Dolly Parton
Country music legend Dolly Parton Getty

Country music legend Dolly Parton, who has been married to Carl Dean for nearly 51 years, considered taking her own life after having an affair in the early 1980s that left her with a broken heart, she has revealed in new book Dolly on Dolly.

In the compilation of interviews with the Grammy winner, she revealed she was staring at a gun from her nightstand drawer. The sudden appearance of her dog, a Boston terrier named Popeye, saved her from pulling the trigger.

"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... 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," the Islands in the Stream hitmaker said, according to the Daily Mail.

"I don't think I'd have done it, killed myself, but I can't say for sure. Now that I've gone through that terrible moment, I can certainly understand the possibilities, even for someone solid like me if the pain gets bad enough."

Speaking about the affair, Parton said: "I cried an ocean. But I ain't gonna talk about it anymore. I've got to keep some mystery."

The 71-year-old songstress also opened up about her poor upbringing that saw her and her 11 siblings bathe in a river during the summers, while in the winters they had to make do with a pan of water.

Sharing a bed with four others during the freezing winters meant that someone inevitably wet the bed – however, this was a blessing in disguise for Parton. "That was the only warm thing we knew in the wintertime. That was our most pleasure to get peed on. If you kept the air out from under the cover, the pee didn't get so cold. Lord, it was as cold in the room where we slept as it was outside," she said.

Parton also opened up about her sexual exploration as a young girl.

"We had uncles and cousins that were maybe two or three years older than us that knew a lot of stuff. When they would come to visit us, they'd teach us all kinds of meanness or tell us about this or that. And soon as we got a chance, we'd try it – sexual things."

"I always had an open mind about sex. We all did. It was not a vulgar thing. We didn't know what we were doin', we just knew we weren't supposed to let Momma and Daddy know it. We would just play doctor and nurse, just explore and experiment. I always loved sex. I never had a bad experience with it. I was just very emotional. To me, sex was not dirty. It was somethin' very intimate and very real."

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