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The Biggest Sacrifice Dolly Parton Made for Her Career

"I wouldn't be in a position to do all of the things I'm doing now," she said.

Being successful in the entertainment industry is not an easy feat, especially if you're a woman in the field. It's hard to believe that we could ever be without some of the biggest stars in the game, like the Queen of Country herself, Dolly Parton. But in a new interview, Parton admitted that there have been some sacrifices she's chosen to make to keep her career going—the biggest being not having children. Read on to find out more about Parton's tough choices, and for more on this beloved legend, Dolly Parton Still Uses This Surprising Method to Message People.

In a Nov. 13 interview with Oprah Winfrey for The Oprah Conversation, Parton revealed that not having children really helped her career continue on for the past 60 years.

"Since I had no kids, and my husband was pretty independent, I had freedom," she told Winfrey. "So I think a big part of my whole success is the fact that I was free to work."

Parton has been married to husband Carl Dean for 54 years, and the two do not have any children, but Parton has been involved with children in many ways through her career—especially with her Imagination Library, a program the performer founded in 1995 that has gifted millions of books to young children.

"I didn't have children because I believed that God didn't mean for me to have kids, so everybody's kids could be mine—so I could do things like Imagination Library because if I hadn't had the freedom to work, I wouldn't have done all the things I've done," she said. "I wouldn't be in a position to do all of the things I'm doing now."

Parton underwent a partial hysterectomy in 1982 after collapsing on stage during a tour because of pain from endometriosis. After a hysterectomy, which removes part or all of the uterus, women are unable to get pregnant.

"Suddenly I was a middle-aged woman. I went through a dark time, until I made myself snap out of it," Parton admitted in the 2017 book Dolly on Dolly: Interviews and Encounters with Dolly Parton. "We never did think of adopting. I guess I didn't have the time. I had my career and all, I had younger brothers and sisters, so I had that responsibility and that joy and that duty."

Nowadays, it doesn't seem like Parton is too broken up about the sacrifices she's made for her career. While acknowledging her tough choices to Winfrey, Parton said she believes she knows what she's "supposed to do."

"I've made the sacrifice of time … and not having time to spend with family, and you give up family and friends, vacation, and work without end, 24/7, 365, but you got to make the sacrifice," she said.

Of course, Parton is not the only celebrity who has opened up about not having children. Keep reading for more stars who have talked about being child-free, and for more celebrity news you might have missed, A Restaurant Server Is Rating Celebrities Based on How Rude They Are.

Helen Mirren

helen mirren, celebs over 50

In a 2013 interview with British Vogue (via Vanity Fair), Helen Mirren said that having children was "not [her] destiny."

"I kept thinking it would be, waiting for it to happen, but it never did, and I didn't care what people thought … It was only boring old men [who would ask me]," she said. "And whenever they went, 'What? No children? Well, you'd better get on with it, old girl,' I'd say 'No.'" And for some notable celebrities who have had equally famous children, check out these Celebrities You Didn't Know Had Famous Parents.

Betty White

Betty White

Betty White revealed she "never regretted" not having children during an interview with CBS' Katie Couric in 2011.

"No, I've never regretted it. I'm so compulsive about stuff. I know that if I had ever gotten pregnant, of course, that would've been my whole focus. But I didn't choose to have children because I'm focused on my career and I don't think as compulsive as I am that I could manage both," she said. And for A-listers' furry children, These Celebrity Pets Have Way More Followers Than You.

Aisha Tyler

Aisha Tyler at the 2016 Oscar Wilde Awards held at the Bad Robot in Santa Monica, USA on February 25, 2016.

Aisha Tyler struggled with infertility while married to her former husband Jeff Tietjens, but in a 2014 interview with HuffPost Live, she revealed that they weren't trying any fertility treatments to have children.

"I wanted families [and] couples to know that it was a valid choice not to get on this crazy merry-go-round of IVF and tens and tens of thousands of dollars," she said. "And I wanted people to feel—men and women—it's OK to say, 'I love my marriage, I love my life, I choose not to have children.'" And for more celebrity content delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Portia de Rossi

Portia de Rossi

Portia de Rossi, wife of Ellen DeGeneres, revealed in 2013 that neither she nor Ellen really cared to have their own children.

"You have to really want to have kids, and neither of us did. So it's just going to be me and Ellen and no babies—but we're the best of friends and married life is blissful, it really is," she told Out magazine. "I've never been happier than I am right now." And for a look at some notable star offspring, check out these Celebrity Kids Who Are All Grown Up Now.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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