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Loretta Lynn Said Her Life Ran ‘From Misery to Happiness — and Sometimes Back to Misery’

Showbiz CheatSheet logo: MainLogo Showbiz CheatSheet 11/22/2022 Katie Rook

Before country music icon Loretta Lynn died at 90, she experienced many personal losses. As such, she once said that her life ran “from misery to happiness — and sometimes back to misery,” and that came before the deaths of two of her children.

Loretta Lynn | David McClister/Lexington Herald-Leader/Tribune News Service/Getty Images © Provided by Showbiz CheatSheet Loretta Lynn | David McClister/Lexington Herald-Leader/Tribune News Service/Getty Images

Loretta Lynn experienced a great deal of misery before 2 of her children died

In Lynn’s 1976 autobiography turned movie, Coal Miner’s Daughter, she wrote, “My life has run from misery to happiness — and sometimes back to misery.”

That was before Lynn’s oldest son, Jack Benny, died in 1984. The 34-year-old left the family ranch on horseback for a ride, as he’d done countless times before. That fateful day, he tried to ford a river but wasn’t successful and drowned. His horse was found standing near where his body was discovered (People). 

Notably, Lynn was exhausted and hospitalized before she learned of her son’s death due to a grueling performance schedule. Her husband, Oliver Lynn, traveled to her hospital bedside to deliver the news. Her manager said, “She took it much better than we expected,” adding, “Loretta’s going to be all right.”

Then, in 2013, Lynn’s oldest child, her daughter, Betty Sue, died from complications of emphysema. “It felt like part of my heart died when she left us. I hated seeing her sick, but I didn’t want to let her go. She was more than a daughter; she was a best friend,” Lynn wrote in a blog post.

“Betty Sue was 63 when we lost her, but that doesn’t matter to a momma,” she shared. “Young or old, no parent should ever have to bury a child. I’ve buried two of mine, and there’s no pain like it.”

Loretta Lynn outlived her husband by more than 25 years

Oliver and Loretta Lynn | Bettmann/Getty Images © Provided by Showbiz CheatSheet Oliver and Loretta Lynn | Bettmann/Getty Images

Despite famous ups and downs, Lynn and Oliver stayed together for 48 years. And she gave him a lot of credit for her country music success.

“If it wasn’t for Doolittle, there would be no career,” Lynn wrote in Coal Miner’s Daughter (People). “I wouldn’t have started singing in the first place, and I wouldn’t have had the inspiration for some of my best songs, in the second place. And I never could have run my business. So in a real sense, Doolittle is responsible for everything we got.”

Before his death, she stopped touring to help with his medical needs. He died in 1996, and she survived him by 26 years. 

Loretta Lynn knew the misery of outliving several of her friends in the country music industry

Loretta Lynn (C), Twitty (L), and Kenny Rogers (R) | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images © Provided by Showbiz CheatSheet Loretta Lynn (C), Twitty (L), and Kenny Rogers (R) | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Throughout her decades in the music industry, Lynn experienced the misery of losing several good friends. She had formed a deep bond with Patsy Cline when she died tragically in 1963. And she was in the hospital with her friend and frequent collaborator Conway Twitty when he died 30 years later in 1993. 

She lamented the deaths of many of her peers in country music, like Tammy Wynette, Kenny Rogers, and Naomi Judd. But she also took a lesson from all that loss.

“Make peace today, forgive each other, slow down and make time for each other, spend time together, say, ‘I love you,” she wrote on her blog. “You always think you have the time until you don’t.”

RELATED: Loretta Lynn Once Said Her Husband ‘Ran Around’ From the Start but ‘Denied It to the End’

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