Country music legend Dolly Parton has long enjoyed telling heartwarming stories to the press about her and her family’s upbringing but, according to her sister Stella, not all of her tales are grounded in reality.
Dolly Parton Family’s Background
Dolly grew up in poverty in Tennessee as the fourth of twelve children, and the siblings relied on each other for entertainment, with making music becoming a huge part of their lives.
“Singing was like breathing at home,” Parton’s sister Rachel once told People Magazine.
ITS OFFICIAL! FARRAH MACKENZIE BOOKS SUPPORTING LEAD ROLE "STELLA PARTON" (Dolly's sis) IN NBC'S COAT OF MANY COLORS! pic.twitter.com/KpqpwltxZN
— Andy Mackenzie (@Andy_Mackenzie) July 25, 2015
“There were so many of us that we, each older one, had to take care of the others,” Dolly has said, according to Cheat Sheet. “Mom was just having one baby. There was only 18 months to two years difference in our ages. So as the kids started multiplying mom would say, ‘Well this one’s going to be your baby.’”
While the Parton family was indeed close, not all of Dolly’s stories are completely true according to her sister Stella.
‘Oh She’s Full Of Crap’
“Oh she’s full of crap,” Stella said. “Yeah, anybody that can write that many songs can make up a lot of stuff … she’s got an imagination that won’t quit.”
Stella went on to provide some examples of Dolly tweaking the truth with one of her family stories.
“I have read that we went shopping and I’ve seen it in Good Housekeeping that we shopped in New York and she’s never taken me to New York shopping, ever, so I called her up and I said, ‘What the heck is this? We went shopping, where’s my stuff … I mean that’s all baloney,’” she recounted. “She said, ‘I’ll get it for you later. It sounds good in the press you know.’”
Dolly has also spoken fondly about a holiday trip her family would take every year that they would each take turns planning, but Stella had a very different take on it.
“It was always a fiasco,” she recalled. “Always hated them, only survived two or three of them and then I decided not to go anymore.”
Sister Stella And Dolly Parton Are Still Close
Though Stella has called Dolly out for allegedly telling tall tales to the media, the two sisters are still very close.
In fact, Stella has even helped Dolly Parton with her music catalogue in the past.
“I took three years out of my career to make sure that her publishing catalog, every one of her songs, was cleaned up, and all of her lyric sheets and lead sheets and the publishing and copyrighting and everything was brought up to par, because 100 years from now people may not remember me but they’ll go back into the files and they’ll find a Dolly Parton song and say, ‘This is what this woman did,'” she said. “I felt it was important that someone who knew her as well as I do and who was a musician as well, did that for her.”
In the end, this all just makes Dolly Parton and her family even more relatable! Fans will undoubtedly forgive Dolly for exaggerating the truth at times, just to bring joy to her fans with some heartwarming family stories.
Here’s a Parton throwback for you – Dolly and Stella singing with their other sister Cassie in 1970. Their family harmony is incredible – enjoy!