Dolly Parton didn’t necessarily know when she married her husband, Carl Dean, in 1966 that the couple would never have children, but she has no regrets about their choice. The 77-year-old, although she undoubtedly would have been an outstanding mother, says there is a reason that she never had children of her own.
“I haven’t missed it like I thought I might,” Parton tells Saga Exceptional. “When you’re a young couple, you think you’re going to have kids, but it just wasn’t one of those burning things for me. I had my career and my music and I was travelling.
“If I’d had kids, I’d have stayed home with them, I’m sure, and worried myself to death about them,” she added. “With everything that’s going on, I’d hate to be bringing a child into this world right now.”
By her own admission, it would have been an entirely different life, for her and her children, if she had become a parent.
Parton acknowledges that she would have likely stayed home with them instead of building her global career, and worried about them constantly. Instead, Parton became a doting aunt to her numerous nieces and nephews, and started her philanthropic Imagination Library, giving free books to children around the world.
“I always say God didn’t let me have children so that all kids could be mine,” Parton explains.
Parton and Dean will celebrate their 58th wedding anniversary in May, an accomplishment few couples achieve, and one Parton says likely wouldn’t have happened if they had a conventional marriage.
“My husband and I have been together almost 60 years,” Parton shared on Apple Music 1’s What Would Dolly Do? Radio. “We met 59 years ago, and we’ve been married 57. But he knew why I came to Nashville. He was an independent person with his own stuff, and we got along so well. Because we’re not in the same business, we respect and admire and love each other. But he knew better than to tell me that I was going to have to stop for him because I wouldn’t have done it.”
Parton just released her impressive 30-track Rockstar album, which includes covers and originals, along with collaborations with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Peter Frampton, Paul McCartney, Linda Perry, Joan Jett, Stevie Nicks and more. The record, which Parton decided to do when she learned she was being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, was in part because of Dean, and his love of rock and roll.
“I thought, ‘Well, if I’m gonna be in (it), I’m gonna have to do a rock album,’ because my husband of 56 years is a huge rock fan,” Parton previously told Pollstar. “And all through the house, he has music louder than this going on at all times. He’s always said, ‘You should do a rock album.’ And I thought about it a few times, but timing is everything.”
Find Rockstar and all of Parton’s music at DollyParton.com.