Dolly Parton has been open in song and with the press about her upbringing. She even made a film, Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors, inspired by her life. In short, growing up in a one-room cabin filled with children in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains was no picnic, but there was always a lot of love.
The country star was raised by parents Avie Lee and Robert Lee Parton. Dolly learned to sing in church and followed her dreams by hitting the Nashville music scene at the age of 13 with her first performance at the Grand Ole Opry.
"I grew up in a very musical family, all my mother's people were very musical, so I was always around people playing instruments and singing, and my mom singing the old songs," Dolly told People in 2020. "So that was just part of my being and I just knew I loved it. I just continued doing that, it was just a natural thing."
Inspiring millions with her rags to riches journey, Dolly has become a rhinestone-clad national treasure. But Dolly is not the only successful Parton child. Music was part of the entire Parton family upbringing, with multiple children pursuing similar dreams as their iconic sister. Where did Dolly's siblings end up after she made it big in Nashville and Hollywood?
Willadeene Parton (Born March 24, 1940)
Oldest sibling Willadeene became an author, penning 1996's Smoky Mountain Memories: Stories from the Hearts of the Parton Family. She also wrote a cookbook, 1997's All-Day Singing & Dinner on the Ground. In addition, Willadeene's sang in a gospel group with sisters Cassie and Stella.
Stella Parton (Born May 4, 1949)
Stella Parton is no stranger to the country music scene. With her own 40-plus years of experience, she has created her own path as a country singer and had some successful singles in the '70s. Most notably, 1975's "I Want to Hold You in My Dreams Tonight" was a Top 10 hit.
An experienced author and actor as well, Stella told People in 2022 that she always has "two or three projects on the cooker, in the slow-cooker." At the time of the interview, Stella was promoting a film she stars in, Nothing is Impossible.
Though she's a free spirit, Stella often aides her siblings' careers.
"Everybody knows that I'm independent. I'm a loner in my family," Stella told People. "But if they need me, if they call me out to help with something, producing, consulting or whatever, I'm always there."
Cassie Parton (Born Feb. 12, 1951)
Cassie is also a singer and performer with a gospel background, though a bit more low key than some of her siblings. She has performed shows at Dollywood with multiple siblings, including Randy and Rachel.
Randy Parton (Born Dec. 15, 1953)
Randy Parton was a singer and regularly performed at Dollywood. Randy passed away in 2021 at the age of 67 following a bout with cancer.
He has his own run in big-time country music in the '70s and '80s, during which he cut "Roll on 18 Wheeler" before it became a hit for Alabama. He's also a backup vocalist on Dolly's 1980 hit "Old Flames Can't Hold A Candle To You."
Larry Parton (Born July 1955)
Larry died as an infant at only 4 days old when Dolly was only 9 years old.
His death inspired the 2015 film Coat of Many Colors.
"My mother, through the years, when we were born, since there were so many of us, used to say, 'This one is gonna be you baby.' That just meant that you got to take extra care of it. You have got to get up with it at night and rock it back and forth," Dolly said in 2016 (as quoted by Fox News). "This particular baby that passed away in the movie was my baby."
Floyd Parton (Born June 1, 1957)
Floyd earned his reputation as a talented songwriter. He penned multiple songs for or with Dolly, including "Nickels and Dimes," Ricky Van Shelton duet "Rockin' Years" and "Waltz Me to Heaven." He passed away in 2018 at the age of 61.
Freida Estelle Parton (Born June 1, 1957)
Floyd's twin sister Freida began her music career as one of Dolly's backup singers and a collaborator of ex-husband and Nashville songwriter Paul Overstreet before taking a sharp left turn. Her lone major label solo album, 1984's Two Faced is hard rock with a punk edge— sung by someone who sounds a lot like Dolly.
Freida's since opened a wedding chapel and is an ordained minister.
Rachel Dennison (Born Aug. 31, 1959)
The youngest of the Parton siblings, Dennison is a retired actor and singer, best known for her starring role in the '80s sitcom 9 to 5. She also performs with her siblings from time to time.
Like other siblings, Dennison spent time on the road with Dolly, not just as a backup singer but as a makeup artist.
David Parton (Born 1942), Coy Parton (Born 1943) and Robert Lee Parton Jr. (Born 1948)
These three stayed pretty private and out of show business, so not much is known about them. They can occasionally be seen accompanying Dolly to events.
This story previously ran on Jan. 4, 2022.