Dolly Parton, 74, revealed why she and her husband of 54 years, Carl Dean, did not have any children in a new interview with Oprah Winfrey for her Apple TV Plus series The Oprah Conversation. She shared that she did not feel it was in her calling from God to have her own offspring.
“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 The Imagination Library because if I hadn’t had the freedom to work, I wouldn’t have done all the things I’ve done. I wouldn’t be in a position to do all of the things I’m doing now,” she shared as reported by Today.
The Imagination Library is a special project of the singer that gifts free books to children from birth to age 5. Thus far it has donated over 150 million books to those in need. It was inspired by her father Robert, who did not learn to read or write and was ashamed of his illiteracy. Dolly explained that her father was a very smart man and worked to support his 12 children by farming, construction work, and odd jobs. Together, Dolly and Robert worked on the program, which grew out of the singer’s home state of Tennessee and has since expanded to Canada and Australia, reported the official Dolly Parton website.
Dolly elaborated further on how her choice not to grow her own family had affected her career. She shared that since she did not have the responsibility of being a parent and her husband was quite independent, she had the freedom to pursue her dreams. The country music icon revealed that in order for her to have achieved such great professional triumphs, she had to make certain sacrifices, including not spending as much time with family and friends and forgoing things like vacations, reported Today.
She also spoke about the importance of her faith in shaping her outlook on life, the inspirations for some of her hit songs, and a sneak peek into the exciting guests and songs that will be featured on her upcoming holiday recording, A Holly Dolly Christmas, her first holiday album in 30 years. In an Instagram post seen here, Dolly revealed that the new release had already achieved the No. 1 position on two separate Billboard charts dedicated to Holiday and Country Music.
Dolly’s interview will Oprah will air beginning Friday, November 13.