As "9 to 5: The Musical" opens in London, Parton admits to steering clear of political comments saying, “You can ruin a career for speaking out.”
Her career began with a debut album called, “Hello, I’m Dolly” at the age of 21. Today, at 73-years-old, Dolly Parton has a few stories to tell about being a woman with a career and a whole lot of success.
Just like in the 1980’s hit movie 9 to 5, that centers on three women trying to make it in a ‘man’s world’ Dolly Parton and her co-stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin had to face real life obstacles as women in the workplace up against "sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot" bosses.
But while most of her feminist friends have chosen a bolder and louder voice on issues like sexual harassment, Parton has decided to refrain from speaking out for both personal and professional reasons.
Acknowledging the fact that she’s made friends and fans everywhere in both men and women, gay and straight coming from all sides, Republican and Democrat, she says “I respect my audience too much for that, I respect myself too much for that. Of course, I have my own opinions, but that don’t mean I got to throw them out there because you’re going to piss off half the people.”
And speaking of friends, Parton has a childhood best friend named Judy Ogle, and their closeness has been scrutinized through the years. A constant travel companion, Ogle’s presence, along with Parton’s open support of gay rights, often led to questions about her sexual orientation. Her response, each and every time on the matter was always simple, that she was not gay, along with a tribute to a friendship that she clearly values and depends on.
“Very few people know what it’s like to have a very best friend and keep that best friend all your life.”
Her relationships are clearly important to her, and she tends to them well. She has been married to her husband, Carl Thomas Dean, for almost 53 years. They choose to keep a low-key, private life together just as the day they met at the Wishy Washy laundromat when she was only 18-years-old.
Her husband is secure and independent and has a strong sense of self in the face of her celebrity is something Parton credits for the success of their marriage.
“If I had it to do all over, I'd do it all over again, and we did," Dolly said. "I'm dragging him kicking and screaming into the next 50 years."