Oprah’s ‘Humiliating’ Questions To Dolly Parton Spark Backlash

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When Oprah Winfrey asked Dolly Parton some personal questions during a resurfaced interview, the country singer took control. Footage of the incident went viral, with people fiercely criticizing Winfrey and accusing her of trying to humiliate Parton.

Oprah Winfrey conducted a 2003 interview with Dolly Parton. (Credit: YouTube)

Oprah Winfrey interviewed Dolly Parton in 2003. The video resurfaced and quickly went viral on social media. Some viewers accused Winfrey of being cruel and attempting to humiliate the country music legend, and some of Winfrey’s questions were harshly criticized.

The interview originally occurred when Parton’s tribute album Just Because I’m A Woman was released, and the topic turned to Parton’s reputation for getting plastic surgery. While Parton is extremely open about her choice to go under the knife, some viewers saw Winfrey’s probing inquiries as disrespectful.

Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton participated in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2003. (Credit: YouTube)

Oprah Winfrey asked Dolly Parton how she was “defying age,” and Parton joked that she was “a cartoon” in response to the question. “No, but you’ve been open about how you’ve had some work done,” Winfrey continued to push.

“Some tucks and pulls and sucks, and I’ll have some more when I need ’em,” Parton continued. When Winfrey expressed incredulity, the country music legend shared her mindset on the topic. “I have a funny little thing I was telling the girls, all the girls that are singing on the tribute album, a lot of them are very young,” she explained. “I said ‘I was already into plastic surgery when they were still sleeping on plastic sheets.'”

Shania Twain, Dolly Parton, and Oprah Winfrey in 2003 (Credit: YouTube)

The second part of the interview elicited the most concern from viewers. Parton dodged Winfrey’s inquiries by making jokes about herself. Parton claimed she was a “show dog” who needed continual maintenance, and she joked that her famed breasts were “weapons of mass distraction.” Winfrey asked, “When you hit your 40s, I heard you went into a huge depression.”

Parton took the question in stride, and her brilliant answers were equal parts of honesty and grace. “That wasn’t ’cause I was 40, that’s just because I was fat and 40,” Parton replied. “I really had a lot of problems during that time, a lot of female problems.”

Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2022. (Credit: YouTube)

“Just hormones, and it just wasn’t just a depression thing,” Parton added. “Just changing around. But I’m ok now. It was one of the best things that ever happened to me because it made me take inventory. I’d never slowed up, I’ve been working since I was like 10 years old.”

Video clips of the 2003 interview have garnered millions of views. A user who uploaded one of the videos wrote in the caption, “I feel like Oprah wanted her to be embarrassed, but Ms Dolly said ‘nope.'”

Some social media users blasted Oprah Winfrey for how she conducted the 2003 interview with Dolly Parton.

One viewer said, “Oprah looked so salty when she couldn’t get her to react how she wanted.. Lmaoo.”

Another wrote, “The sad part is as I look back on a lot of interviews by Oprah, she was asking backhanded questions with the intention of humiliating her guests.”

A third added, “Oprah seemed annoyed that she took the plastic surgery question so well.”

While another added: “She’s nasty! Dolly Parton has class, Oprah’s just jealous and nasty.”

Dolly Parton is beloved by millions. She has routinely downplayed her talent and isn’t afraid to be vulnerable about her struggles. Parton has been using self-deprecation onstage for decades. She figured if she poked fun at herself first, it would take the wind out of anyone else trying to get the better of her. In the process, she earned the admiration of her fans for being real about the not-so-real. She also has a graciousness that no one can deny.