Clips from Oprah Winfrey’s past sit-down interview with legendary country artist Dolly Parton resurfaced last weekend, and Oprah’s rather abrasive and probing interview style came under scrutiny.
The interview, which took place in 2003, just after Dolly released her tribute album ‘Just Because I’m A Woman’, was initially uploaded on TikTok by @dollyrewind earning over 2.5 million views. Then it gained more traction after it was posted on Twitter last August 29.
i feel like oprah wanted her to be embarrassed but ms dolly said “nope” pic.twitter.com/QuYnxx1fNT— keiajah (key-asia) 💛🌻🤎 (@keiajahhh) August 28, 2021
In the video, Oprah asked how Dolly was defying age, to which the singer replied jokingly that she’s a cartoon and she just looked the same all the time. Then Oprah pressed her more about the topic, opening the interview wide with Dolly’s reputation for getting plastic surgery. But Dolly Parton just rolled with it and didn’t shy away, saying that she would have more when she needed them. She even shared that she told the young girls who sang on her tribute album that she was already into plastic surgery while they were all ‘still sleeping on plastic sheets.’
But it was the second clip of the interview that raised a lot of eyebrows, asking if Oprah really needed to ‘drag’ Dolly’s mental health and ask her if she did fall into a huge depression when she hit her 40s. However, Dolly answered the question with so much grace and honesty. She said that at the time, she was dealing with a lot of female problems and just changing around. But she eventually became better, and she thought it was the best thing that ever happened to her because it made her take inventory.
i went searching for the rest. why did oprah drag dollys mental health into it 😐 pic.twitter.com/Z9XzbM8iwt— Liz (@datbitchliz) August 28, 2021
Dolly Parton has been in the business since she was just 10, singing on local radio and tv back in her hometown in East Tennessee. Her talent, combined with her hard work, helped her establish an undeniably successful career for herself. And it’s so successful that Dolly Parton songs like “I Will Always Love You” and “Jolene” (inspired by Dolly Parton’s husband Carl Dean) have become staple songs everywhere, even in this new generation.
But even with all the success and fame, Dolly remained true to herself and to her fans, and she still kept herself on the ground. In an interview with hit-making producer Linda Perry, Dolly said that she is really comfortable with who she is, confessing that she still hurts because she has to keep her sensitive side alive. She also added that she couldn’t harden her heart because then, she wouldn’t be able to write the way she does and relate to the people.
I’m just going to assume that a lot of y’all who are upset are young af. Oprah is not Wendy Williams. Her interviews were meant to allow stars to be vulnerable and show who they really are. She did not ask maliciously… at that this Dolly’s mental health issues were on all 1/2— Bruja Loca – BLM Breonna Taylor (@FerrariJonez) August 29, 2021
While some agreed that there was some hidden agenda behind Oprah’s questions, there were also others who came into Oprah’s defense — pointing out that her interviews were safe spaces meant for artists to be vulnerable and show who they really are—and also adding that back then was a different society and climate altogether.
Many people could argue whether Oprah was being malicious or not, but one thing everyone could agree on is that Dolly Parton definitely handled all the questions with such elegance and grace!