Dolly Parton is a country music icon known for her talent, philanthropy, and larger-than-life persona. However, behind the glamour, Parton had a complicated family life that included a half-brother with whom she had an uncomfortable relationship. This article delves into Parton’s childhood and explores her relationship with her half-brother.
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Parton’s Large Family
Parton was born in 1946 in Tennessee and was the fourth of twelve children. Her parents, Lee Parton and Avie Lee Owens, were busy with work and raising infants, so the older Parton children had to care for their younger siblings. According to Parton, her parents loved them but did not have enough time to take care of them.
In an interview with the book Smart Blonde: The Life of Dolly Parton by Stephen Miller, she said, “We only got picked up when we were being nursed or to have our butts whipped.” Parton also explained that her mother was primarily occupied with the youngest child, so the older Parton children had to care for their younger siblings.
“There were so many of us that we, each older one, had to take care of the others,” Parton said on Home & Family. “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.'”
Parton’s Father’s Infidelity
Parton’s father, Lee Parton, would often go to town to drink on the weekends, and sometimes he would meet other women. Parton explained that her father had several children outside of his marriage. One of these children was a boy roughly Parton’s age, and the two went to the same school. He reportedly had no idea that he was her half-brother.
According to Parton’s sister Stella, Lee Parton would “blow off his own steam” by going to town and drinking on the weekends. In an interview with Interview Magazine, Parton explained that her father was a good father and a good husband, and he always came home. He was just a little wild, and Parton understands that because she is a combination of both of her parents.
The Awkward Relationship with Her Half-Brother
Parton described her relationship with her half-brother as “awkward and strange.” He reportedly had a thing for her, and she found it uncomfortable. However, she did not feel that it was her place to tell him that they were related.
In the book Smart Blonde, Miller writes that Parton wrote the song “Robert” about a similar situation. In the music, the narrator describes a rich man who is interested in her without knowing they share the same father. While the roles are reversed, with the narrator living with the mother instead of the father, it tells a similar story to Parton’s real life.
What is Dolly Parton known for?
Dolly Parton is a country music icon known for her talent, philanthropy, and larger-than-life persona.
How many siblings did Dolly Parton have?
Dolly Parton was one of twelve children.
Did Dolly Parton have a complicated family life?
Yes, Dolly Parton had a complicated family life that included a half-brother with whom she had an uncomfortable relationship.