These days, Dolly Parton is known for her winning smile and irrepressible personality. But the country legend has had ups and downs in her life, and once even thought about suicide, according to a new book compiling her interviews over the years.
People reports that a new book, Dolly on Dolly, Interviews and Encounters with Dolly Parton, collects a series of interviews Parton has given over five decades. The music icon has not signed off on or participated in the book herself, but the book reflects 50 years of Parton opening up about her life-both the good times and the darkest moments.
In one interview from Ladies' Home Journal excerpted in the book, Parton reveals that she once contemplated suicide in the 1980s after having an "affair of the heart" that went wrong. At the same time, she was dealing with health issues and family drama, and had just gotten off the set of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, an experience she called a "nightmare."
The "special friend" caused her heartbreak that "just about killed me," she said at the time. "Oh, I cried an ocean." She started binge eating which caused her to gain weight, and she had to cancel more concerts because of her health issues. She ended up leaving the spotlight almost entirely for two years.
"It was devastating to be in that depressed state of mind," she said. "For about six months there I woke up every morning feeling dead." Parton said that at her darkest point, she saw her handgun in her bedroom, looked at it for a while, and picked it up. But then, her dog Popeye came running to her. "The tap-tap-tap of his paws jolted me back to reality," she said. "I suddenly froze. I put the gun down. Then I prayed. I kinda believe Popeye was a spiritual messenger from God, y'know?"
The dramatic moment helped Parton have greater empathy for people who go through hard times. "I kind of think it was God's way of bringing to my knees long enough to pray," she said.
If you or someone else is dealing with suicidal thoughts, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit their website.
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