Dolly Parton Revealed She Had a ‘Complete Breakdown’ in the ’80s

Dolly Parton is a rare public figure who draws adoration from most people. Her lengthy catalog of songs, film career, and overall warm glow attracts fans from far outside of her country music roots. Though Parton’s ebullience is a big part of her public appearance, she readily admits that she isn’t always as happy as she seems. She explained that she went through a period where she struggled with her mental health.

Dolly Parton wears a white dress with silver rhinestones and stands in front of a microphone.
Dolly Parton | Andrew Lipovsky/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Dolly Parton has a reputation for her cheerful outlook

When onstage and in interviews, Parton practically glows. Like her look, Parton’s personality is outsized and joyful. In her personal life, she says that she generally acts in a similar manner. She said that there’s no significant difference between her public and private self.

“If I’m out in public, I have to be really on, and more vocal, and present myself. But I have this other side to me that’s very quiet,” she told Vogue. “Sometimes I can go a whole day without saying anything. My best friend, Judy, and my husband, Carl, when we’re comfortable, we might not say much of anything. But I’m not a different person—I’m just a little quieter.”

She added that she hopes that those around her see “God’s spark” in her.

“I really do ask God every single day to let me do something, say something, be something that matters to somebody else,” she said. “To make somebody feel good. To let people see a spark of love.”

The ‘Jolene’ singer said she had a breakdown in the ’80s

Parton once revealed that during the 1980s, she had a “complete breakdown.” During this period, she felt a great deal of stress from the dissolution of a relationship. The pressure made her physically ill for over 18 months. She explained that this happened because she’s a highly sensitive person and feels everything “to the core.”

“I could totally relate to how people do get on drugs or alcohol, how people do commit suicide, because when you’re a tender, loving, caring, sensitive person, you feel like you can only stand so much heartache and sorrow,” Parton told Robin Roberts for ABC News.

She explained that her family and faith helped her through the dark period.

“After I got through that, prayed through that, worked through that, I became so much better because I could see so much more inside people,” Parton said. “I was so much more humble because I never could toughen my heart…I just had to strengthen the muscles around it.”

Dolly Parton’s cosmetic procedures have kept her looking happy

These days, Parton says she is much more content. Still, she attributes some of her happy glow to Botox. She’s been candid about her use of cosmetic procedures, often saying that she looks fake, but her personality is real.

“I’m often told I look so happy, but to be honest … that’s the Botox,” the Daily Mail reported Parton said at the #WOW: Whole Health Includes Mental Health. “Well not all of it, but some of it anyway!”

How to get help: In the U.S. and Canada, text the Crisis Text Line at 741741 to reach a crisis counselor for support.

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