Dolly Parton Once Explained to Andy Warhol Why She Never Had Children: ‘I Tried for Years’

Dolly Parton has been married to Carl Thomas Dean since 1966. The two have a notoriously private relationship, and Dean rarely ever takes part in Parton’s celebrity lifestyle. In a 1984 interview with Interview Magazine, Parton revealed why she never had children.

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Dolly Parton attends the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards on March 07, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Dolly Parton ‘couldn’t have children’

The book Dolly on Dolly: Interviews and Encounters with Dolly Parton features a collection of interviews showcasing the famous singer. One of the featured interviews with Andy Warhol explains why Parton ended up not having children.

Parton told Interview in 1984, as recorded in the book Dolly on Dolly:

“I couldn’t have children, I tried to for years. I’ve never been pregnant in my life. When I was a girl and fooling around I was scared to death I’d get pregnant, and then when I got married and wanted to have children I couldn’t have any. But I don’t miss it. I did for a while, but I realized that I am everybody’s mother. I’ve raised five of my younger brothers and sisters and now their kids call me Aunt Grannie. I’m like the grandma and the aunt.”

Dolly Parton assures fans her husband exists

Because Dean has rarely ever appeared with Parton in public, fans of the singer began to doubt that he actually exists. Parton set the record straight during an interview with Entertainment Tonight in 2020.

“A lot of people have thought that through the years, because he does not want to be in the spotlight at all… It’s just not who he is. He’s like, a quiet, reserved person and he figured if he ever got out there in that, he’d never get a minute’s peace and he’s right about that,” Parton told Entertainment Tonight.

Parton went on to say that their relationship works for them, as they have been married for nearly six decades.

“I’ve always respected and appreciated that in him and I’ve always tried to keep him out of the limelight as much as I can… He said, ‘I didn’t choose this world, I chose you, and you chose that world. But we can keep our lives separate and together.’ And we do and we have. We’ve been together 56 years, married 54,” Parton said.


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Why the singer’s marriage works so well

While speaking with Entertainment Tonight, Parton shared that her marriage has stayed strong because she is “gone” all the time.

“Our joke about the fact, when people ask me why it’s lasted this long, I say, ‘Because I stay gone.’ And there’s a lot of truth in that — the fact that we’re not in each other’s faces all the time,” Parton said. “But we do have a great respect and admiration for each other. We both have a great sense of humor. So, we have a lot of fun.”