One of Dolly Parton’s great quotes says “…if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”
In a new podcast, the country music queen opens about a dark era in her life.
The 73-year-old singer/songwriter talks about suicide with radio host and superfan Jad Abumrad for the nine-part podcast, “Dolly Parton’s America,” which premiered this week.
“Years ago, I don’t think I got to that place but I do understand how people do,” she responded when Abumrad asked her about suicide, which was a theme in some of her her music in her earlier years.
“This was many years ago, early eighties I think.”
“I got overweight and I was going through the change of life, I was having a lot of female problems, I’d been going through a whole lot of family things, just the stress, the heartache," she continued. "There was just several things going on at that time. I was just broken down.”
“I realty was having some serious conversations with God at that time,” she revealed.
“I just said things like, ‘Look this is ridiculous, I am not happy,’ [and] arguing about why when they say you shouldn’t commit suicide because that’s a sin you can’t get forgiven for,” she said. “Everything was just confusing to me and I was just angry and I was hurt, and I was unhappy, and so I just said ‘You’re going to have to get me some answers or I’m getting out of here. And then we’ll both deal with it.’”
When Abumrad asked how close she got, Parton said, “I don’t know, I don’t know how close I got.”
During a low point, Parton’s dog Popeye jumped up on her bed, "'bout the time I was writing my — you know,” she said of thinking about a writing suicide note. "God is dog spelled backwards, and I always thought that might have been the very thing.”
The eight-time Grammy Award winner did not elaborate more about her health problems at the time, but the music legend had to cancel a tour in 1982 due to abdominal pain and bleeding.
In 1984, the Smoky Mountains, Tenn., region native underwent a partial hysterectomy and was told she would never be able to give birth to children, which led to depression.
She also struggled with binge eating and went through an emotional affair.
Parton turned to her faith and began to “argue with God,” she told Abumrad on the first episode titled “Sad Ass Song,” which is available on Spotify.
Elsewhere in the podcast, the Dollywood Diva recoiled when asked about being a feminist. “I look like a woman but I think like a man...” she quipped. “I guess when you say feminist it’s just when i think at the time, like everybody goes to extremes at times. I do not like extreme things. I do believe in making a point and making it well. I don’t believe in crucifying a whole group just because a few people have made mistakes.”
“To me ... just the word feminist is like ‘I hate all men.’”
The remaining episodes of the expertly-produced “Dolly Parton’s America” will explore her music, personal life and legacy. Alongside great side-effects, interviews with Parton experts and archival soundbites, guest stars will include Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem, and her nephew Bryan Seaver.