As much as Dolly Parton is known for her dozens of smash hit songs spanning a five decade-plus career, the country music legend is equally revered for her whip smart, tell-it-like-it-is attitude.
Parton, 73, did not shy away from being her authentic self in her sit-down interview with “Good Morning America” co-host Robin Roberts for the ABC News special “Dolly Parton: Here She Comes Again!”
Parton spoke with Roberts from Dollywood, her theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, ahead of Wednesday night’s Country Music Association Awards, which air at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Parton will be a special guest host at the CMA Awards along with Reba McEntire, and Carrie Underwood will be hosting the show.
Here are seven of Parton’s unmatched one-liners that will make you laugh and warm your heart in true Dolly fashion.
1. Dolly Parton talking about the day she left home to pursue her music career.
“Well, I graduated [high school] on a Friday night, and headed out on a Saturday morning. As I make jokes about it with my matching luggage, those four paper bags from the same grocery store,” Parton said. “I thought well I can’t be any poorer than I already am, and I’m a girl. I’ll find some boy that’ll take me to Shoney’s… I thought I’m not going to go hungry.”
2. Dolly Parton on the secret to a long-lasting marriage.
“Stay gone,” Parton said laughing. “Actually there’s a lot of truth in not being together all the time.”
Parton has been married to her husband Carl Dean for 53 years, but he is rarely seen in public. “He likes his privacy,” Parton told Roberts, adding that it has led to some interesting reports over the years.
“In the tabloids, they’ve had pictures of my bus driver saying that was my husband. I’ve had about five husbands in the tabloids. I’ve only had one for real, but he gets a kick out of some of them,” she said.
3. Dolly Parton on why her 1968 smash hit ‘Just Because I’m a Woman’ became an important song for women of the time.
The song is “about men, you know, wanting to use all these women,” she said. “And then when they want to get married, they want a virgin and they want to do this and that and they think, ‘Oh, if you’ve been with someone, I don’t want you, even if I love you.’ But it was a number one song here and it was one of the first.”
4. Dolly Parton on knowing her worth and fighting for more pay as a rising country star.
“It’s not all about money,” she said. “I count my blessings more than I count my money, but I need to count my money, too.”
5. Dolly Parton on never giving up her dream to open Dollywood in the 1980s.
“My lawyers, and my accountants and a lot of people that I was working with at the time said I was making a big mistake,” she said. “But I just knew it was right and…I got rid of all those people, started over with new people that did believe in my dreams.”
6. Dolly Parton on going through tough times.
“Well, I don’t think people can live in this world without going through times like that,” she said. “People always look at me, they always say, ‘Oh, you just always seem to be so happy.’ I said, ‘That’s the Botox.’ No, but seriously, I’m a very sensitive person. I feel everything to the core.”
7. Dolly Parton on her ‘organized hoarding’ and why she can’t bring herself to throw away anything from her fans.
“You should see my house,” she said. “I got big bins, storage bins of clothes and things that fans give me. I had a whole warehouse called the ‘Arts and Crap’ building, because I can’t throw anything away…because I know how much people spent time on it.”