Dolly Parton and her husband, Carl Dean, never had children of their own. It turns out, Dolly’s decision not to have kids has nothing to do with growing up poor in a one-room cabin with 11 siblings.
Dolly once claimed that she regretted not having children and confessed that she and Carl “just assumed” they would have kids. She also admitted they “weren’t doing anything to stop it.” The couple even had baby names picked out.
Dolly has also had a significant influence over her younger siblings. In an interview with Billboard magazine, she revealed that five of her younger siblings lived with her and Carl for many years, but having kids of their own was not meant to be.
Why Dolly Feels She Wasn’t Meant to Have Kids
Eventually, Dolly grew to understand something. She felt that a higher power decided that having kids was not in the cards for her, she explained in an interview with Today. At the time of the interview, Dolly was 71 years old. She said that “God has a plan for everything” and felt that it was probably God’s plan for her not to have kids. Dolly added that she thought it was because “everybody’s kids” could be hers. “They are now,” she added.
Dolly has remained close to all her younger siblings throughout the years. She’s got a great relationship with her nieces and nephews, too. That said, she admitted that enjoying life with her husband without being burdened by extra responsibility was nice. “Now that Carl and I are older, we often say, ‘aren’t you glad we didn’t have kids?” she shared.
She also told Today that she felt like she was going through her “second childhood” in her late 60s and early 70s. She added that it doesn’t mean she’s childish, just that kids are drawn to her. Dolly believes it’s because of her high-pitched voice and even joked that she looks “like Mother Goose or one of those over-exaggerated characters” and that kids relate to that.
The Meaning Behind “I Believe In You”
The country star discussed all of this while promoting her children’s album, “I Believe In You,” on the Today show. Dolly has always strived to help children. For example, Dolly started the Imagination Library to give books to young kids. In 2017, the Imagination Library reached a huge milestone by giving away its 100 millionth book.
Dolly revealed that she titled her children’s album “I Believe In You” because many of the books she gives away through the Imagination Library have similar themes. Dolly’s own favorite book as a child was “The Little Engine That Could,” which is one of the first books that Imagination Library program participants receive. The positive messages in her songs or the books she gives away are things that kids need to hear, she continued.
Fans love Dolly for her candidness, authenticity and her sometimes self-deprecating sense of humor. She might like to tease herself about how she looks and the cosmetic work she’s done, but Dolly revealed to Billboard that she still feels like the same girl who first came to Nashville in 1964. She has always considered herself a “working woman” and never thought of herself as a big star.
She told Billboard that she’s “lived a lot and done a lot” and has been around so long that many of her fans now look at her like another member of their family.