PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. — Country music star Dolly Parton opened up about how her faith impacts every project she tackles, from penning a chart-topping song to executive-producing her forthcoming Netflix series, “Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings.”
On Tuesday, the legendary singer/songwriter discussed her faith with The Christian Post at the red carpet premiere of her new Netflix anthology series, which launches Nov. 22.
“I just try to use the talent that God gave me,” Parton told CP. “So when I write songs, and with anything I do, I always pray about it and hope I do the right thing. I ask for forgiveness if I didn't do the right thing. I really love the fact that I've had a chance to do these songs and see them come to life, and to just be able to stand here and do it. So I thank God for all of it.”
The 73-year-old star executive produced “Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings” which will tell the stories behind eight of her hit songs, including “Jolene,” “Two Doors Down,” “Sugar Hill” and more, each with a different theme and cast for each episode.
The red carpet premiere of “Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings” was held at Dollywood, the amusement park Parton founded in her hometown several decades ago.
“You can only imagine how special it is now finally having seen that dream come true; I always dreamed about having my songs on the screen and then being able to be here in my theme park, here in my hometown, with my family and friends around,” Parton said. “And this is the perfect place to kind of celebrate that dream. And it's worldwide; it's a world premiere. We're going to be all over the world. So why not do it from home? Home is home. There’s no place like it.”
Parton also opened up about her decadeslong marriage to Carl Thomas Dean. She revealed that the couple, who wed in 1966, renewed their vows three years ago on their 50th anniversary.
"We got up, got remarried, dressed all up," she recalled. "I had a beautiful wedding gown and all the stuff I didn't get to do in our first marriage."
And while Dean didn’t appear at the red carpet — “he hates all that commotion,” Parton explained — the “I Will Always Love You” singer said her husband is “proud for me.”
“He's great and we get along great,” Parton said. “We have a lot of fun together, we respect each other ... he makes me laugh all the time. We both have a warped sense of humor. That’s one of the things that's kept us together all this time.”
Filmed in Dollywood, each episode of “Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings” features several A-list actors, including: Parton, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Julianne Hough, Delta Burke, Andy Mientus, Ben Lawson, and Jessica Collins, among others.
Many of the stars also walked the red carpet, including Williams-Paisley, who's best known for her role in the “Father of the Bride” series. Williams-Paisley stars alongside both Parton and Julianne Hough in “Jolene,” an episode that tells the story of the unexpected friendship between the women who find themselves part of the iconic love triangle.
She told CP that working with Parton on the project was a “dream come true.”
“[Dolly] means so much to so many people,” Wiliams-Paisley said. “She’s inspired so many people and touched their hearts and lifted them up. It's really special to be a part of this project.”
The actress, who has been married to country star Brad Paisley since 2003, revealed that starring in “Jolene” reminded her of the importance of “putting your marriage first.”
“I would say, be realistic,” she said when asked what advice she would offer married couples. “Give each other breaks. It doesn't have to be perfect, you know. Take a breath, take a breather, and then try to find your sense of humor and keep working on it.”
Kyle Bornheimer, who stars opposite Kathleen Turner and Ginnifer Goodwin in the episode “These Old Bones,” also reflected on Parton’s “magical ability” to bring joy to those around her.
“She carries us so gracefully, so grounded, so human,” he said. “She's very easy to talk to, but at the same time, she's juggling a million things and she's doing it with complete grace. It's very impressive and very inspiring.”
Bornheimer revealed that each episode of “Heartstrings,” while varied in tone, from love stories and inspirational tales to family dramas, Westerns, and revenge comedies, reminds viewers to be kinder to both themselves and to one another.
“In my episode, there’s a tremendous amount of tolerance of understanding; not judging someone until you have spent some time with them and know their experience,” he shared. “I love that message of it.”
“This is a really rich episode,” he said, adding, “I think the series is [rich] in theme, style, performance, and dialogue. It’s a really well put together show that I think has a lot going for it.”