Dolly Parton's Siblings: All About the Country Legend's 11 Brothers and Sisters

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Get to know Dolly Parton’s 11 siblings: Willadeene, David, Coy, Robert Jr., Stella, Cassie, Randy, Larry, Floyd and twins Freida and Rachel

<p>Dolly Parton Instagram</p>

Dolly Parton Instagram

For Dolly Parton, the real stars in her life are her six brothers and five sisters: Willadeene, David, Coy, Robert Jr., Stella, Cassie, Randy, Larry, Floyd and twins Freida and Rachel.

The siblings were raised by parents Robert and Avie Lee Parton in a three-bedroom cabin near the Smoky Mountains in Sevierville, Tennessee. Though the family of 14 didn’t have much, they did have each other and music.

"I grew up in a very musical family, all my mother's people were very musical, so I was always around people playing instruments and singing, and my mom singing the old songs," Dolly told PEOPLE in 2020. "So that was just part of my being and I just knew I loved it. I just continued doing that, it was just a natural thing."

The youngest Parton, Rachel, previously told PEOPLE, “Singing was like breathing at home.” She recalled her and her siblings spending their time “concocting songs” only for their mom to “transcribe the tunes and have the whole tribe sing them after supper.”

The tradition has carried the Parton siblings through their adult years. In 2015, the siblings gathered for the release of the TV movie Coat of Many Colors, which is based on the Parton family's poverty-stricken upbringing.

It brought us back together as family and made us miss mama and daddy a lot,” Dolly told PEOPLE. “They’re gone now, but we get a chance to see our brothers and sisters again and when we were little, and think of mama and daddy and all that they meant to us.”

Related: Watch Dolly Parton Sing with Family in Throwback Clip of Variety Show: &#39;They&#39;re the Stars to Me&#39;

Every Christmas, Dolly honors her late mother’s cooking by fixing up a feast of dumplings for her siblings. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Dolly explained dumplings are her siblings’ favorite dish because her recipe resembles the closest to their mother’s.

“My mom’s dead now, but everybody else, they put too much butter, too much lard, they won’t do this and that. But I still cook good!” Dolly said. “I even make little containers of it and give to my brothers and sisters for Christmas. I usually cook a big, big pot, and then I’ll always have some for them to take home and freeze and thaw out and eat when they get to missin’ me.”

Here’s everything to know about Dolly Parton’s six brothers and five sisters.

Willadeene Parton

<p>Ron Frehm/AP</p>

Ron Frehm/AP

Avie and Robert welcomed their first child, daughter Willadeene, on March 24, 1940. As the oldest child of the Parton clan, Willadeene was often seen as a maternal figure by her younger siblings. Willadeene briefly forayed into music (she was in a gospel music group with a few of her sisters), but eventually found her calling through storytelling.

In 1996, she published her first book, a memoir about her family titled Smoky Mountain Memories: Stories from the Hearts of the Parton Family. The following year, in 1997, she released the cookbook All-Day Singing & Dinner on the Ground with recipes inspired by her Tennessee upbringing. Since then, she’s settled down and away from the spotlight in Tennessee.

Stella Parton

<p>Mike Marsland/WireImage</p>

Mike Marsland/WireImage

Stella was born on May 4, 1949, in Sevierville, Tennessee. Like her sister Dolly, Stella launched a career in the music industry. Her debut album, titled I Want to Hold You in My Dreams Tonight, came out in 1975, and skyrocketed her career immensely. As of date, Stella has dropped over 36 albums. She also starred in Dolly’s 2015 film Coat of Many Colors.

Inspired by Willadeene, Stella penned her own memoir. The 2011 release was titled Tell It Sister, Tell It: Memories, Music and Miracles. She also wrote three cookbooks, including State Fairs and Church Bazaars and Stella Parton’s Country Cookin’. In 2018, she competed in the British TV series Celebrity MasterChef.

