Loretta Lynn has been a staple in the country music industry over the last six decades, but the “You Ain’t Woman Enough” artist was a mom long before she ever took the stage. Once she rose to fame in the 1960s, Loretta did the best job raising her six children, Cissie, Ernest, Peggy, Patsy and late kids Betty and Jack.
The country icon signed her first contract with Zero Records in 1960, which led to the release of her first hit song “I’m A Honky Tonk Girl.” She started her family more than a decade earlier, however, when she tied the knot with her late husband, Oliver Vanetta “Doolittle” Lynn, in 1948. Loretta was just 15 years old at the time.
Despite her young age, the “Fist City” songstress and Oliver, a former mining worker and talent manager, welcomed their first child, Betty, later that year. By age 20, Loretta was the mom of four after giving birth to Jack, Cissie and Ernest. The couple’s youngest kids, twins Peggy and Patsy, were born years later in 1964.
At the time Loretta and Oliver — who were married up until his death in 1996 — experienced parenthood, the Grammy Award winner was staying home with the kids while her hubby worked to make ends meet. After Oliver heard Loretta singing while doing chores around the house, he bought her a $17 Harmony guitar, according to Country Thang Daily.
For years, Loretta taught herself to play guitar, and by the late 1950s, she joined a band called the Trailblazers with her brother Jay Webb. She then appeared during a televised contest in Tacoma, Washington, in 1960, which caught the eye of Zero Records cofounder Norm Burley, who offered her a contract shortly after.
Throughout the years, Loretta’s children watched as their mom paved one of the most acclaimed careers in country music. Because her older children, Betty, Jack, Cissie and Ernest, were already born long before she became a star, Loretta said she “[felt] sorry” for her younger kids, Peggy and Patsy.
“I don’t worry about the older kids,” the “You’re Lookin’ at Country” singer told The Washington Post in May 1980. “They remember what it was like when we were poor. But the twins have always had everything they ever wanted.”
As her kids grew up, they not only embraced their mom’s fame and superstardom, but they pursued their own careers. Betty, Cissie, Ernest, Peggy and Patsy all become country singers and songwriters, while Jack was a successful rancher.
To learn more about Loretta’s family, keep scrolling below.
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