The Rushmore Report: Dolly Parton’s Brush with Suicide


Dolly Parton, one of country music’s greatest stars, shares in her new memoir how she contemplated suicide, but believes God intervened to stop her. Her new memoir, Dolly on Dolly: Interviews and Encounters with Dolly Parton, reveals much about Parton’s life that had not been made public. In the book, she confesses that she went through a horrible period in which she considered taking her own life.

Parton confesses that in the midst of her depression, she began binge-eating and she cheated on her husband. Her life seemed to be falling apart, and one night she was so depressed that she took out the gun she kept for protection, pondering whether to use it to kill herself.

“I looked at it a long time. Then, just as I picked it up, just to hold it and look at it for a moment, our little dog, Popeye, came running up the stairs,” Parton recalled. “The tap-tap of his paws jolted me back to reality. I suddenly froze. I put the gun down.”

Instead of taking her own life, Parton turned to prayer. “I kinda believe Popeye was a spiritual messenger from God,” said the music icon. “I don’t think I’d have done it, killed myself, but I can’t say for sure. Now that I’ve gone through that terrible moment, I can certainly understand the possibilities even for someone solid like me if the pain gets bad enough.”

That dark experience showed Parton that “a belief in God is essential. You have to believe in something bigger than yourself. We grew up believing that through God all things are possible. I think I believed that so much that I made it happen.”

Parton, now 71, has a strong relationship with her husband of 51 years, Carl Dean. She is still touring and playing music.


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