Dolly parton’s Hawaiian heritage is something of a secret.
But on Wednesday she was the first person to appear on the popular television show Hawaii Five-O.
Her appearance, dubbed “Hawaii’s most-watched guest spot”, was seen by more than 10 million people in the US alone and was a huge hit.
In a joint appearance on the CBS show, Parton and her family said the US is not the “last place on earth where people will be born again” and that Hawaii was not only the place where “there’s always going to be love and there’s always gonna be happiness”.
But parton was quick to add that “there is still love and joy in Hawaii”.
“I’m so blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of that,” she said, “and I hope that’s what’s happening for all of us”.
Parton was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on the island of Kauai, to an American mother and Japanese father.
Her mother died when Parton was nine years old.
In the late 1960s, Partons family moved to Hawaii, where she worked in an amusement park and went on to attend the University of Hawaii.
“Hawaii was a place where I didn’t think I could do anything but work and live,” she told the ABC’s Q&A programme.
“It was a small place.
I was raised in a small town where we didn’t have a lot of money, so it was really difficult to get any kind of job.”
She then went to New York, where, aged 17, she moved to New Jersey to be with her mother.
It was in New Jersey that she met actor-actress Dolly and her sister, actor George.
In 1973, the Partons moved back to Hawaii and in 1978 became the first couple in the state to be married.
It’s been a tough life for Parton, who says she has been treated “like an outcast” by her family since her husband’s death in 1991.
But she’s not done fighting her own battles, and she recently opened a new charity, the Hawaii Foundation for Children, which aims to give every child in the island state a chance to become a Hawaiian.
“I think we are on the cusp of a miracle,” she explained.
“It is possible to give a child, whether it’s an 8-year-old girl or a 12-year old boy, who may be homeless, a chance.”
Parton has said the foundation’s aim is to provide children “a chance to be healthy, to get an education, to be able to be accepted, to have an opportunity to go to college and have an education”.
She said the charity’s motto is: “It’s a long road, but we are all on the same team”.