Dolly Parton may be one of the most successful singers in the world, but life hasn’t always been easy for the country superstar.
Ahead of her appearance on Celebrity Masterchef in the United Kingdom, Dolly’s beloved sister Stella Parton, 69, has spoken exclusively to the Daily Mail about her tough upbringing and what life is like being sisters with the famous ‘Jolene’ songstress, 72. Sadly, growing up was worlds away from the ritzy lifestyle Dolly has become accustomed to.
Stella explained that their mother Avie was prone to seasonal affective disorder. The condition is a type of depression that is related to the changes in seasons and it meant she would spend large chunks of the year unable to properly care for her kids. Because of this, the sisters, along with 10 other siblings, were often forced to fend for themselves. She said her mother would spend months during winter with a pillow over her head.
“It was like having a parent who checked out every so often,” Stella told The Daily Mail. “So there is no doubt that, emotionally speaking, we were neglected.”
Stella explained that she became somewhat of a de facto mother to her younger siblings and would cook and clean for them from the age of seven. Because of this, she and Dolly became quite close, especially given there is only a three-year age gap between the girls.
Despite their close bond, both women have been constantly hit by claims there is a rift between them – and allegations they have a difficult relationship. But Stella slammed the false reports, claiming the stories have offended her greatly.
Detailing their close bond, she said Dolly has even stepped in in the past to support her through some of her difficult times. Struggling for cash as a single parent at one point in the past, Stella even cleaned her superstar sister’s house. Stella received US$45 (AU$58, UK£35) for the job and she said she was grateful that her sister helped her out.
While Stella loves motherhood more than anything, she said it wasn’t on the cards for Dolly – and she explained that although her sister never had children, she was a wonderful influence on her nephews and nieces.
“She is a very nurturing person, a surrogate mother to her nephews and nieces and to their children, too,” she told the publication. “She gets clucky over all of them.”
Meanwhile, despite living her life in the spotlight, Stella insisted she chose never to have a boob job like her sister, explaining that as a mother, she always saw her breasts as something to nourish her children, rather than sex objects.