The Duggar Family Once Met Dolly Parton, and She Compared It to Meeting Elvis

Back in the day, the Duggar family wasn’t exactly clued in when it came to pop culture. The conservative family rarely watched TV and didn’t listen to modern music. But they still got a little starstruck when they paid a visit to Dollywood, where they had a chance to meet Dolly Parton herself. The admiration was mutual, with Parton gushing over the youngest Duggar and comparing hanging out with the family to meeting Elvis. 

The Duggar family visited Dollywood in an episode of ‘18 Kids and Counting’  

Back in 2009, the Duggars — who were then starring in 18 Kids and Counting — took a trip to Parton’s Tennessee theme park Dollywood. Parton warmly greeted the family, including Jim Bob’s mother Mary Duggar and his sister Deanna. Later, the 9 to 5 star joined the Duggars in a rendition of “Amazing Grace.” 

“I have loved them ever since I have seen them on TV. And I’ve watched them a lot,” Parton said in the episode. “When I heard they were coming to Dollywood, I got so excited. It was like a big, big star was coming.” 

“I think that Dolly Parton is awesome,” Jinger Duggar said. “She’s just so bubbly and really friendly.” 

Dolly Parton bonded with the Duggars over being from a large family

Members of the Duggar family pose for a photo on the set of Extra
The Duggar family | D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Extra

Like the Duggars, Parton comes from a large family — one reason she said she was excited to meet the reality TV stars. 

“There’s 12 of us children,” Parton shared. “There’s six boys and six girls. That’s one of the reasons I started following your story. I thought, ‘Oh, my mama, if they’d let her, she’d have done just like you,” she said to mom Michelle Duggar. 

Michelle, meanwhile, called it a “privilege” to meet the legendary  singer-songwriter. “We’re so thrilled,” she said. 

The ‘Jolene’ singer almost walked off with one of the Duggar kids

During her meet-and-greet with the Duggars, Parton was especially taken with the then-youngest member of the family, Jordyn Duggar. 

“I’m just going to take you,” Parton said as she played footsie with Jordyn, who was then less than a year old. “They’ve got too many children already. They won’t miss one more. Let’s go,” she added as she took Jordyn from Michelle’s arms and pretended to walk away with her. 

“She loves kids, I can tell that with Jordyn,” Josiah Duggar said. “She wished she could take her home with her,” he added.

Dolly Parton says meeting the Duggars was like meeting Elvis 

Dolly Parton wearing a bright pink dress on the Today show in 2019
Dolly Parton | Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

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In an interview segment, Jim Bob Duggar praised Parton, saying that unlike some performers, her onstage personality matched her offstage one. 

“Dolly is just a real person off the stage and on the stage. And she’s somebody that has a loving heart, a very giving heart. You can tell she genuinely loves everybody,” Jim Bob said.

As for Dolly, she was thrilled to get a chance to meet the famously large family. 

“When they told me I was going to meet you I got more excited than if somebody said I was going to meet Elvis,” Parton said. 

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