Inside Dolly Parton's Brave Battle With Mental Illness

Dolly Parton appears to always be chipper and in a great mood, but behind the scenes the country star has battled crippling depression so bad she was once mere seconds away from blowing out her brains.

Parton described how battling her mental illness left her feeling "sad-hearted and melancholy" and "there are times when you just don't want to get up."

She blames her depression on her "tender-hearted" nature, as well as her background.

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"Depression runs in my family on both sides and I have to be wary," she has explained. "If there are problems sometimes it's a lot for one little person to carry."

In fact, the burden of depression became almost impossible for Parton to bear in 1984 when she learned she would have to undergo a partial hysterectomy and could never have a family of her own.

During that dark period, Parton placed a loaded gun to her head and was ready to pull the trigger. Miraculously, at that moment, her dog Popeye came scampering into the room, a heaven-sent sign to keep going, she now believes.

Dolly Parton

"I don't think I would have done it," she said. "And yet I can't say for sure … it was a really bad time and it took two years just trying to get my physical weight and hormones in order."

"I have a great faith," she added. "If it gets to a point where I think I can't quite handle it, I take it straight to God."

For more of Dolly's juiciest secrets and scandals, tune in to National Enquirer Investigates, April 12 at 9/8 central on REELZ!

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