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Why Didn't Dolly Parton Ever Have Any Children?

Gettyimages | Terry Wyatt
By Clarissa Wilson

Dolly Parton has been married to Carl Thomas Dean for more than 50 years, since 1966, However, the couple never had any children. Many of her fans have often wondered why she and Carl never had any children. Dolly seems to have an answer for everything and says that God must have had other plans for them. She says that he wanted her to be everyone's mother.

Parton was one of 12 children so it would only be fitting for her and her husband to have a large family too, bringing up a lot of kids and raising them throughout their long marriage.

One thing is for sure, Parton has eight brothers and sisters who are younger than her. Five out of those eight younger brothers and sisters came to live with Dolly and Carl and they raised them together as if they were their own children. She says she was always close to her nieces and nephews too. She also says that now that her younger brothers and sisters have their own children and their children have their own children, she now has grandkids and great-grandkids because of them.

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Gettyimages | Eamonn M. McCormack

We all know Dolly loves children. After all, she is a co-founder of Imagination Library, an organization that donates free books to children to help them learn to read and to encourage them to read. Not only this, but she released a children's album called, "I Believe In You."

And, now that we know that she and Carl raised five of her younger brothers and sisters and took on their children as their grandkids as well as their children's children as their great-grandchildren, what made them now have their own children?

One thing is for sure, according to Dolly Parton herself, as she once told People Magazine, she and her husband always thought they would have children one day but it didn't happen that way for them. She said it wasn't like they were trying to not have children. They expected it to just happen one day but it didn't.

Gettyimages | Matt Winkelmeyer

Parton says that there were other plans for her life. She also says she is everyone else's mother and always will be. She said, “God has a plan for everything. I think it probably was his plan for me not to have kids so everybody’s kids could be mine. And they are now.”

During an interview in 2014 with Billboard, they asked her if she regretted never having children with her husband. Parton said she did at first but she doesn't now. She said,

“Early on, when my husband and I were dating, and then when we got married, we just assumed we would have kids. We weren’t doing anything to stop it. In fact, we thought maybe we would. We even had names if we did, but it didn’t turn out that way. Now I say, “God didn’t mean for me to have kids so everybody’s kids could be mine.” I’m very close to my family — five of my younger brothers and sisters lived with me and Carl for many years — and we’re very close to our nieces and nephews. Now that Carl and I are older, we often say, “Aren’t you glad we didn’t have kids? Now we don’t have kids to worry about.”

Gettyimages | Kevin Winter

Now that we know why Dolly and Carl never had kids, what do we really know about her husband, Carl? Here are some facts about him:

Dolly and Carl Dean got married in Ringgold, Georgia in 1966. Although Dean is a very private person and doesn't go with Parton into the spotlight, he supports her from home. In fact, Dolly tells People,

“He’s always supporting me as long as I don’t try to drag him in on it… He’s always been my biggest fan behind the scenes, but he’s at home. I don’t think they’re probably showing much of this on TV and if they do, he might see it.”

The long-time married couple met each other when they were 18-years-old. In another interview with People, Parton joked saying that when people ask her what the secret is to a long and happy marriage, she says to stay gone. She says she may be joking some, there is a lot of truth to it. She travels a lot and says when she does come home to Carl, they have a lot of fun together.

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