While promoting the film Nothing Is Impossible, Stella told PEOPLE she always has "two or three projects on the cooker, in the slow-cooker” at any given time, whether it’s an album or on-screen project. Though Stella pursued more of a solo career, family collaborations have also been a soft spot of hers.

“Everybody knows that I'm independent. I'm a loner in my family," Stella said. "But if they need me, if they call me out to help with something, producing, consulting or whatever, I'm always there."

Related: Stella Parton on Film &#39;Nothing Is Impossible&#39; and Staying Independent: &#39;I&#39;m a Loner in My Family&#39;

She continued, "And they respect and honor that from me. But I've always been a steadfast, capable person. I certainly don't think of myself as above average in talent or intellect, but I am above average in productivity. I will work hard."

At age 19, Stella welcomed son Timothy with then-husband Marvin Carrol Rauhuff. The pair divorced in 1970 after four years of marriage. She was also married to Steven Messer from 1988 to 1991.

Cassie Parton

<p>Katherine Bomboy/NBC/Getty</p>

Katherine Bomboy/NBC/Getty

Cassie was born on Feb. 12, 1951. At a young age, she took up singing and was part of a gospel group with her sisters. Though her professional music career stopped there, she did appear in her sister’s show My People: Dolly’s Letter Home as a vocalist in 2013, per Knox News.

Since her stage days, Cassie has retreated out of the spotlight. As for her personal life, she shares son Bryan Melvin Seaver and daughter Rebecca Ann Seaver with husband Larry Seaver.

Randy Parton

<p>Todd Wetherington/The Daily Herald/AP</p>

Todd Wetherington/The Daily Herald/AP

Born on Dec. 15, 1953, near the family’s home in Sevierville, Tennessee, Randy was the eighth child of the 12 Parton siblings. Much like his famous older sister, Randy had quite a prosperous career in music. In 1986, he headlined his own show at Dollywood and went on to produce chart-topping hits like “Hold Me Like You Never Had Me” and “Shot Full of Love.” He was even featured in a duet with Dolly called “Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You.”

In January 2021, the renowned singer-songwriter died at age 67. Dolly revealed the sad news on Facebook, sharing that her brother “has lost his battle with cancer,” though she and the family found comfort in knowing “he is in a better place than we are at this time.”

"We are a family of faith and we believe that he is safe with God and that he is joined by members of the family that have gone on before and have welcomed him with joy and open arms,” she continued in her statement. Dolly described Randy as “a great singer, writer, and entertainer,” whom she had the joy of watching sing and play “guitar and bass in my band for many years.”

Randy is survived by his wife Deb and daughter Heidi, as well as his son Sabyn from a previous relationship, and grandsons Huston and Trent.

Related: Dolly Parton&#39;s Nephew Sabyn Gets Creative with a Classic in Pulsating Music Video for &#39;9 to 5 to 9&#39;

While promoting his debut EP Halfway There, Sabyn spoke highly of his estranged father, whom he had the chance to reconnect with a year before his death.

"The time that we spent together more than made up for the time that we spent apart," Sabyn told PEOPLE in 2021. "He told me that he loved me and that he was proud of me and that he thought I was really talented. There was just a lot of stuff that didn't need to be said. I was like, 'Hey man, I'm a dude, I got a kid, I have an ex, I get it. We don't have to talk about it.' "

Despite their rocky past, Sabyn chose forgiveness over grievance. "As we get older, we realize that he had much he was struggling with," he continued. "It was not a reflection on me. My dad loved me the best that he could. And what is so beautiful about it now is that we got the best versions of ourselves at the best time for the right amount of time, you know?"

Larry Parton

Avie and Robert's ninth child, a son named Larry, died four days after his birth in July 1955. His death is the subject of Dolly’s 2015 movie Coat of Many Colors, which is also based on the country star’s 1971 hit of the same name.

“My mother, through the years, when we were born, since there were so many of us, used to say, 'This one is gonna be you baby.’ 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,” Dolly recalled to TV critics in 2016, per Fox News.

