Dolly Parton Once Contemplated Taking Her Life

American music legend Dolly Parton once considered suicide, but her dog saved her life. At the time, the music star went through depressing times, and here is how it all happened.

Country music icon Dolly Parton has a dog who is more than just a pet. It turned out the star had been going through some life experiences she found emotionally challenging, and her dog saved her from sudden death.

Parton is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, actress, author, and businesswoman, but amidst all the success attained, depression once loomed. 

A picture of Dolly Parton and her dog. | Photo: Getty Images


Parton rose to prominence in the late 1950s. She made her album debut with “Hello, I’m Dolly,” which became a big hit in the ’60s. She remained consistent and has released albums on different labels since 2000, including her label Dolly Records.

Some of her achievements include eleven Grammy Awards after fifty nominations, and at the Academy of Country Music, she has won seven awards and 39 nominations. But with all her fortune, Parton went through some complicated life challenges.

Dolly Parton at the premiere of “Joyful Noise” held at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on January 9, 2012. | Photo: Getty Images

The “I Will Always Love You” artist is well known for her flashy looks and fancy dresses, and it could be hard to imagine her with money problems. But, in a 1978 interview with Larry Grobel, Parton revealed that she came from a very poor home.

The country music star grew up with 11 siblings in the Smoky Mountains, and her family was poverty-stricken. According to Parton, even staying clean was impossible. She said,

“We bathed once a week whether we needed it or not, as the saying goes.”

Parton remembered how cold it gets in her home during winters as her family couldn’t afford any form of warmth. But the star doesn’t regret her childhood, and in fact, she talked about how good it felt sharing a bed with her siblings because of the warmth it brought.

Even while Parton’s childhood was packed with difficulties, including injuries that almost claimed some body parts, and poverty, she had a few valuable possessions. During a discussion with YourTango, she talked about a guitar gifted to her by an uncle.

Parton, who had a passion for music at a very young age, remembered being obsessed with the instrument she considered her “treasure.”

The music legend revealed that she had planned on fixing her guitar once she made money, but that never happened as part of it was lost during a fire outbreak.

Although growing up was hard, and Parton didn’t have a lot of privileges, she didn’t let a poor background stand in the way of her success. A news report once revealed that the star wasted no time pursuing her music career when granted the opportunity.

When she finally rose to prominence, her rough younger years in the Appalachian Mountains inspired many of her songs, including one of the hit songs, “Coat of Many Colors,” which tells the story of a mother sewing a coat for her daughter out of donated rags.

However, a tragic childhood wasn’t the end of the “There was Jesus” artist’s trying times. Parton, who is now 75, revealed that she once contemplated suicide during the darkest moment of her life.

Even though Parton never had her own children, she is a godmother to pop star Miley Cyrus and a French bulldog Billy the Kid.

She confirmed it happened in the early 1980s and went through so many things that broke her spirit. She turned to faith for help, asking God for answers. Parton remembered saying she would commit suicide if there were no solution to her many problems.

After deciding to take her life, her dog hopped onto her bed, which was the sign she needed not to go through with the plan.


Parton’s dog Popeye wasn’t just her savior but a “spiritual messenger from God.” The iconic music artist once opened up about her heartbreak following a split from an unnamed lover.

She revealed that she was so shattered one day while sitting in her bedroom that she took the gun reserved for burglars, deep in thought when she got distracted. Parton noted that Popeye knocked at her door with his paws and brought her back to reality.

She didn’t want to dwell on the heart-wrenching experience and shared no further information, but she did talk about her long-time husband, Carl Dean. Dean and Parton have been married since 1966, and their relationship only grew stronger after many years.


Parton met her husband when she was 18, and now at 75 and Dean 79, the couple’s love remains stronger than ever. They tied the knot in Ringgold, Georgia.

After their marriage, Parton continued exploring her love for music, becoming country music’s most iconic star while Dean maintained a low profile. The “Islands in The Stream” singer and Dean have been married for 55 years but never had children.

In 2014, when Billboard asked the country star if she regretted never starting a family with Dean, Parton revealed that she was concerned at first but not anymore.

Although the country music queen revealed that she and Dean just never had kids even though they didn’t mind expanding their family, one of the reasons she never had children was because she has endometriosis, a condition that can lead to infertility.

Even though Parton never had children, she is a godmother to pop star Miley Cyrus and a French bulldog Billy the Kid, a rising Instagram star; Parton has photos of the dog on social media.

More interestingly, aside from having so many talents, the music icon is a humanitarian and feminist. Helen Morales, author of “Pilgrimage to Dollywood,” gave a stern directive about Dolly Parton’s early songs when she got into the industry. 

These songs’ lyrics talk about the world of female pain, slut-shaming, domestic violence, and all the struggles of being female. Morales explored how Parton brought women’s point of view to life through her music. 

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at

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