Poor Girl with 11 Siblings Punished for How She Dressed — At 77 She’s a Country Icon Married to a Loving Man

The girl in the cover photo grew up poor with 11 siblings before becoming famous.

When she was younger, she would get punished for how she dressed.

Now, at 77 years old, she has made her mark as one of the most iconic country stars in the world and is married to her loving husband.

The little girl in the cover photo was born in her parents’ farmhouse located in the mountains of Tennessee on January 19, 1946. She was born on a freezing day as one of twelve kids.

Deemed as the prettiest baby by her siblings, the little girl from the South and her family grew up impoverished but had a deep sense of love for one another that kept them sustained. Although the celebrity herself described how her life was afflicted by poverty growing up, neighbors and old friends expressed that the star’s family was not exactly poorer than anyone else in their neighborhood.

The country icon’s mother had her and her eleven siblings by the time she was 35 years old. According to the star, coming from a big family runs in her familial lineage, as just like her mom, her grandmother had many kids, too.

While speaking about her family and who she became because of them, the musician expressed how she got her creativity and spirituality from her mother and her business-centered, ambitious, and go-getter drive from her father. As she put it:

“I like to think that I got the best of my dad and my mom.”

Regarding her creative pursuits, the famous artist’s singing talents were discovered from a young age. As a young girl, she began singing in public at her church, where her grandfather would preach. However, according to a former neighbor whose yard she used to play in, she wasn’t necessarily the best singer among her siblings.

Nonetheless, her tenacious and tough-as-nails personality catapulted her to pursue her passion. A passion which included writing songs in addition to singing:

“I’ve been writing since I was seven years old. I’ve always got something around to write on—chewing gum, papers, napkins in a restaurant—I never know when an idea is going to hit me…”

Photo taken in Nashville, Tennessee circa 1965 | Source: Getty Images

Since she was younger, the country legend has always had a knack for expressing her authenticity through her unique style. Before making it big in the entertainment industry, she described how her mom would make and sew dresses for her out of sacks and scraps of fabric.

Her fashions have always been an essential staple in her life. In a past interview, she revealed the local town prototype she modeled her flamboyant look after:

“…She had bright red lipstick, long red fingernails. She had high-heeled shoes, little floating plastic goldfish in the heels of them, short skirts, low-cut tops, and I just thought she was beautiful. When people would say, ‘She ain’t nothing but trash,’ I would say, ‘Well, that’s what I’m gonna be when I grow up.’ ”

The little girl remained headstrong in her desire to dress as she wanted, even when she would get in trouble with her father and grandfather for it. She said her grandfather would physically punish her for dressing the way she did.

The young girl who would get in trouble for what she wore is none other than country music legend Dolly Parton, 77. Throughout her life, she has worked hard to build an empire worth over $500 million.

Dolly Parton posing for the film "Rhinestone" in 1984 | Source: Getty Images

An empire that has seen her make invaluable contributions on a global scale, including, but not limited to, approximately 3,000 songs, hugely successful philanthropic endeavors, a plethora of Grammy nominations, Oscar nominations, and her own amusement park. Though she no longer tours, she still works and writes songs extensively.

Aside from her illustrious career, Dolly is a doting wife to her beloved and supportive husband, Carl Dean, 81, whom she met when she was 18. The pair tied the knot in 1966 and have been going strong ever since.

Carl loves the “Coat of Many Colors” artist like no other. While talking about him and their relationship, the “Jolene” singer gushed:

“I married a really good man…We’ve just been best buddies and best friends…He understands me, he gets me…”

Dolly also expressed how secure Carl is with himself and how he compliments her so well. Apart from living out her dream as an iconic singer, Dolly said that she is happiest when she is with Carl, whether they are just chilling at home or traveling around in their RV.