25 Quotes By Dolly Parton – From Love and Looks to Faith and Chasing Your Dreams

Dolly Parton wears many hats as a country singer, powerhouse songwriter, dedicated philanthropist, and successful entrepreneur. The 75-year-old American icon has a true rags-to-riches story and plenty of wisdom to share. Here are some of Parton’s most inspirational quotes about hard work, dreaming big, finding love, and staying true to yourself.

Black and white photo of Dolly Parton performing on guitar in 1974
Dolly Parton in 1974 | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Dolly Parton Quotes on Dreams, Success, and Humility

From her humble beginnings as a young girl in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, Parton has come a long way – but always stayed true to her roots.

#1: “Do not confuse dreams with wishes. There is a difference. Dreams are where you visualize yourself being successful at what’s important to you to accomplish.”

Dream More: Celebrate the Dreamer in You

#2: “The more I accomplish, the more humble I become, because I realize how [few] people are able to say that they’ve seen their dreams come true.”

The New York Times Style Magazine profile, 2020

#3: “I never think of myself as a star because, as somebody once said, ‘A star is nothing but a big ball of gas’ –and I don’t want to be that.”

Billboard interview, 2014

#4: “While I’m proud of what I’ve done, the older I get, the more humble I feel.”

Dream More: Celebrate the Dreamer in You

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Dolly Parton Quotes on Standing Your Ground

While Parton is widely known for her kindness and generosity, the “Jolene” and “9 to 5” singer is also a force to be reckoned with.

#5: “I have to be the boss of me. I can’t be bossed.”

Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics

#6: “I’m not going to limit myself just because people won’t accept the fact that I can do something else.”

Twitter, 2010

#7: “You are enough. And anyone who tells you otherwise isn’t worth your time.”

Netflix video, “Dolly Parton: Motivational Speaker,” 2019

#8: “I am not the kind of person to be pushed around. That is not my nature.”

Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics

Dolly Parton Quotes on Love

From her marriage of over 50 years to her husband, Carl Dean, to her love for her family, friends, and even pets, Parton knows a thing or two about love.

#9: “I always joke and laugh when people ask me what’s the key to my long marriage and lasting love. I always say, ‘Stay gone!’ and there’s a lot of truth to that.”

People interview, 2018

#10: “He’s always loved who I was, and I loved who he was, and we never tried to change each other.”

O, The Oprah Magazine interview, 2016

#11: “God has been good to me. He gave me Carl Dean. And that was the perfect man that I needed.”

The Guardian interview, 2014

#12: “That’s what pets are. They have that unconditional love. You can tell them anything, and they accept it. And they won’t tell anyone your secrets.”

Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics

#13: “My family will always be my greatest love.”

The Guardian interview, 2016

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Dolly Parton Quotes on Beauty

In addition to her accolades as a songwriter and businesswoman, Parton is well known for her iconic signature look and love of plastic surgery.

#14: “I might look artificial and corny to you. You might think I have no taste. But underneath the look is a person. There’s a brain and a heart underneath the hair and the boobs.”

Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics

#15: “People say, ‘How do you stay looking so young?’ I say, ‘Well, good lighting, good doctors, and good makeup.’”

BBC interview, 2019

#16: “I was not a raving natural beauty. I just wanted to be pretty. I wanted to be striking. I wanted to be colorful. I wanted to be seen.”

Elle interview, 2019

#17: “If something is bagging, sagging or dragging, I’ll tuck it, suck it or pluck it!”

The Guardian profile, 2011

Dolly Parton Quotes on Faith and Values

Parton has always been open about her spirituality and her strong moral compass.

#18: “I always pray that I have enough to share and some to spare. And so far, God has obliged me.”

Dream More: Celebrate the Dreamer in You

#19: “God has a plan for everything. I think it probably was his plan for me not to have kids so everybody’s kids could be mine. And they are now.”

TODAY interview, 2017

#20: “God tells us not to judge one another, no matter what anyone’s sexual preferences are or if they’re black, brown or purple.”

The Guardian profile, 2011

#21: “I thank God for my failures…I never feel like a failure just because something I tried has failed.”

Dream More: Celebrate the Dreamer in You

#22: “You gotta struggle for that inner light that shines inside of you. I call it a God light. If you look hard enough it’s there and it will guide you.”

Twitter, 2018

Dolly Parton Quotes on Music and Songwriting

Parton’s first dreams were all about music – and the “I Will Always Love You” songwriter is able to tell almost any story with her evocative lyrics.

#23: “I loved that little baby Martin Guitar. I remember loving that thing like it was a piece of my body, a piece of my soul. I just made friends with it.”

Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics

#24: “A lot of times, people can’t express themselves in the same way that I can. I try to become them. I suffer for them, because I care for them.”

Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics

#25: “Music has always been an essential part of me. Since I have been able to form words, I have been able to rhyme them. I could catch on to anything that had a rhythm, and make a song to go with it.”

Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business