Dolly Parton used royalties from Whitney Houston song to support a Black neighborhood: 'The house that Whitney built'

Country legend Dolly Parton was on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen Thursday, where she revealed the big purchase she made with royalties money from “I Will Always Love You.” The 1973 song of hers was covered by Whitney Houston in 1992, and became a massive hit on the soundtrack for Houston’s film, The Bodyguard.

“I bought my big office complex down in Nashville. So I thought, ‘well this is a wonderful place to be,’” Parton said, after Cohen asked what the best thing was that she bought or invested in with the royalties.

Parton reportedly made $10 million from the song in the 90’s, and continues to make money from it to this day. So while buying an office complex is no biggie, it’s where and why she bought it that makes it special to her.

“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. And it was off the beaten path from 16th avenue,” Parton said. “And I thought, ‘well I am going to buy this place, the whole strip mall.’ And thought, ‘this is the perfect place for me to be,’ considering it was Whitney.”

Parton has always spoken very highly of Houston and her version of the song, saying that she had to pull off the road to avoid crashing because she was so moved the first time she heard it. So that love for Houston, paired with Parton’s notorious business savvy (Dollywood anyone?!) and a driving desire to help people, made her new office space purchase the perfect fit.

“So I just thought this was great, I’m just gonna be down here with her people, who are my people as well,” Parton said. “And so I just love the fact that I spent that money on a complex. And I think, ‘this is the house that Whitney built.’”

Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen airs Sunday through Thursday evenings on Bravo.

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