Just like many others, the singer had her low moments. But it was her friendship with God that kept her going and helped her survive.
52 years. That's how long singer Dolly Parton has been married to her husband Carl Dean, and without a doubt, it's one of the most enviable relationships especially given Hollywood's propensity for short relationships. However, as amazing as their bond is, getting to this point has not been as easy as it may seem.
In the book Dolly on Dolly: Interviews and Encounters with Dolly Parton, published in 2017, the country icon bravely shared that she had had an "affair of the heart" that made her contemplate suicide. And while that in itself surprised her fans, she revealed more about her experience in an interview with Closer Weekly.
“I hurt like everybody else. I’m not always happy,” Parton has admitted previously and she'd had to face numerous heartaches through the years. That included a family tragedy wherein it involved her growing up in poverty, a medical issue in the 1980s, and a marriage crisis with husband Carl Dean, 78. And all those traumas together caused her to briefly consider taking her own life.
"I looked at it [a gun] a long time. Then, just as I picked it up, just to hold it, and look at it for a moment, our little dog, Popeye, came running up the stairs," she said. "The tap-tap of his paws jolted me back to reality, I suddenly froze and I put the gun down." Though startled by the interruption, the Jolene singer was thankful for it and began to pray. “I kinda believe Popeye was a spiritual messenger from God,” she said, adding, “I don’t think I’d have done it, killed myself, but I can’t say for sure. Now that I’ve gone through that terrible moment, I can certainly understand the possibilities, even for someone solid like me, if the pain gets bad enough.”
In a podcast called Dolly Parton's America in 2019, she said of the moment, “I got overweight and I was going through the change of life, I was having a lot female problems, I’d been going through a whole lot of family things, just the stress, the heartache," she said on the podcast, according to Prevention. "There was just several things going on at that time. I was just broken down.”
But it was her faith in God that has helped carry her through some of the toughest moments in life. “A belief in God is essential,” she said. Having grown up in a religious household with her 11 siblings, she would "sing hymns to God,” the 75-year-old star said, revealing her life-altering moment. “One day as I prayed in earnest, I broke through some sort of spirit wall and found God." And she found Him to be “a friend I could talk to on a one-on-one basis.”
Her sister Stella Parton, 71, exclusively told Closer Weekly of their spiritual upbringing, "It shaped Dolly into who she is today, inside and out. Growing up with very little except our family connection and God meant everything. Our faith is the most important thing to all of us. It was the key to our survival.”
Given everything that Parton had already survived, including the medical condition that ensured that she would never have kids, and depression, God was the only one she could truly turn to. "It was a really bad time," she said. "Sometimes God just has to smack you down. He was almost saying, 'Sit your pretty little ass down because we have to deal with some stuff!'" So she began to "argue with God," as she shared on the podcast.
“I just said things like, ‘Look this is ridiculous, I am not happy,’ [and] arguing about why when they say you shouldn’t commit suicide because that’s a sin you can’t get forgiven for,” she recalled. “Everything was just confusing to me and I was just angry and I was hurt, and I was unhappy, and so I just said ‘You’re going to have to get me some answers or I’m getting out of here. And then we’ll both deal with it.’”
But while the I Will Always Love You singer managed to move past the traumatic experience, she revealed to Mirror UK that she had to be "wary" of depression as it runs in her family. “It’s usually brought on by something that’s going on in the family and if there are problems sometimes it’s a lot for one little person to carry. People are always saying to me I’m happy all the time,” she said. “But nobody is happy all the time. I am a tender-hearted person and I feel everything to the ninth degree. Every once in a while I just feel you know... sad-hearted and melancholy." However, this struggle only made her stronger. “After that I was twice the person I ever was. It was good for me. I didn’t drink or get on drugs but I saw where you could. I saw how people could get depressed enough to kill yourself," she said.
Now, she's still enjoying the life she has with her husband and doesn't plan on it changing anytime soon. “There’s still a lot of passion between them,” said a friend of the star, as per Closer Weekly. “Dolly still enjoys cooking for Carl, and he still writes her love poems. Despite all their ups and downs, they both consider their relationship a match made in heaven!”
Source: Getty Images | Photo by Kevin Winter