Dolly Parton and her husband Carl Dean met when she was just starting out as a singer. While she is the “fairy godmother” to singer Miley Cyrus, she and her husband do not have their own children, even before she made it big in the world of country music.
Dolly has been very happy with her husband, whom she met fresh off the bus in Nashville, as she was washing her clothes at the local launderette.
Speaking to the New York Times in 1976, she said: “I’d come to Nashville with dirty clothes. I was in such a hurry to get here…
“And after I’d put my clothes in the machine, I started walkin’ down the street … and this guy hollered at me, and I waved.
“Bein’ from the country, I spoke to everybody. And he came over and, well, it was Carl, my husband.”
She met Carl before she was famous, but despite this, she and her husband have not had children even before she made it big, for a variety of reasons.
In fact, the pair kept their relationship pretty quiet, and even married in almost-secret with only a small number of witnesses present due to Dolly’s fame beginning to get in the way of her private life.
The couple secretly wed on May 30, 1966, and travelled to Ringgold, Georgia to have a private ceremony where only the couple, Dolly’s mother, the preacher and his wife were in attendance.
With regards to the couple’s decision not to have children, Dolly told The Guardian in 2014: “If we’d had a girl, she was gonna be called Carla… Anyway, we talked about it, and we dreamed it, but it wasn’t meant to be.
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“You always wonder. My husband and I, when we first got married, we thought about if we had kids, what would they look like?
“Would they be tall — because he’s tall? Or would they be little squats like me?”
In the end, Dolly said she would have felt “guilty” about leaving children to go on tour, saying she wouldn’t have been “a star” if she had a family.
As well as these reasons, in the 1980s, Parton had a partial hysterectomy because of the pain of endometriosis.
In 2008, she opened up about it for the first time, telling The Globe: “It was an awful time for me. Every day I thought, ‘I wish I had the nerve to kill myself’.”
However, working with Sylvester Stallone on the film Rhinestone helped her come out of a deep depression.
She added: “Even though the movie didn’t do that well, that was one of my greatest projects because Stallone was so full of life and so crazy and funny, and he made me laugh a lot, which was really healthy for me. That got me back on track.”
Despite not having children of her own, she has nieces and nephews and is referred to by them as Aunt Granny, while her goddaughter Miley Cyrus refers to Dolly as her “fairy godmother.”
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