Over 40 Years Later, Woman Finally Comes Forward As Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’

CBS This Morning

The woman that fueled inspiration for one of the most memorable songs in country music may have just been uncovered.

Back in 1973, Dolly Parton first released her hit song “Jolene” to radio airwaves and it was received with massive success, played millions of times, selling a seemingly endless number of albums, and covered by artists both young and old.


That same song has often been the subject of speculation since the content talks about a woman speaking directly to her husband’s admirer or mistress, saying “I’m begging of you please don’t take my man.”

A new report published by CBC News reveals that a local British Columbia woman believes she may be the inspiration for the song…but not in the way you might thing.

Dolly has revealed before that the inspiration for “Jolene” was drawn from two sources: the banker that wouldn’t stop flirting with her husband, and the beautiful little girl she once met at a concert.

Well, Juline Whelan (whose name is often mispronounced as Jolene), recalls meeting Dolly Parton as a 10-year-old just a year before “Jolene” was released, but the similarities don’t end there.

Whelan was on a trip to Disneyland with her parents when she saw Parton performing at a country music concert, according to how Parton recalls the story – the coincidences are shocking.

“I got the name from a little girl that had come up to the stage for an autograph in my early, early career,” Parton once told Norwegian television program Lydverket. “And I said, ‘you are the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen.’ She had this red hair, green eyes and fair skin. And I said ‘what is your name?’ and she said ‘Jolene.'”

Whelan says that she approached Parton at the end of her segment during an autograph session because she loved her music so much, but Whelan says that she doesn’t recall the conversation with the superstar.

Credit: Juline Whelan/CBC

Beyond just the story lining up with Parton’s tale of inspiration, Whelan showed a photo to CBC News of her around that age and she fits the description Parton used perfectly!

For now it’s just speculation, unless Parton comes forward to confirm Whelan’s story, but Whelan does say that she’s hoping to get another chance to meet with Parton when she performs in Vancouver this September.

Watch the video of Parton’s “Jolene” below and let us know what you think about Whelan’s claim in the comments!

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