriage. Her passport reflects both names, “Dolly Parton Dean”. She explains this decision as a practical one due to existing contracts, and remarkably, Carl never pressured her to change her professional moniker.

She immediately pursued her career in Nashville rights after high school

Dolly’s determination to pursue country music stardom knew no bounds.  Instead of a traditional college experience, she set her sights on Nashville, Tennessee, the beating heart of the genre. Her ambition didn’t allow for delays – she didn’t even wait for graduation before embarking on this exciting journey.

Parton vividly recalls her arrival: “I just couldn’t believe the day I got here. I thought, ‘I’m here. I’m really here. I’m really here forever. I’m here to live and to be part of it.'”

She faced death threats due to her support for the LGBTQ+ Community

Dolly is no stranger to backlash due to her unwavering support for the LGBTQ+ community. After contributing the song “Travelin’ Thru” to the soundtrack of the movie Transamerica, which features a transgender character, she faced a barrage of death threats from some fans. This wasn’t an isolated incident, as the Ku Klux Klan also threatened Parton after Dollywood hosted “Gay Day”, an event celebrating LGBTQ+ individuals.

Despite these hateful reactions, Parton remains unfazed. She refuses to let fear or negativity dictate her actions or her commitment to inclusivity. 

Share refused Elvis Presley’s attempt at buying her hit song

Dolly’s iconic song “I Will Always Love You” enjoyed immense success upon its release. Yet, when the legendary Elvis Presley expressed interest in covering it, a difficult decision arose. While the opportunity to have “The King” sing her song was undeniably tempting, it came with a significant stipulation. Elvis’ manager demanded a hefty portion of the song’s royalties – a staggering 50% in perpetuity.

Despite the potential boost in fame and recognition, Parton, demonstrating both business savvy and personal conviction, declined the offer. This choice, though potentially hindering the song’s immediate reach, ultimately proved to be a wise one. Years later, Whitney Houston’s iconic rendition of “I Will Always Love You” propelled the song to even greater heights, securing Parton’s legacy and financial security.

She established a theme park to give jobs to people

Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s theme park located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, might initially appear as a celebration of her life and career. However, its creation held a deeper purpose for the singer.

Driven by a desire to support the community where she grew up, Parton established Dollywood in a low-income area of Tennessee. Her business acumen has ensured the park’s success, making it the largest employer in Sevier County, providing significant job opportunities and economic support to the region.

Her father once paid a doctor with a bag of oatmeal

Dolly’s music often reflects the experiences of her childhood, shaped by the challenges and resilience of growing up in poverty. Raised in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, she was one of twelve children living in a one-room cabin without electricity or running water.

The depth of their poverty is illustrated by the story of Dolly’s birth. According to reports, her father was unable to afford traditional payment and reportedly paid the doctor who delivered her with a bag of oatmeal.

She liked to flirt but remains loving to her husband

Dolly and her husband Carl Dean have built a remarkable relationship spanning nearly 50 years. Despite the demands of her career and rumors fueled by time spent apart, theirs remains a strong and enduring bond.

The country icon has openly acknowledged her playful nature, stating, “I love to flirt, and I’ve never met a man I didn’t like.” However, she emphasizes the unique nature of her relationship with Carl, clarifying, “Carl knows I’ll always come home and I’m not having sex with these people – I’m just flirtin’ and having fun.”

She used to wake up wet from her siblings peeing the bed 

Dolly’s childhood was marked by both hardship and heartwarming resilience. In a 1978 interview with Playboy, she revealed a surprising detail about her upbringing: growing up in a large family meant sharing beds, and unfortunately, this often led to uncomfortable mornings.

“There were so many of us,” Dolly explained, “We slept three and four in the bed. I would wash every night, and as soon as I go to bed, the kids would wet on me and I’d have to get up in the morning and do the same thing. [But] that was the only warm thing we knew in the winter time.”

She donated money to help cure coronavirus 

Dolly’s philanthropic spirit extends far beyond music. In April 2020, recognizing the urgency of the pandemic, she donated a significant sum to fuel research efforts. Her $1 million contribution went to Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, specifically designated for COVID-19 research.

Later that year, when Moderna announced positive results in their COVID-19 vaccine trials, a heartwarming detail emerged. It was revealed that Dolly’s generous donation had directly supported the development of this life-saving vaccine.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Dolly Parton (@dollyparton)

She once failed at being ‘Dolly Parton’

While it seems impossible, Dolly once actually lost a Dolly Parton look-alike contest! Adding to the story’s charm, she blames her over-the-top approach. Dolly explained that she exaggerated her signature features – bigger makeup, bigger hair – hoping to stand out.

However, her flamboyant look backfired. The judges, expecting meticulously crafted tributes, mistook her for “some little short gay guy” and she received minimal applause.

She had some secret tattoos

For years, whispers circulated about Dolly hiding a secret world of tattoos beneath her signature long sleeves. There’s some truth to these rumors, but with a twist!

While she does have several tattoos, they weren’t just for personal expression. Dolly actually got them strategically placed to cover up scars from various cosmetic procedures, a decision fueled by her naturally fair skin.

She was a vampire slayer’s secret backer

Most people wouldn’t associate Dolly with the world of vampires and slayers. However, her production company, Sandollar Entertainment, was secretly behind the iconic series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

While Parton herself remains uncredited, the show’s concept resonated with her partner, Sandy Gallin, and they ended up producing every episode, including the original movie. Interestingly, fans continue to speculate that the main character’s birthday, January 19th, is a subtle nod to the country music legend.