Jennifer Nettles is a country singer, songwriter, actress, and record producer who is best known as the lead vocalist of the duo Sugarland. She has also released several solo albums and starred in various TV and film projects. One of her most notable roles was playing Dolly Parton’s mother, Avie Lee, in the NBC movies Coat of Many Colors and Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love. But is Jennifer Nettles related to Dolly Parton in real life? Here’s what we know about their connection.
How Jennifer Nettles Met Dolly Parton
Jennifer Nettles first met Dolly Parton in 2005, when Sugarland opened for her on her The Vintage Tour. Nettles was a huge fan of Parton and was thrilled to share the stage with her. She even got to sing a duet with her on the classic song “9 to 5”. According to Rolling Stone, Nettles said that Parton was “so gracious and so kind” and that she learned a lot from her.
How Jennifer Nettles Became Dolly Parton’s Mother
In 2015, Jennifer Nettles was cast as Dolly Parton’s mother in the TV movie Coat of Many Colors, which was based on Parton’s childhood and her song of the same name. The movie was a huge success, drawing more than 15 million viewers and earning an Emmy nomination. Nettles reprised her role in the sequel, Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love, which aired in 2016.
Nettles said that playing Parton’s mother was an honor and a challenge. She had to portray a woman who was strong, loving, faithful, and resilient, despite facing many hardships and tragedies. She also had to master the Appalachian accent and sing some of Parton’s songs. Nettles said that she felt a special bond with Parton and her family while making the movies. She told Guideposts that she felt like she was “part of something bigger than myself”.
How Jennifer Nettles and Dolly Parton Stay in Touch
Jennifer Nettles and Dolly Parton have remained friends and collaborators over the years. They have performed together on several occasions, such as the CMA Awards, the ACM Awards, and the Today Show. They have also recorded songs together, such as “Tomorrow Is Forever” for Parton’s album Pure & Simple, and “Circle of Love” for Nettles’ album To Celebrate Christmas.
Nettles said that she admires Parton for her talent, generosity, humor, and wisdom. She said that Parton is “a living legend” and “a national treasure”. She also said that Parton is like a mentor and a fairy godmother to her. She told Rolling Stone that Parton is “one of those people who you feel like you’ve known your whole life”.
Jennifer Nettles and Dolly Parton are not related by blood, but they share a musical bond that goes beyond family ties. They have worked together on several projects and have supported each other’s careers. They have also become close friends who respect and love each other. Jennifer Nettles once said that Dolly Parton is “the closest thing to an angel I’ve ever met”.