Despite her enormous popularity and wealth, Dolly Parton—a renowned performer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist—has maintained her modesty. Parton, who was raised in a large family and shared a one-bedroom cottage with eleven siblings, is aware of the hardships associated with poverty.
Robert Lee Parton, her father, was a sharecropper who worked in construction to augment his earnings because he was illiterate. Despite these difficulties, Parton learned how to sing from her mother, singer Avie Lee Owens.
Parton’s grandfather, Jake Robert Owens, wrote the song “Singing His Praise” and was a clergyman. A number of Parton’s siblings developed a passion for music, and a few of them participated in her family band.
Parton usually assisted her parents in taking care of the younger children because she was the fourth oldest of her siblings. The family didn’t have running water or electricity, and they only had one bedroom and one living area in their log cabin, all housed under one little roof. Parton is candid about talking about her lowly beginnings and how they shaped her outlook on life. Even though Parton was poor growing up, she has happy childhood memories.
Parton reminisced about her favorite early experiences, including singing in church and spending time with her brothers, in a 2016 interview with The Guardian. She also recalls how much fun she had laughing with her family.
But living in poverty as a child means facing difficult circumstances. Parton revealed in a March 1978 interview with Playboy magazine that she was enthralled with toilets and bathrooms when she was just eight years old and saw them for the first time in her aunt’s house. For Parton and her family, taking a daily bath was a necessity, and they frequently made their own soap. Sometimes they would load up the truck and head to the river to have a swim.
Parton’s enthusiasm and musical ability would ultimately enable her to become one of the most popular and successful country music artists of all time, despite her family’s humble beginnings. Apart from her musical career, Parton is also a shrewd businesswoman who runs a profitable theme park and production firm. She also gives generously to charity. Millions of dollars are donated by Parton annually to a number of charity organizations, such as the Dollywood Foundation, which gives books to kids from low-income families.
Despite her immense success, Parton has never forgotten her modest roots and continues to be humble. Parton’s life story serves as an inspiration for the value of preserving one’s heritage and the strength of tenacity.