Loretta Lynn's Extraordinary Life Was Darker Than We Knew

You don't make history by playing nice; that's a fact Loretta Lynn could attest to. Her voice was sweet as sugar, but over her incredible 60-year career the "Queen of Country" never backed down from a fight worth fighting. Loretta may have ruffled a few feathers over the years with her beliefs and headstrong ways, but one look at her extraordinary life and it's clear that the old adage is true: you don't mess with a coal miner's daughter.

Struggling to get by

After all, growing up one of eight children in a poor Kentucky household isn't exactly the kind of thing that softens a person up. In fact, Loretta's family was so poor that they couldn't even afford wallpaper; they glued pages from Sears catalogs on the walls instead.

A new life

But Loretta managed to escape this life at the ripe young age of 15, marrying Oliver "Doolittle" Lynn just a month after meeting him and moving to the logging community of Custer, Washington, soon after. Yet even with a fresh start, things were far from picture-perfect.

Far from a fairy tale

Doolittle was a notorious womanizer and alcoholic, and on numerous occasions arguments between the couple turned physical. Loretta, however, didn't take his abuse lying down, later recalling, "He never hit me one time that I didn't hit him back twice."

In need of an escape

Yet the constant ups and downs of her marriage took a toll, and by the time she was just 20 years old, she found herself an overworked and underappreciated mother of three. Loretta longed for simpler times back in Kentucky. And then in 1953, Doolittle bought her a guitar.