Dolly Parton and her 11 brothers lived in a shack, and they couldn’t even take baths often.
Even though he couldn’t read, her father took care of her and the rest of the family.
She has stayed simple and gives away millions of dollars every year.
Dolly Parton has had a great career as a singer, businesswoman, and philanthropist, and she has earned a lot of fame and money. However, she has never lost her modesty. It shouldn’t be a surprise that success has followed her everywhere she goes.
Parton knows what it’s like to be poor because she grew up in a big family. She is now a very important Hollywood star, but despite all of her success, she has never forgotten where she came from.
Dolly Rebecca Parton, who is a famous singer, was born on January 19, 1946, on Locust Ridge in Sevierville, Tennessee. Her real name is Dolly Rebecca Parton. She was born in a house with one bedroom. She was one of 12 children.
Her father, Robert Lee Parton, was a sharecropper who couldn’t read. He also worked in building to make extra money. He had never been to school, so he couldn’t read or write.
As a child, the country legend was always around music because he grew up in a musical home. Even though they had hard lives, singing brought them joy and brought them together.
Avie Lee Owens, Parton’s mother, was a singer and taught her daughter how to sing. She played church songs and Elizabethan tales that had been in her family for generations for her daughter.
Jake Robert Owens was Parton’s grandpa. He was a minister and wrote the hymn “Singing His Praise.” Several of Parton’s siblings got into singing, and some of them worked in her family band.
Parton also had an uncle named Sam Owens, who was also an artist, singer, and songwriter. Her uncle loved music, and when she was a child, he was the first person to notice that she could become a great musician.
Stella Mae, Cassie Nan, Freida Estelle and Rachel Ann, who are twins, Willadeene, David Wilburn, Coy Denver, Bobby Lee, Robert, and Larry are some of Parton’s other brothers. Robert died of cancer in 2021, and Larry died when he was just a baby.
Parton was the fourth oldest of 12 children, so she often helped her folks take care of the younger ones. She and her family all lived under one small roof.
At that time, the log cabin only had one bedroom and one living room, and it didn’t have power or running water. The building is still there to this day.
Parton has never been afraid to talk about where she came from or how it changed how she sees the world. She came from a big family that didn’t have much money, so she knows what it’s like to be poor.
In a 2016 interview with The Guardian, Parton talked about how she grew up in the Tennessee woods. She thought about the happy memories from her childhood. She told me:
“Of course, not everything was perfect, but I prefer to remember the best times.”
She thought back to the days she spent with her brothers and sisters, singing at church, and doing jobs she didn’t really like. She also talked about how much fun she had with her family and how much they made her laugh.
Parton said that her brothers and sisters always sang, and she tried to get them to sing backup for her when she pretended to be the star singer on stage, but they weren’t interested at all.
Parton said that their small house was always full of her brothers, which led to a lot of teasing and fighting. But even though things were crazy, they were always a family.
She also said that she and her brothers spent a lot of time outside because the cabin was too small for them to live in comfortably. The place outside gave people more room to eat together, have fun, and play games.
Parton said that her family was happy to have food and a place to sleep. It wasn’t exactly what they had hoped for, but her parents were quick to point out that other families had it worse. She thought back:
“We were poor, but I never felt like I was poor.”
Parton came from a poor family, but her love of music and ability for it helped her become one of the most popular and successful country music artists of all time.
Having a poor childhood
Parton said that, even though she has happy memories of her youth, living in poverty meant that she had to deal with hard situations. She and her 14 children lived in a shack. They didn’t have easy access to things like places to take a bath.
In a March 1978 conversation with journalist Lawrence Grobel for Playboy magazine, she said that when she first saw a toilet and bathroom at her aunt’s house when she was eight years old, she was fascinated by them.
Parton said that she and her brothers were afraid to use the toilet because they thought it would pull them in. She laughed at how young and naive they were at the time. “It was just really weird,” she said.
Parton and her family did not have the money to take a bath every day. They often made their own soap, and sometimes they would all pile into the truck and drive to the river to wash in its water.
They lived near a creek, but the river was their favourite place to bathe because it was like a “big bath” for everyone. While their homemade soap was floating down the river, they would swim together and wash each other’s hair.
Parton remembers making a joke about how dirty they were, saying that their bath in the Little Pigeon River would have left a ring around it and comparing it to a “bathtub.” Bathing in the river was something they did every summer.
During the winter, the whole family would wash as much as possible with water from a pan. Grobel asked Parton how many times she and her family would bathe in the winter. Parton said:
Well, as the saying goes, we bathed once a week whether we needed to or not.
