The country legend, Loretta Lynn’s story from rags to riches seemed idyllic, but personal problems during her career had Loretta wish she had taken another path in life.
As the second of eight children, the Kentucky native came from humble beginnings. Loretta’s mother struggled to make ends meet and glued old Sears Roebuck catalogs to the walls during winter as they couldn’t afford wallpaper.
On January 10, 1948, at the age of 15, Loretta married Oliver “Doolittle” Lynn, 21 years old at the time. The following year they welcomed their first of six children into the world, but Loretta did so alone.
While pregnant, Oliver left her and slept with Loretta’s brother’s wife. They had just left Kentucky and moved to Washington, and it became a time in Loretta’s life that inspired much of her songwriting.
“He thought I was something special, more special than anyone else in the world, and never let me forget it. That belief would be hard to shove out the door. Doo was my security, my safety net. And remember, I'm explainin', not excusin'... Doo was a good man and a hard worker. But he was an alcoholic, and it affected our marriage all the way through.”
Oliver bought her a $17 Harmony guitar in 1953, which Loretta eagerly taught herself to play. A few years later she started the band, “Loretta and the Trailblazers,” who often performed around Washington.
But Loretta felt that while her career often kept her from home, she preferred it even though it came at a price. "It was really lonely. I sometimes felt it was better to be on the bus than to be home… because he was drinking so much," she wrote.
By the time Loretta turned 20, she had given birth to four of their children. She bought a 1400-acre estate called Hurricane Mills outside Nashville, Texas, complete with its own zip code and post office.
However, her singing success kept her touring, and she hardly spent time on the estate, and when she did have time to go home, Loretta felt like a stranger.
"She was working 200 days a year. She was gone 6 or 7 months at a time. We've gone a year without seeing her," one of Lynn’s daughters, Cissie added.
She cut her first record, “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl,” along with “Whispering Sea” when she signed with Zero on February 2, 1960, and they became hits.
“I’m a Honky Tonk Girl” climbed to No. 14 on Billboard’s Country and Western chart. By the end of the year, Loretta got named No. 4 Most Promising Female Country Artist by Billboard magazine.
In the decades to follow, she produced multiple award-winning gold albums that sold over 45 million copies worldwide and remained with Oliver until his death in 1996.
In March 2016, American Masters released a comprehensive documentary about Loretta’s life called, “Still a Mountain Girl.”
It featured interviews with fellow musicians and friends like Jack White, Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow, Reba McEntire, Bill Anderson, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, and Miranda Lambert. But it also gave additional insight with never-before-seen pictures, movies, and performances.
Loretta’s two youngest children, twins Peggy and Patsy seemingly inherited their mother’s talent.
In 1998, the gorgeous look-alike sisters created the music duo, The Lynns and had since made a name for themselves.
With a powerful rendition of “Woman to Woman,” Loretta’s daughters showed why they followed in her footsteps.