The Queen of Country Music would like you to know that rumours about her being gay are all a bunch of hooey. In an interview with "Nightline" on Monday to promote her new memoir, "Dream More," Dolly Parton finally addressed long-circulating rumours that she is gay and is involved in a relationship with childhood friend Judy Ogle.
"Judy and I have been best friends since we were like in the third and fourth grade," Parton said. "We still just have a great friendship and relationship and I love her as much as I love anybody in the whole world, but we're not romantically involved."
The 66-year-old "Jolene" singer added that she and Oprah Winfrey, who has also been linked to her best friend, Gayle King, had bonded over the charges.
Parton is not only straight, she has been married to the same man since 1966. She and Carl Thomas Dean, a businessman, reportedly met at a Nashville laundromat in 1964. Her relationship with her 67-year-old hubby has raised eyebrows, since Dean is not often spotted at public events with her and has reportedly seen his wife perform only once.
But in her 1994 book, "Dolly -- My Life and Other Unfinished Business," Parton claimed they spend a lot of time together, it's just that he rarely makes public appearances. In fact, her hit 1973 song "Jolene," about a woman who threatens to steal a housewife's man, was inspired by a redheaded bank teller who charmed Parton's husband.
"She got this terrible crush on my husband. And he just loved going to the bank because she paid him so much attention," Parton told NPR in 2008. "It was kind of like a running joke between us when I was saying, hell, you're spending a lot of time at the bank. I don't believe we've got that kind of money. So it's really an innocent song all around, but sounds like a dreadful one."
The couple celebrated their 45th anniversary in May 2011, and two months later, Parton told QMI Agency, "We're really proud of our marriage. It's the first for both of us. And the last."
But Dean wasn't the only man in Parton's life. In 1974, she released one of her most celebrated songs, "I Will Always Love You," which was famously covered by Whitney Houston in 1992. The track was reportedly about Parton's professional split from Porter Wagoner, the country music singer known as Mr. Grand Ole Opry, with whom she sang numerous duets in the '60s and '70s.
Parton with Porter Wagoner in 2007. (Tony R. Phipps/WireImage)
"I've ... been accused of being involved with every man I'm ever seen with or worked with," Parton told "Nightline." "Maybe I have, maybe I ain't. I never tell if I have. But you know people always saying that."
Though she denies being gay, Parton is a longtime supporter of same-sex marriage. She told QMI last year that Christians who oppose gay unions need to study up.
"They've forgotten that the Bible preaches acceptance, tolerance, and forgiveness," she said.
Parton even hosts a Gay Day at her theme park, Dollywood.