Dolly Parton Says She Used 'I Will Always Love You' Royalties to Support a Black Neighborhood

·2 min read

Dolly Parton is proud to say she invested her royalties from "I Will Always Love You" into the Black community.

On Thursday, the "Jolene" singer was put in the hot seat during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live, where she answered fun questions about her personal life and impressive music career.

During the show, host Andy Cohen asked Parton about the best thing she has ever bought with the royalties she earned from Whitney Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You" — a song Parton, 75, originally wrote and recorded in 1973 as a farewell to her former partner, Porter Wagoner.

"I bought my big office complex down in Nashville. So I thought, 'Well, this is a wonderful place to be,' " Parton said. "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. It was off the beaten path from 16th Avenue and I thought, 'Well, I am gonna buy this place — the whole strip mall.' And I thought, 'This is the perfect place for me to be,' considering it was Whitney."

She continued, "I thought this was great — I'm just gonna be down here with her people, who are my people as well. So I just love the fact that I spent that money on a complex and I think, 'This is the house that Whitney built.' "

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Dolly Parton; Whitney Houston
Dolly Parton; Whitney Houston

Valerie Macon/Getty Images; Scott Gries/ImageDirect Dolly Parton (L); Whitney Houston

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According to Forbes, Parton made about $10 million in royalties from the Grammy-winning song throughout the '90s, and the country-music legend continues to earn money from the timeless hit.

Last year, Parton talked to PEOPLE about some of her greatest hits, saying she distinctly remembers the day she comprehended the value of her words when she heard Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You" on the radio.

"You never know when you're writing songs, how they're going to turn out," Parton recalled in September. "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."

Does Dolly Parton Stay So Positive?
Does Dolly Parton Stay So Positive?

Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen Dolly Parton

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She continued, "Whitney did such a fantastic job. And I thought, 'Wow. I wrote that little song.' That's when I felt my worth as a songwriter. This is my gift and I'm going to do the best I can with it."

Despite the ballad's success, Parton admitted to Cohen that she still wishes she could've performed the song with Houston before she died in 2012.

"I was never asked to perform that with Whitney. I wish that could have happened. I would've loved that but I don't think I could've come up to [sing] with her, though — she would've outsung me on that one for sure," she said in the interview.

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