Country music star Dolly Parton enjoys a massive fan following and has sold several millions of records worldwide. The country music icon still manages to stay out of the news, and her career has been largely scandal free.
Born and raised in Sevierville, Tennessee, Parton gives God a lot of credit for her success in life. She has always been vocal about her Christian faith, although she is not a gospel artiste.
God is in everything I do and all my work glorifies Him.
Her family has always been inclined to the spiritual. Parton’s grandfather was a pastor, and she says that she found a passion for inspirational music thanks to her relationship with him.
Regular church attendance for Parton is not necessarily a sign of faith, though. She believes that a personal relationship with God is key to maintaining faith.
I try to just depend on that source that’s bigger than us, ... and kind of energize my batteries with God and praying every day. And just kind of feeling like Jesus is right here close to me and he’s my friend, and I just talk to him and deal with it that way.
Her faith helped a lot when she was growing up
Life was not always easy for Parton. Her family once lived in a one-room shack in Locust Ridge, TN. According to Closer Weekly, tragedy struck when she lost her baby brother just four days after he was born. Parton was only nine at the time.
This particular baby was my baby, so there is a lot of heartache that goes on with that. But all things are hard, and that is what makes you who and what you are.
Despite the pain of loss, the "Coat of Many Colors" singer found comfort in God, seeking refuge in an abandoned church near her home. Later on, Parton constructed a crude musical instrument from the strings of an old piano in the church, and her love for music gradually increased.
I would sing hymns to God. One day as I prayed in earnest, I broke through some sort of spirit wall and found God.
In 1984, she was informed that she would be unable to have children following a hysterectomy. But her husband, Carl Dean, never left her side. They will be celebrating their 52nd wedding anniversary on May 30.
Parton even contemplated suicide after she had an emotional affair, but her cute dog Popeye was the God-sent jolt she needed to make her change her mind.
Over the years, her faith has been the rock that holds her strong. And she gives credit to God who she says is "a friend I could talk to on a one-on-one basis."
She walks the walk
Parton is not just talk. With her music, she shows the world how much she loves God. She is also passionate about giving back to society. Her Imagination Library provides free books for children from birth to when they achieve school age.
You should never be ashamed of yourself, your family, your religion, no matter what. That’s your family. That’s who you are. And so I really measure success in how you deal with the money you make, how you give back with the fame you have.
Despite not having any kids of her own, Parton tends to give a lot in charity to children. Her experience growing up with 11 siblings is a constant reminder that children need to be taken care of, no matter their circumstance. In her little way, she always shares love and warmth that goes a long way to making their lives better.