Was Dolly Parton suicidal? Here’s how singer's dog Popeye saved her life after 'affair of the heart' ended badly
Despite having been married to husband Carl Dean for more than 50 years, Dolly Parton has never shied away from admitting that she was always kind of a flirt, which played in her favor because she always enjoyed an open marriage with her partner.
"I love to flirt, and I've never met a man I didn't like," Dolly Parton once famously declared of her passion for the opposite sex. And just like that, she has been embroiled in rumors of affairs, one after the next with names like Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds, and her lifelong friend and personal assistant Judy Ogle. Although Parton never dabbled in relationships with women that her fans knew of, media headlines lit up with speculations after she innocently admitted she had shared a bed with Judy. She later clarified that she never "had a relationship with a woman or had a desire to be with a woman." She said at the same time that she has fallen for other men.
Where are Dolly Parton's 11 siblings now? Country legend and husband Carl Dean raised some of them as their kids
Dolly Parton refuses to be put 'on a pedestal' in Tennessee capitol, fans call her 'true spirit of the South'
She contemplated suicide
In the early 80s, the 'Jolene' singer was left suicidal after an 'affair of the heart' ended badly. "I was sitting upstairs in my bedroom one afternoon when I noticed in the nightstand drawer my gun that I keep for burglars. I looked at it a long time..." she wrote in her book 'Dolly on Dolly, Interviews and Encounters with Dolly Parton'.
"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," she wrote.
Although Parton has maintained that she has an "open" marriage with her husband, getting physical with other people is off the cards. "Men are my weakness. Short, fat, bald or skinny – I've had crushes on some very unusual men but Carl knows I'll always come home and I'm not having sex with these people – I'm just flirting and having fun," she previously told the Daily Mail.
"He’s not jealous and I’m not jealous of him. He knows I flirt. He flirts too," she revealed in a separate interview. "Yes, it’s an open relationship, but not sexually and I would kill him if I thought he was doing that. He would shoot me too. At the end of the day we love each other madly.”
Although she flirted with an array of celebrities over the years, the one A-list heart-throb with who she couldn't wait to get up close and personal with was Burt Reynolds.
The pair starred opposite each other in 1982’s 'The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas'. Their sizzling on-screen chemistry sent unfounded rumors of a real-life affair flying. Parton further fanned the flames by teasing: “I couldn’t wait to jump into bed with Burt Reynolds... in the movie, not in real life.” And Reynolds admitted the attraction was mutual, once quipping: “I got to work with her for so long that eventually I was looking at her face.”
Parton added that her husband did not mind the rumors with Reynolds. “Carl never cared about that,” she previously told The Mirror. “Lord, they had me sleeping with everybody – I’d have never got anything done." She did, however, cheekily add: “And the ones I did sleep with, they don’t know about.”
For those who missed Dolly Parton's MusiCares concert, the special tribute concert will be broadcast on Netflix starting April 7.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7 by texting HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.