Dolly Parton used royalties from 'I Will Always Love You' to support a Black neighborhood in Nashville
The country star originally wrote and performed the hit song in 1973 as a farewell to her then-partner, Porter Wagoner. The tune went on to become a massive hit when Houston covered it for the film The Bodyguard in 1992, and according to Forbes made Parton $10 million in royalties. In an interview with Andy Cohen on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live, Parton revealed that she had Houston in mind when she was deciding how to spend those earnings.
"I bought my big office complex down in Nashville. I bought a property down in what was the Black area of town, and it was mostly just Black families and people that lived around there," said Parton. "And it was off the beaten path from 16th Avenue. And I thought, 'Well, I am going to buy this place, the whole strip mall.' And thought, 'This is the perfect place for me to be,' considering it was Whitney."
"So I just thought this was great, I'm just going to be down here with her people, who are my people as well," Parton added. "And so I just love the fact that I spent that money on a complex. And I think, 'this is the house that Whitney built.'"
Last year, Parton told PEOPLE that she specifically remembered her feelings when she heard Houston's version of the song — and it was love from day one. "You never know when you're writing songs, how they're going to turn out," she admitted. "But after 'I Will Always Love You' became a worldwide thing [in 1992], it was in the movie [The] Bodyguard, and it was No. 1. I really felt my worth."