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12 Things You Didn't Know About Dolly Parton

Dolly Rebecca Parton is an American icon and one of the greatest (and most successful) country singer-songwriters of all time. From her colorful outfits to her big blonde hair, the country star is impossible not to love. Here are 12 things you might not have known about the country queen.

1. She's the godmother of Miley Cyrus

Dolly Parton (L) and Miley Cyrus perform onstage during the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 10: Dolly Parton (L) and Miley Cyrus perform onstage during the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Lester Cohen/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Parton's Nashville career led to a friendship with Billy Ray Cyrus, so his daughter Miley became a seriously lucky kid when Parton was asked to be her godmother. The two have performed together multiple times and Parton even guest-starred on Miley's Disney show, Hannah Montana.

2. She spent a fortune restoring her childhood home

Raised in a small cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, Parton wanted to honor her upbringing by fixing her childhood home up to look exactly like it did when she was a child. She jokes that she spent millions making it look like she spent $50.

3. She gets motion sickness

Despite owning the Pigeon Forge, Tenn. theme park Dollywood since 1986, Parton refuses to ride any of the roller coasters because she gets motion sickness.

4. She has her own library...sort of

According to DollyParton.com, the singer was inspired to create her library after her father's inability to read or write. Dolly Parton's Imagination Library promotes literacy to children all over her home state of Tennessee by sending them free books to inspire a love of reading. She dedicated her one-millionth book to the Library of Congress.

5. She once lost a Dolly look-alike contest

Dolly Parton onstage with guitar
Dolly Parton rehearses for her New York nightclub debut at the West Village's Bottom Line. Via Getty Images

After fixing herself up and entering a drag show Dolly look-a-like contest, Parton didn't even come close to winning. I'm not sure how unrecognizable she made herself, but that is pretty hilarious.

6. She was with Porter Wagoner the day he died

Country singer Dolly Parton with her collaborator Porter Wagoner on the set of his TV show in circa 1967.
1967: Country singer Dolly Parton with her collaborator Porter Wagoner on the set of his TV show in circa 1967. Mr. Wagoner is wearing a Nudie Suit designed by Nudie Cohn of Nudie's Rodeo Tailors. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Her The Porter Wagoner Show co-star and longtime friend passed away in 2007, but not before he was able to reconcile with Parton.

The two were estranged following her exit from his show. She even wrote "I Will Always Love You," one of the greatest country love songs ever written, as a farewell to Wagoner. 

Read More: Dolly Parton's Greatest Fashion Statements, From Cowgirl Chic to Sequin Glam

7. She wrote "Jolene" about a bank teller

A female bank teller would regularly flirt with Parton's husband of over 50 years, Carl Dean. It became an ongoing joke between the two, so she wrote a song about it.

8. She's written over 5,000 songs

Parton likes to write her songs the old school way -- with a pen and paper. She tries to write something every few days, whenever inspiration strikes.

9. She's won 10 Grammy Awards

Dolly Parton attends 19th Annual Grammy Awards at the Hollywood Palladium in Hollywood, California on February 19, 1977.
Dolly Parton attends 19th Annual Grammy Awards at the Hollywood Palladium in Hollywood, California on February 19, 1977. (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Over a staggering 50 nominations, Parton has taken home eight Grammys. The singer is also a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and has been nominated for multiple Emmy Awards, a Tony, and countless other accolades.

10. She doesn't care that Rhinestone was a bust

Dolly Parton In 'Rhinestone' publicity shoot
Dolly Parton in publicity portrait for the film 'Rhinestone', 1984. (Photo by 20th Century-Fox/Getty Images)

The country singer has had an incredibly successful film career with hits like 9 to 5 and Steel Magnolias, but unfortunately Rhinestone didn't live up to the hype of the other films. Though her co-star Sylvester Stallone regrets the film, Parton doesn't really care because she thinks that the soundtrack is some of the best work of her career.

11. She interrupted Reba McEntire's Grand Ole Opry debut

NASHVILLE, TN - AUGUST 23: Honorees Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton attend the 11th Annual ACM Honors at the Ryman Auditorium on August 23, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.
NASHVILLE, TN - AUGUST 23: Honorees Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton attend the 11th Annual ACM Honors at the Ryman Auditorium on August 23, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for ACM)

McEntire explained how excited she was to the Tennessean.

"It was so special. I was scared to death. The Four Guys walked me on. Charlie Walker introduced me, and Dolly took one of my songs. She had just come in the parking lot and they said, 'Reba, we're going to have to take one of your songs (for Dolly).' I said, 'It's okay with me. Can I meet her?' I was thrilled to death."

12. Her first crush was Johnny Cash

It's pretty relatable that Parton's first crush was none other than the Man in Black himself...Johnny Cash. She opened up about how she first saw him at the Grand Ole Opry when she was a teenager in an interview with Nightline.

"I was sitting in the audience and that's when I first knew about sex appeal," Parton said. "He had this tick when he moved his shoulder... and it was still sexy. It still got to me."

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in 2019. It was updated on Jan. 12, 2022. 

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12 Things You Didn't Know About Dolly Parton