Dolly Parton had to sleep in her car before she was a star

When the 'Jolene' hitmaker first hit the road with her uncle to perform, the pair would sleep in their vehicle to save money and Parton would do her makeup in the car mirror.

FILE: Singer/actor Dolly Parton speaks onstage during The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Picture: AFP.

LONDON - When Dolly Parton used to travel to perform with her uncle Bill at the start of her career, she used to sleep in a car and do her hair and makeup in a car window.

When the _Jolene _hitmaker first hit the road with her uncle to perform, the pair would sleep in their vehicle to save money.

In an interview with Reese Witherspoon on her new show Shine on with Reese, the 9 to 5 hitmaker opened up on her humble beginnings, saying: "We'd sleep in the car, that was our room ... my bedroom was the backseat and [Bill's] was the front seat. I'd wash my hair in the filling station bathrooms and put makeup on in the side mirror of the car, and that was just how you did it."

The country legend grew up with 11 siblings in East Tennessee with the family struggling to make ends meet and having to get by without running water.

Despite their difficulties, Parton's mother Avie always encouraged her to follow her dreams, even though her dad Robert wasn't as keen on his little girl being a singer, and it is that advice and support which made her the global icon she is now.

The 72-year-old star said: "Daddy didn't want me getting out in the world. He didn't even want me to go to school - but that wasn't in a bad way he was just afraid something bad was gonna happen to his girls. But Momma knew that I had a strength. She knew I knew what I wanted and who I was so she would fight for me a lot when I'd wanted to go places Daddy didn't want me to go to sing, like to Nashville with my Uncle Bill."

The singer also discussed her famous song and 1980 film 9 to 5 with Witherspoon - who is a big fan of Parton - and admits the two things changed her life and were a massive feminist statement at the time.

She said: "When I did 9 to 5 with Jane (Fonda) and Lily (Tomlin) years ago we made a great statement at that time. You know you need to be paid for what you do, you need to be respected for what you do, appreciated for what you do. Whether you're a man or a woman it doesn't matter about any of that you just should be looked at as a human being and treated with respect."