Country legend Dolly Parton almost took her own life

Dolly Parton performing at Glastonbury Festival in 2014. Photo / Getty
Dolly Parton performing at Glastonbury Festival in 2014. Photo / Getty

Country singer Dolly Parton has opened up about the most challenging parts of her life in an explosive new book, including a suicide attempt and her open marriage.

The 71-year-old entertainment icon is remarkably candid in Dolly On Dolly, which has just been released, and reveals she almost took her own life in the 1980s.

Parton was depressed and had just split from an unnamed lover - she had an open relationship with her long-time husband Carl Dean.

Country singer Dolly Parton poses for a portrait in circa 1955 in Tennessee. Photo / Getty
Country singer Dolly Parton poses for a portrait in circa 1955 in Tennessee. Photo / Getty

"I was sitting upstairs in my bedroom one afternoon when I noticed in the night stand drawer my gun that I keep for burglars," the book details.

"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.

"The tap-tap-tap of his paws jolted me back to reality. I suddenly froze. I put the gun down. Then I prayed. I kinda believe Popeye was a spiritual messenger from God."

Parton and Dean, who maintains a relatively low profile, were married in 1966 and remain rock solid, she said.

Country Singer Dolly Parton poses for a portrait by her tour bus before performing in September 1977 in Detroit. Photo / Getty
Country Singer Dolly Parton poses for a portrait by her tour bus before performing in September 1977 in Detroit. Photo / Getty

"We're so totally open and free ... I always call him Daddy and he calls me Mama or Little Kid or Angel Cakes. Sometimes he calls me Dotty to be silly."

But her fling in the early 80s "shattered" her when it ended. Parton wouldn't be drawn on the identity of the man.

"I cried an ocean. But I ain't gonna talk about it anymore. I've got to keep some mystery."

She was born into an extremely poor family in small town Tennessee, the first of 12 children who had little.

Dolly Parton performing on stage. Photo / Getty
Dolly Parton performing on stage. Photo / Getty

Parton shared a bed with three of her siblings and most nights at least one of them would wet the bed.

"That was the only warm thing we knew in the wintertime. That was our most pleasure to get peed on.

"If you kept the air out from under the cover, the pee didn't get so cold."

The difficulties of life made her tough and anyone who's underestimated Parton because of her looks has regretted it, she said.

Not long after she moved to New York to pursue her music dreams, she was harassed by a man in the street, she revealed.

He said "Come on, honey, I know you want it" and wouldn't leave her alone. When he got handsy, Parton pulled a gun on him and threatened to shoot him.

Country Singer Dolly Parton performs in September 1977 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo / Getty
Country Singer Dolly Parton performs in September 1977 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo / Getty

"I would have. I would have shot his feet off or shot at the ground."

A childhood desire for fancier clothes than was attainable continues to inspire her wardrobe choices, Parton said.

"When I'm 80, I'll have my high heels, nails, makeup, hair poufed, boobs ... it's just my life."

Parton's other revelations include that her famed breasts aren't the result of implants, although she has had "a lift".

She also spoke about her first sexual experiences being with cousins or uncles a few years older than her when she was a child.

"I always had an open mind about sex. We all did. It was not a vulgar thing. We didn't know what we were doin', we just knew we weren't supposed to let momma and daddy know it.

"We would just play doctor and nurse, just explore and experiment."

- news.com.au

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