Dolly Parton Emotionally Wrecked: Country Star Breaks Down, Shares Career-Ending News

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A person with blonde hair and wearing a beige outfit is standing in front of the Dollywood entrance sign. The sign features the word “Dollywood” in gold lettering with a butterfly design and the tagline “Love every moment.” The background includes trees and a cloudy sky.

Credit: Inside the Magic

Dolly Parton is taking a pivot with her career after announcing her retirement.

Dolly Parton, wearing a white fringe dress extends her arms and smiles, surrounded by a group of people in colorful, themed costumes, all performing a lively dance number. The scene appears festive and joyful.
Credit: NBC

Who is Dolly Parton?

Dolly Parton, a name synonymous with country music, rhinestones, and boundless charisma, has carved a remarkable path through the entertainment industry for over six decades. Born in Locust Ridge, Tennessee in 1946, Parton’s musical journey began at a young age.

Surrounded by a family steeped in musical tradition, she learned to play guitar at eight and penned her first song by ten. Parton’s early performances at local radio and television stations showcased a prodigious talent and unwavering determination.

At 18, she set her sights on Nashville, the heart of country music. Early struggles were met with resilience as Parton navigated a male-dominated industry. Her initial success came as a songwriter, crafting hits for artists like Kitty Wells and Porter Wagoner. In 1967, she released her debut album, “Hello, I’m Dolly,” marking the beginning of a prolific solo career.

Two women posing together, one in a purple dress and the other in a Dolly Parton-inspired checkered outfit, standing among large potted plants with joyful expressions.
Credit: NBC

Parton’s music defied easy categorization. While firmly rooted in country, her sound embraced elements of pop, bluegrass, and gospel. This genre-bending approach resonated with audiences, propelling her to superstardom in the 1970s. Hits like “Jolene,” “I Will Always Love You,” and “Coat of Many Colors” became instant classics, showcasing her powerful vocals and storytelling prowess.

Beyond music, Parton established herself as a multi-faceted entertainer. Her flamboyant stage persona, complete with dazzling sequined gowns and a larger-than-life personality, captivated audiences. Her acting career took off with appearances in films like 9 to 5 (1980), a box office success that further cemented her place in pop culture.

Parton’s philanthropic endeavors are equally noteworthy. She has been a vocal advocate for childhood literacy through her Imagination Library, a program that gifts books to children across the globe. Her Dollywood theme park in Tennessee provides jobs and entertainment, revitalizing the local economy.

Throughout her career, Parton has garnered numerous accolades, including Grammy Awards, Emmy nominations, and induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Her influence transcends generations, inspiring countless artists across genres. In recognition of her cultural impact, Parton received the prestigious Library of Congress Gershwin Prize in 2019.

Dolly Parton with blond hair and a bright smile is sitting on a couch, holding a pink phone to her ear. Behind her, there are colorful flowers and green plants in a cozy indoor setting.
Credit: Disney

Dolly Parton’s story is one of unwavering dedication, artistic innovation, and unwavering generosity. From her humble beginnings in the Smoky Mountains to her global recognition, she remains a true icon, an inspiration to aspiring musicians, and a beloved figure in American culture.

Dolly Parton’s Personal Life Takes a Turn

Dolly Parton’s personal life has been a subject of much speculation, often overshadowed by her professional success. In 1966, she married Carl Dean, a quiet and supportive figure who has remained largely out of the spotlight. The couple has a long-standing and unconventional marriage, choosing not to have children but prioritizing their careers and their bond. Parton has spoken openly about her faith and the importance of family, both biological and chosen.

In 2017, Carl Dean was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, prompting Dolly Parton to reduce her public appearances to spend more time at their home in East Tennessee.

Dean has reportedly been battling Alzheimer’s since his diagnosis in 2019. Parton and Dean have always maintained a private life, with Dean typically avoiding the spotlight. However, their 60-year marriage is a testament to their deep bond and commitment.

Dolly Parton
credit: Pipilongstockings, Flickr

An insider claims that Parton is planning to step back from her career to focus on her husband’s care as his condition worsens. “Dolly has long been a fixture on the touring circuit, but as her husband’s health takes precedence, she has chosen to take a step back from the stage to focus on what matters most – family,” the source says. “She wants to make sure they enjoy every last minute they have together.”

While this report remains unofficial until confirmed by Parton or her team, it is entirely plausible that the country music legend would prioritize her husband’s well-being over her career. Parton has little left to prove in her illustrious career and is likely to focus on family during this challenging time.

While Parton has addressed rumors about her sexuality throughout her career, she has never explicitly defined her identity. She chooses to focus on her music and philanthropy, letting her art speak for itself.

Dolly Parton’s Next Move

While Parton recently announced her retirement, she also announced a new show, book, album, and tour. She even launched her own Krispy Kreme donut line.

A variety of colorful doughnuts are displayed in an open Krispy Kreme box. The doughnuts feature different toppings, including sprinkles and crumbles. A "limited time" label is present. To the right is a logo for "Dolly Southern Sweets Doughnut Collection" and an image of a smiling woman with blonde hair.
Credit: Krispy Kreme

Dolly Parton has announced the release of a new album, accompanied by a four-part docuseries exploring her family history. Titled “Dolly Parton & Family: Smoky Mountain DNA – Family, Faith & Fables,” the album is produced by Parton’s cousin and touring band member Richie Owens and is set for release on November 15.