Though Larry died soon after his birth, he and Dolly shared a very close bond. “This particular baby that passed away in the movie was my baby.”

Dolly was just 9 years old when Larry died and experienced “a lot of heartache.” She added: “All things are hard, but that is what makes your memories. That is what makes you who and what you are.”

Floyd Parton

<p>Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty</p>

Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty

Floyd was born on June 1, 1957, in Sevierville, Tennessee. Like several of his siblings, he found great success in music and even worked alongside sister Dolly. The duo wrote the 1991 duet “Rockin’ Years” with Ricky Van Shelton and “Nickels and Dimes” off Dolly’s Heartbreaker album, both of which hit No. 1 on the charts.

Described as “a renaissance man” with a deep appreciation for the great outdoors, Floyd died in December 2018 at the age of 61. Dolly honored her younger brother and longtime songwriting partner with a song at the private memorial service.

“Dolly, and the entire Parton Family, wish to thank everyone for their kindness,” said the Parton family in a statement to PEOPLE at the time. “Yesterday, we laid our sweet baby brother to rest. We all sang his lovely song, ‘Rockin’ Years,’ together as a family at the service to say goodbye to him. He lived a short life of love and beautiful songs.”

Freida Parton

<p>Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty</p>

Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty

Also born on June 1, 1957, in Sevierville, Tennessee, Freida is Floyd’s twin sister. In her early life, Freida performed in a punk band, which was quite a departure from her family’s country roots. Albeit, she occasionally sang backup on Dolly’s albums.

In 2014, Freida became an ordained minister. She opened a joint chapel and antique store in her hometown of Sevierville called Parton Family Wedding Chapel & Antiques. Speaking with Knoxville News Sentinel at the time, Freida explained she was inspired to “do something really special.” She added: “I love weddings and I love being a part of it because a little bit of that love falls on me. And if I can be a blessing to someone else, I’ve done my job.”

Freida’s daughter, Jada Andersen, has followed in her mom’s and aunt’s musical footsteps. Her stage name is Jada Star, and in 2018 she released her debut album, Long Way Home, alongside her good friend Barry J.

"Well [Dolly Parton's] such an amazing songwriter and kind of writes everything she feels and thinks ... I mean my mother Frieda is the same way," Andersen told Knox News. "My mom's a songwriter, and I grew up with someone who was always writing and feeling and putting it out on paper and teaching me how to play guitar, and she was so influential in that, and she was so influenced by her big sister, so it just sort of was like this little step ladder situation.”

In 2023, Jada appeared on ABC's Claim to Fame, a reality show that brings 12 celebrity relatives together as they compete to discover who they are each related to. She was eliminated in episode 3 after she was revealed to be Dolly's niece.

Rachel Parton

<p>Katherine Bomboy/NBC/Getty</p>

Katherine Bomboy/NBC/Getty

The youngest of the Partons, Rachel was born on Aug. 31, 1959, in Sevierville, Tennessee. Back in the day, Rachel was one of the lead vocalists in the band Honey Creek, which she started with her late brother, Randy.

She eventually transitioned into the world of acting, and is best known for her role in the ABC sitcom 9 to 5, based on Dolly’s film of the same name. In the series, which aired from 1982 to 1988, Rachel portrayed a dramatized version of herself under the name Doralee.

Before she was a recognized actress, Rachel was Dolly’s wing-woman. In a previous interview with PEOPLE, Rachel recalled makeup being her true passion as a young girl; she even spent time on the road with Dolly as her makeup artist and backup singer.

After eighth grade, Rachel dropped out of school and joined Dolly on the road full-time. She then met her future husband Richard Dennison, who had been hired as Dolly’s new pianist. They dated for three years before tying the knot in 1979.

David Parton, Coy Parton and Robert Lee Parton Jr.

Unlike their famous sisters, brothers David, Coy and Robert Lee all lead very private lives out of the spotlight. David and Coy, born in 1942 and 1943, respectively, are Dolly’s older brothers. Her younger brother, Robert Jr., was born in 1948.

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