Dolly Parton’s younger sister – Stella Parton – is not only a spitting image of the country superstar but is also an acclaimed singer in her own right.
Born on May 4, 1949, in Sevierville, Tennessee, Stella Mae Parton is the sixth among twelve children. She started her entertainment career at an early age. In fact, when she was only seven, she appeared along with her sister Dolly Parton on a local television program. And just within two years, she already made her debut on the radio.
At that time, Stella and her sisters Willadeene and Cassie started a group in which they would tour all over eastern Tennessee, singing gospel music and making commercials.
Stella is also a great songwriter! She started writing songs during her high school years. In fact, her first two albums include a number of original compositions, which reflected the early influences she had. When she moved to Nashville, she recorded one of the songs she wrote: “I Want To Hold You In My Dreams Tonight.” And it went on becoming her first hit single, opening many doors for her in country music.
Since then, she has charted nearly thirty singles and has recorded seventeen albums. Not only that, but she also gained several awards and nominations – this includes several ASCAP Awards and ACM and Music City News Award nominations. She was also recognized by the Christian Country Music Association (CCMA).
She’s Indie Even Before It Became A Thing
Stella had to create her own label to release her 1975 single that placed her on Billboard’s charts. This means she did not only record and produce her album by herself but also promoted and distributed it. And this happened when the music scene was still under the control of massive recording studios.
Stella believed that having a hit before she could even get a record deal is the only way for her to make it, so she did what’s necessary.
In 2019, she went back to her indie roots by releasing another self-produced album called Survivor – with most of its songs written by Stella.
She’s Also An Actress
Stella also starred in several television shows in the 1970s – making her debut in one episode of the 1979 action-comedy television series The Dukes of Hazzard.
From the 1980s and early 1990s, Stella appeared in a number of Broadway touring musicals like the Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Pump Boys & Dinettes, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. But she’s not just a performer; Stella also wrote and staged plenty of Dollywood shows in the opening season.
Stella also had a few films under her credits, including Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors – the NBC made-for-television drama film based on Dolly’s song of the same name. It first aired on NBC in December 2015.
She’s Been Married Three Times
Stella was only 17 when she married Marvin Carroll Rauhuff just before graduating high school in 1966. By the age of 19, she was already a mother to her only son: Timothy C. Rauhoff. However, Stella and Rauhuff divorced by the time she turned 21.
In the 1970s, Stella was married to James E. Malloy – a marriage that led to another divorce for Stella. She gave love another chance, marrying Steven A. Messer in 1988, but their relationship was short-lived and their marriage ended in 1991. She has been single since.
She’s Also an Author
In 2011, Stella opened up on her dark past by releasing her memoir ‘Tell It Sister, Tell It: Memories, Music and Miracles,’ where she revealed details of her turbulent past. In addition to growing up in poverty with the other members of Dolly Parton’s siblings, life became even more turbulent for Stella during her adult years.
Becoming a single mother at a young age, Stella had to work – day in and out – to provide for her son. In the memoir, she revealed that one night after working a reception job in Nashville, a local politician attempted to sexually assault her. She fought him off and managed to escape the incident with only a broken nose. However, the ordeal left a permanent scar on her face. Stella said she decided not to report the incident because she was afraid that no one would believe her.
A part of the profits from the book sales was donated to domestic violence shelters all over the Southeastern part of the United States. Stella aims that her book would serve as a ray of hope to all single mothers out there, especially those who are struggling to raise their children and may have also been victims of domestic violence.
She’s A Force In The Kitchen
In addition to her memoir, Stella has three cookbooks under her name. In 2018, she showed the world her kitchen skills being one of the competitors of the BBC series Celebrity MasterChef. Stella said that the kitchen has always been a therapeutic place for her – a place where she can just zone out and make something nutritious and provide for the people she loves.
Clearly, Stella Parton has successfully made a name for herself, earning her a considerable fan base in the country music culture.
Dolly Parton, Stella Parton