Dolly Parton has done great work for children all over the country, but she's never had any of her own. In a new interview with Oprah Winfrey, the country icon reveals the real reason she decided not to have kids — and how that decision has affected her life.

Parton talked to Winfrey for Friday's (Nov. 13) episode of Apple TV+'s The Oprah Conversation, and during the conversation, she said that not having children had given her the opportunity to focus more on her legendary career. She also cited her unusual marriage with her husband of more than 50 years, Carl Dean. Dean avoids the spotlight, and the couple often spends long periods of time apart.

"Since I had no kids, and my husband was pretty independent, I had freedom," Parton explains (quote via People). "So I think a big part of my whole success is the fact that I was free to work."

Parton is one of 12 children herself, and she's passionate about helping children via her Imagination Library, which she launched in 1995 to provide books to children. That's just one of the things she's been able to focus on by not having kids of her own.

"I didn't have children because I believed that God didn't mean for me to have kids so everybody's kids could be mine, so I could do things like Imagination Library because if I hadn't had the freedom to work, I wouldn't have done all the things I've done," Parton continues. "I wouldn't be in a position to do all of the things I'm doing now."

Now 74, Parton shows no signs of slowing down. She recently released a new Christmas album, A Holly Dolly Christmas, and has just announced plans for a television special under that same title, which is slated to air on CBS on Dec. 6 beginning at 8:30PM ET and will stream on CBS All Access. She'll also star in a Netflix film titled Christmas on the Square, which premieres on Nov. 22.

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