As Parton got older and went to high school, bathing became more important to her. Because of how dirty her younger brothers were at bedtime, she would take a bath every night. She told me:
“Every night, the kids urinated on me. We all slept in the same bed. Every night, I would wash. And as soon as I go to bed, the kids pee on me, and I have to do the same thing in the morning.”
Parton wasn’t afraid to say what she thought about it. She said that getting peed on might sound dirty to some, but she thought that the urine was what kept them warm in the winter.
She talked about how cold it was at home when she lived in the mountains. She even said that it was almost nice to be peed on because the room was as cold as the outside. She said that everyone would get warm and go to bed.
Giving away a lot of money
Parton has said that her family was happy and rich in other ways, even though they were poor. As she grew up, she learned to be humble, and even after she made a lot of money, she never stopped helping people in need, just like her family did many years ago. She pointed out:
“I’ll always love my family the most. Sometimes it gets lost in the mix, but everything I do has something to do with my family.
She said that her family is what makes her music what it is, and that her theme park, Dollywood, and one of its shows, Dixie Stampede, are meant for families to spend time together and have fun.
Forbes said that Parton’s net worth was $375 million in 2022, which means she made that much money on her own. Her money came mostly from owning the rights to print her music and a theme park.
She owns more than 3,000 songs, including the famous “I Will Always Love You,” which she wouldn’t let Elvis Presley record in the 1970s. When Whitney Houston covered the song in the 1990s, this choice paid off.
Parton has also been paid a fee for the use of her songs in films, on the radio, or in sales. Forbes said that her songs are worth $150 million and that she has made between $6 million and $8 million in fees.
But the music legend’s huge wealth comes from her famous theme park, Dollywood, which is one of Tennessee’s most popular tourist destinations and is said to make $3 million a year.
In 1968, the country singer put money into a Tennessee theme park called Pigeon Forge. She later changed the name to “Dollywood,” which is a play on “Hollywood.” There is a hotel and a water park in the park.
Parton just started a new business called Doggy Parton, which is a play on her well-known name. Her love of animals led her to start her own business, which makes dog clothes and toys.
Parton’s poor background taught her that it’s important to share her success with others. Parton is a musician and businesswoman, but she is also involved in a number of charitable and social issues. She now gives away a lot of money to people who need it.
In 2016, Parton worked with a group of artists to raise $13 million to help the people who were affected by the East Tennessee wildfires in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg get back on their feet.
At the “Smoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit for the My People Fund” concert, other well-known singers like Chris Stapelton, Kenny Rogers, Lauren Alaina, Alison Krauss, Reba McEntire, Cyndi Lauper, and Chris Young also performed.
After her sister was treated there for leukaemia, Parton gave $1 million to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University Medical Centre in Nashville in 2017.
Parton also helped people who were affected by natural disasters by giving them money. She also gave a lot of money to the healthcare industry, which was a big deal.
In 2020, she made news when she gave $1 million to study on vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected people all over the world. The Moderna vaccine was made in part because of what she did.
Parton is also known for her lifelong work to help young children learn to read. Through her non-profit programme, Imagination Library, she sends free books to more than one million children every month.
Parton and her father, Robert Lee, started a group to help kids learn to read and write in 1995. Her father couldn’t read or write because he didn’t have the chance to go to school when he was young.
The main thing that led her to make the programme was her father. The nonprofit began in eastern Tennessee, but it has grown and now helps kids in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Australia, Canada, and the UK were some of the places where she and her dad’s programme to help people learn to read and write reached. In 2018, Parton went to the Library of Congress to celebrate the fact that the programme had given out its 100 millionth book.
Parton ran for office because she wanted to help her father and her hometown. She had no idea that her campaign would be effective. “But then it flew away on its own, so I guess it was meant to be,” she said with a smile.
Before he died in 2000, her father was able to see what they had done. Before he died, Parton said that her father was very proud of being able to make a big difference in something important.
In addition, she has big plans for the Imagination Library. She said she has big goals and wants to give away a billion books, which might be possible in her lifetime.
Even though she had a hard life growing up, Parton never forgot how important family and society are. She used her success to help others, giving away millions of dollars every year to education, health, and disaster aid, among other things.
Her humble beginnings taught her the value of hard work, drive, and how music can bring people together. And when she thinks back on her life, she remembers the joy, happiness, and love that filled her childhood home and how her family was there for her every step of the way.