Her list of titles seems to go on longer than a telephone book, but there is one Dolly Parton is missing: mother. Throughout her incredible, decades-long career, fans have always wondered why the beloved icon and her husband, Carl Thomas Dean, never had any children.

Although the 73-year-old beauty never gave an exact reason as to why she chose to not have any kids, Dolly exclusively admitted to Closer Weekly that she didn’t regret her choice. “God has a plan for everything and I think it probably was His plan for me not to have kids, so that everybody’s kids could be mine,” she shared in October 2017.

Usa Academy Awards - Mar 2006
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Despite the fact that she’s had her hands full as one of the busiest performers in country music, Dolly revealed that she and Carl — who tied the knot more than 50 years ago in 1996 — actually toyed with the idea of having children. “My husband and I, when we first got married, we thought about if we had kids, ‘What would they look like? Would they be tall because he’s tall? Or would they be little squats like me?'” the “Jolene” songstress shared with Glamour U.K. back in 2014.

Dolly even dished that the couple would’ve named their child “Carla” had it been a girl. “Anyway, we talked about it, and we dreamed it, but it wasn’t meant to be,” she then stated to the outlet, adding that she and Carl, 77, are actually happy with their decision to refrain from having kids. “Now that we’re older? We’re glad.”

Looking back, the Heartstrings star said although she thinks she “would have been a great mother,” she would’ve been forced to take a step back in terms of her Hollywood superstardom. “I would probably have given up everything else. Because I would’ve felt guilty about that, if I’d have left them,” Dolly explained. “Everything would have changed. I probably wouldn’t have been a star.”

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Even though Dolly and Carl never got the chance to experience the joys of parenting, the “Islands in the Stream” singer ensured the Daily Mail in December 2018, that she and her longtime hubby most definitely aren’t lonely. “We always had a lot of family around,” Dolly explained of her closest loved ones, including goddaughter Miley Cyrus. “A lot of my younger siblings came to live with my husband and me in Nashville and some of them went to school there.”

She continued, “They loved being with me, and I loved having them. And now I have the Imagination Library [non-profit organization] and have worked with so many kids. So my husband and I don’t regret it — we think about it sometimes and say, ‘Lord, if we had some kids and grandkids now, they’d be driving us crazy!'” she adorably quipped at the time. “So this way, we just get to be each other’s kids.”

At least Dolly and Carl will always have each other!