Dolly Parton is not only one of the greatest living legends performing country music today, but she’s also one of America’s biggest exports. Dolly brings in millions of dollars in revenue a year on the back of her undying singles and massive world tours. But who is Dolly Parton?
Most people only know the wise-cracking blonde that shows up every couple of years on TV to sing “9 to 5,” or from the Dolly Parton Meme Challenge which started a social trend, but the Dolly Parton biography is full of heartbreak and a never-ending drive to succeed. Whether you’re one of Parton’s biggest fans, or you’re a newcomer to this country/pop crossover mega-star, these Dolly Parton facts will give you more to love.
After six decades in the music business, there’s almost no end to the Dolly Parton trivia, and the singer herself seems to relish dropping hints about her real life into every interview she gives. After you’ve spent any time reading about the singer, it’s obvious Parton knows where she fits into the modern cultural landscape as America’s campy country aunt, and she dishes out enough homespun and sassy wit to fill that role perfectly.
If you only know Parton’s singles, this is the perfect opportunity to learn about Dolly Parton family history, and dispel a few rumors that have plagued her since she first hit Nashville.
She Refused To Sell 'I Will Always Love You' To Elvis
After Dolly had a massive hit with "I Will Always Love You," Elvis reached out and asked if he could cover the song. While that would have been huge for Parton, it came with an insane caveat: whatever songs Elvis covered, he would be eligible to receive 50% of the royalties, in perpetuity.
Being the confident woman she is (and most definitely smelling something rotten), Dolly passed and managed to make a mint off the track a couple of decades later when Whitney Houston took a crack at the tune.
She Received Death Threats For Her Support Of The LGBTQ+ Community
After releasing the song "Travelin' Thru" on the soundtrack for Transamerica, Parton began receiving death threats from angry "fans." This wasn't the first time Parton received threats, either. The KKK also sent the singer threats after her amusement park, Dollywood, participated in an LGBTQ+ event called Gay Day.
Luckily, she hasn't let the hate stop her from living her life, or supporting the LGBTQ+ community.
She Moved To Nashville Immediately After Graduating High School
Parton had her eye set on country music stardom from a young age, so it makes sense that she skipped college and headed straight to Nashville to shop her music around. But she didn't even wait until the diploma was on the wall to leave home.
According to Parton, her first day was like something out of a movie:
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's Been Married For 50 Years
Parton's only been married once, and after 50 years, she's still happy with her decision. Her husband, Carl Dean, is a quiet guy that stays out of the limelight. He didn't even seem to mind that she didn't change her stage name:
You know what, my passport is Dolly Parton Dean. I sign a lot of my contracts Dean. I didn’t change names [publicly] because I already had a record deal. It made no sense. He never asked me to.