Dolly Parton passed on the Presidential Medal of Freedom twice
We may collectively always love Dolly Parton, but she doesn't need another award to affirm that fact.
On Monday, the prolific singer-songwriter revealed on The Today Show that she had declined two offers to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom over the last four years. It wasn't a politically motivated decision, rather it arose out of other life circumstances.
"I couldn't accept it because my husband was ill and then they asked me again about it and I wouldn't travel because of the COVID," she said. Parton also explained that she had since heard from President Joe Biden about potentially receiving the award, but fears it would be misconstrued as a political statement if she were to accept now after previously declining.
"Now I feel like if I take it, I'll be doing politics, so I'm not sure," she said. "But I don't work for those awards. It'd be nice but I'm not sure that I even deserve it. But it's a nice compliment for people to think that I might deserve it."
Last fall, former President Barack Obama took some good-natured heat from comedian Stephen Colbert about not giving Parton the award, which he admitted was a mistake, confessing he assumed she already had received one. Obama then quipped he'd reach out to his former vice president, Joe Biden, about rectifying the error.
At any rate, it seems the Biden administration is keen to recognize the singer, who has penned over 3,000 songs and has 10 Grammy Awards. Parton is also an avid philanthropist, forwarding the cause of literacy through her own organization Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, as well as helping those in need via her Dollywood Foundation.
She made headlines last year when it was revealed she donated $1 million to help fund coronavirus research at Vanderbilt University, which helped develop the Moderna vaccine currently being distributed.
In recent years the Presidential Medal of Freedom has gone to the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, James Taylor, Bob Dylan, and posthumously, to Elvis Presley. Though Parton has yet to accept this honor, she has previously received the National Medal of Arts at the annual Kennedy Center Honors ceremony.