You will rarely hear Dolly Parton talk about her over half-of-a-century relationship with her husband, Carl Dean. Still, in one interview, the Queen of Country opened up about why they never had children and how that decision has impacted her life.
Dolly Parton explained that not having kids had given her the chance to achieve her dreams as a country superstar and focus more on her legendary career. “Since I had no kids, and my husband was pretty independent, I had freedom,” Parton said. “So, I think a big part of my whole success is the fact that I was free to work.”
Though at some point, Parton admits she used to regret not having kids.
“You always wonder. My husband and I, when we first got married, we thought about if we had kids, what would they look like?” she said. “Would they be tall—because he’s tall? Or would they be little squats like me? If we’d had a girl, she was gonna be called Carla.”
In the end, Parton said, “it wasn’t meant to be. Now that we’re older? We’re glad.” She knows she would have only felt guilty for leaving her kids every time she’d go on tours. “Everything would have changed. I probably wouldn’t have been a star,” Parton realized.
Despite all of this, Parton believes her fate led her to become a mother to many children instead. The country legend created the Imagination Library in 1995, which provides free books to young 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 said. “I wouldn’t be in a position to do all of the things I’m doing now.”
In 2017, the singer also released her first children’s album called I Believe in You, featuring songs specially made for children, such as “Brave Little Soldier,” “Makin’ Fun Ain’t Funny,” and “Coat of Many Colors.”