Dolly Parton Opens Up to Oprah Winfrey About Not Having Children

by Kayla Zadel

Dolly Parton has done many things in her life. But there’s one thing the country music legend hasn’t done.

The Dolly Parton is opening up to Oprah Winfrey about never having children of her own. Success is measured in different ways, and Parton is an accomplished singer, as well as a profitable businesswoman.

However, Parton’s accomplishments didn’t come without sacrifices. The 74-year-old shares these intimate thoughts with Oprah in the latest edition of “The Oprah Conversation.”

Parton and her husband of 54 years, Carl Dean, never had children. In an “Oprah Conversation” clip shared with the TODAY show, the country music legend talks about her relationship with Dean.

“Since I had no kids, and my husband was pretty independent, I had freedom,” she says. “So I think a big part of my whole success is the fact that I was free to work.”

She and her husband have been comfortable living their own lives for the past 54-years. This has allowed Parton to tour and perform as she wishes. However, at times she’s had to defend her relationship from those that have said Dean was just made up. Parton says that he just doesn’t want to be in the spotlight.

Dolly Parton Does Have Kids in Her Life

Even though Parton doesn’t have any children of her own, she does surround herself with kids through her Imagination Library. This platform’s allowed her to be involved in the lives of millions of children. Imagination Library has given more than 100 million books to kids from birth until they enroll in kindergarten.

Parton shares with Oprah, that Imagination Library allows her to interact with children.

“And I didn’t have children because I believed that God didn’t mean for me to have kids so everybody’s kids could be mine, so I could do things like Imagination Library because if I hadn’t had the freedom to work, I wouldn’t have done all the things I’ve done,” Parton tells Winfrey. “I wouldn’t be in a position to do all of the things I’m doing now.”

Oprah also asks Parton if these sacrifices have cost her from having a family.

“I’ve made sacrifices, but I think like I said, I believe what I know I’m supposed to do,” Parton tells Oprah. “I’ve made the sacrifice of time … and not having time to spend with family, and you give up family and friends, vacation, and work without end, 24/7, 365, but you got to make the sacrifice.”

Parton’s resume is extensive. It includes 25 No. 1 songs on the Billboard country charts, 10 Grammy Awards, an acting career, owning Dollywood, the theme park, and other businesses in her home state. As a matter of fact, Parton released a new Christmas album.