In a statement on her official website, Parton reflected on her journey: “I cannot believe that it has been 60 years this month since I graduated from Sevier County High School and moved to Nashville to pursue my dreams. My Uncle Bill Owens was by my side for many years, helping me develop my music. I owe so much to him and all the family members, past and present, who have inspired me along this journey. I am honored to spotlight our families’ musical legacy that is my Smoky Mountain DNA.”

The full tracklist will be announced on June 21 when pre-orders for vinyl and CD become available.

The album will feature songs performed by various members of Dolly’s immediate and extended family, spanning generations, along with voice recordings of relatives who have passed away. The accompanying docuseries, currently in production, will include interviews with Parton and Owens family members.

Parton’s last album, “Rockstar,” released in 2023, featured collaborations with pop and rock artists, including Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Miley Cyrus, and Kid Rock. More recently, she appeared on Beyoncé’s album “Cowboy Carter,” featuring tracks “Dolly P” and “Tyrant,” and contributed to a new version of her classic “Jolene” with new lyrics by Beyoncé.

On May 23, Parton, 78, announced “Dolly Parton’s Threads: My Songs in Symphony,” a live performance featuring an orchestra playing her hits alongside videos of Parton singing and sharing stories behind the music. Parton will not perform live but co-produced the show with Schirmer Theatrical and Sony Music Publishing, with David Hamilton arranging her songs for orchestra.

Additionally, Parton is releasing a cookbook with her sister Rachel, titled “Good Lookin’ Cookin’.” The book, a cheeky nod to Hank Williams, includes 80 recipes and 12 multicourse holiday menus. “I love good cooking, but not as much as I love my sister Rachel. So, getting to combine the two was a joy beyond belief for me,” the 78-year-old singer said.

Well, what’s cookin’, good lookin’? It’s our new cookbook! I wrote this book with my sister, Rachel, who might just be the best cook I know. If you’re like us, you believe that good food and good times are the next best thing to pure love. So take a journey with us, into the kitchen. #GoodLookinCookin hits bookstores September 17th! Head to the link in my bio to pre-order now🍴

 

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“I do believe you’re going to love all these great recipes, and I think you’re gonna have as much fun reading these stories and things that we put together for you as we did. I can’t wait to get this book in your hands and for you to get this food on your table.”

The book features family recipes for classic American dishes like country ham and biscuits, mac and cheese, barbecue spareribs, and strawberry shortcake.

“You’ll learn how much butter or whipped cream goes into a ‘Dolly Dollop,’ what condiment is almost always on the table at Parton family meals, and what special dish Rachel makes at Dolly’s request every year for her birthday,” Penguin Random House, the cookbook’s publisher said in a statement.

“Good Lookin’ Cookin’ is a treasured cookbook that will make you feel like part of the Parton family. With their trademark warmth and sisterly love, Dolly and Rachel remind you that cooking doesn’t need to be serious — it should be fun! And always good lookin’”

This is not Parton’s first foray into the culinary world; she published “Dolly’s Dixie Fixins’” in 2006, which includes over 150 Southern comfort food recipes.

Dolly Parton Shakes Up Dollywood

We can see though, that Parton is certainly moving her career in a more widespread direction, even with the recent opening of The Dolly Parton Experience at her theme park Dollywood, located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.

The theme park has been listed as the number one park that guests would like to return to to visit per a recent report, beating out Disney with their millions of happy guests.

This multi-faceted museum, housed in a completely transformed former park area, offers an immersive and interactive journey through Parton’s life story. Visitors are welcomed into a world filled with music, dazzling costumes, and personal memorabilia, all interwoven with the importance of family and faith.

A person with long blonde hair and a sparkly blue and white outfit standing in front of the Dollywood sign, channeling their inner Dolly Parton. They are smiling with their arms raised. The background includes colorful flowers and part of a building.
Credit: Inside the Magic

Parton herself led the opening ceremony, joined on stage and in the audience by a vibrant cast of cousins, nieces, and nephews. This spirit of family extends throughout the experience, highlighting the profound influence Parton’s upbringing and close-knit clan have had on her remarkable journey.

The expansive Dolly Parton Experience replaces the former Chasing Rainbows Museum, boasting a threefold increase in size, as per Knox. Guests can delve into three distinct exhibits, each housed in its own dedicated building.

“They started showing all the footage, especially when my mom and dad and my family started talking, I just broke down,” she said at the attraction’s opening May 24. “So, hopefully, you will be moved by it. There’s a lot of great stories and things about the family.”

Songteller chronicles Parton’s rise to superstardom. Beginning with her humble beginnings in the Great Smoky Mountains, visitors embark on a chronological exploration of her career milestones and the stories behind her greatest hits.

Behind the Seams offers a fascinating glimpse into the creative process behind Parton’s iconic style. This exhibit showcases her signature sequined outfits, bold nail designs, and voluminous blonde wigs – all elements that have become as synonymous with Parton as her music itself. Curator Rebecca Seaver assures visitors that a rotating selection of items will be on display throughout the year.

A woman with blonde hair waves from a red carriage adorned with an abundance of colorful flowers. A man in a beige suit and cowboy hat sits beside her. Spectators in the background watch and capture the moment at Dollywood Theme Park. The scene appears festive with vibrant decorations.
Credit: Dolly Parton

Finally, Precious Memories housed within the DreamSong Theater, underscores the unwavering importance of faith, family, and friends in Parton’s life. This intimate space also features a brand new show, “Heidi Parton’s Kin & Friends,” written especially by Parton herself and starring her niece, Heidi.

Luckily, Dollywood is up and running after shutting down earlier this month when a treacherous storm rolled through the theme park. Guests were asked to leave hours early, as the weather caused some safety concerns. Now,  the park is back to its regular operations once more.

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