Dolly Parton grew up as one of a dozen siblings living in a small cabin near the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Although she can rattle off each of their names in order at the drop of hat (as any good sis should), even her biggest fans would struggle to keep track of such a huge brood!
Dolly Parton’s Siblings Birth Order
The country queen’s official website lists the Parton family brothers and sisters from youngest to oldest as:
- David Wilburn
- Coy Denver
- Dolly Rebecca
- Bobby Lee
- Stella Mae
- Cassie Nan
- Randel Huston “Randy”
- Larry Gerald
- Estel Floyd and Freida Estelle (twins)
- Rachel Ann
If you’re counting, that’s six boys and six girls, plus their parents. Sadly, her little brother Larry passed away not long after his birth. The tragic loss was depicted in the 2015 TV movie based on Dolly’s youth, Coat of Many Colors ($2.99, Amazon Prime Video).
“My mother, through the years, when we were born, since there were so many of us, used to say, ‘This one is gonna be your baby,'” Dolly explained around the time of the film’s release. “That just meant that you got to take extra care of it. You have got to get up with it at night and rock it back and forth. This particular baby that passed away in the movie was my baby.” It’s no wonder the loss hit Dolly so hard, but we’re sure she and the rest of her family have always held him in their hearts.
You can see Dolly with the rest of her siblings (and both parents) in the sweet throwback photo below:
It’s clear no matter how famous Dolly got over the years, her family was always the most important part of her life. She also never shied away from talking about her humble beginnings — even if the stories were far from glamorous (and we aren’t just talking about what Dolly looks like without a wig).
“The kids peed on me every night. There was so many of us, when we slept it was three or four in a bed,” Dolly explained with a good-natured chuckle in a resurfaced tape of her 1978 interview with Playboy magazine. “That was the only warm thing we knew in the wintertime. I mean, that was almost a pleasure get peed on.”
There’s got to be a lot of love between the brothers and sisters for her to be able to crack jokes like that! Keep scrolling to learn more about Dolly’s family.
Photos of Dolly Parton’s Siblings
Willadeene PartonThe oldest Parton sibling took a different creative approach to her career: She's a writer with quite a few books on her resume, including Smoky Mountain Memories: Stories from the Hearts of the Parton Family ($7.88, Amazon) and a family cookbook.
David PartonNot much info is available about what Dolly's older brother has been up to lately, but in this photo, he can be seen escorting Dolly to an event. How gentlemanly!
Stella PartonDolly's younger sister, Stella, is not only a spitting image of the country queen, but an acclaimed singer in her own right. She still performs today and recently appeared on a cooking show across the pond.
Freida PartonFreida also followed in Dolly's musical path, but branched out with punk rock songs rather than country. Later she opened a wedding chapel (which has since closed), but she's still an ordained minister who can perform ceremonies.
Floyd PartonFloyd, Freida's twin, dabbled in the music industry alongside his siblings. He even wrote one of Dolly's hit tunes, "Rockin' Years," a duet with Ricky Van Shelton. Sadly, Floyd passed away in 2018.
Rachel Parton DennisonIn the 1980s, Rachel acted in a TV sitcom incarnation of 9 to 5, stepping into her big sister's role as Doralee. Since then, she's kept most of her focus on family, but she takes the stage every now and then.
Dolly Parton FamilySome of her siblings, like Randy Parton (who sadly passed away in January 2021) and Cassie Parton have been known to perform on their own and share a stage with their famous big sis, too. On the other hand, Dolly's brothers Robert Lee Jr. and Coy Denver haven't stepped into the spotlight and lead extremely private lives.
Dolly Parton's ParentsDolly's parents, Avie Lee and Robert Lee, raised their family in a small cabin near the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. As the song "Coat of Many Colors" describes, the family "had no money" but they "felt as rich as they could be" with the love shared between them.
Dolly Parton ChildrenAfter growing up with such a huge family, you'd probably expect the singer to have a few kids of her own. But it just wasn't in the cards for Dolly and her husband, Carl Thomas Dean. That said, they are close with their many nieces and nephews who affectionately call them Aunt Granny and Uncle PeePaw. How cute is that?