Dolly Parton revealed in an interview on Thursday (July 29) how she spent her royalty checks from Whitney Houston’s mega hit, “I Will Always Love You.”
She invested in a building located in a historically Black neighborhood in Nashville.
“I bought my big office complex down in Nashville, and so I thought, ‘Well, this is a wonderful place to be,’ ” Parton said on Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen.”
Houston, who died in 2012, made the song an international hit through her performance of the ballad in the 1992 film The Bodyguard.
It’s estimated that Parton earned millions in royalties as the songwriter, according to The Washington Post. In the 1990s alone, she earned at least $10 million.
“It was a whole strip mall, and I thought this is the perfect place for me to be, considering it was Whitney, so I just thought, ‘This is great, I’m just going to be down here with her people, who are my people as well,’ ” Parton continued in her conversation with Andy Cohen.
The legendary country singer added, “I love the fact that I spent that money on a complex and I think, ‘This is the house that Whitney built.’”
Nashville historian David Ewing told the Post that Parton’s investment in the Sevier Park neighborhood, now known as 12 South, helped to turn the area into one of the hottest locations in the city.
“We’re just hearing now, because of the Black Lives Matter movement, how down for the cause Dolly has always been — even when others in the music industry weren’t,” Ewing said. “Dolly Parton could have built and bought any piece of property in Nashville. But you would have to have gone out of your way to buy in the 12 South neighborhood, because no Realtor would have shown Dolly that lot to buy.”
Parton wrote “I Will Always Love You” in 1973. Her original version reached No. 1 on Billboard’s country charts twice, according to the Post. Houston’s rendition introduced the tune to a global audience and became one of her signature songs.