Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers Answer Romance Rumors

Country music icons talk about their relationship and new duet.

ByABC News
September 26, 2013, 3:19 PM

Sept. 27, 2013— -- Rumors about whether country music icons Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers were romantically involved have circulated for decades, but in an interview with "Good Morning America," the two set the record straight.

"Never," Parton said. "It never crossed our minds because he was with people. ... I've been with my husband for 48 years. That's not to say I'm blind or dead."

"She never thought I was handsome," Rogers teased.

"I'd always thought he was handsome," Parton said. "I just never thought of him that way. ... I liked him too much. That would screw up everything."

Although the two have appeared on stage together numerous times over the years and even did a movie in 1985 called "Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton: Together," they insist nothing romantic ever happened between them.

"We never consummated anything," Rogers said, laughing. "We just teased each other all [about] it."

"We never even flirted, not in that way," Parton said.

"But you see all us on stage and I'll guarantee you everybody thinks we did," Rogers added.

Both country music legends have been popular targets for the tabloid press over the years. Parton said one of the worst rumors ever printed about her was when tabloids claimed she had Burt Reynolds' child, which wasn't true.

"My husband took a picture of me and my little dog," she said. "My little pop-eyed bulldog and sent a picture over to my office and said, 'Here, have them publish this in the National Enquirer. Here's Dolly and Burt's baby.'"

She has also long been scrutinized for her very voluptuous figure and numerous plastic surgeries, all of which she still takes in stride.

"They say all the time that I'm down in my back because my boobs are so big, that my back is broken, but I'm willing to sacrifice my health for the boobs," Parton said. "And I am."

"Who wouldn't be?" Rogers quipped.

He, too, has been the center of tabloid rumors, even concerning plastic surgery -- Rogers had a face-lift in the 1990s.

"When they got on that whole plastic surgery thing, that was a bit painful even though it was true," he said. "Dolly used to say, 'Look, ol' Kenny's been to Jiffy Suck again.'"

"I think he's really grown into his face-lift now, don't you?" Parton said. "He looks great."

But no matter how much she teases him, Rogers said he knows anything Parton says to him, in her trademark sarcastic way or not, "comes from love."

"There is no way I could ever be offended by it," he said. "We laugh about every single thing there is."

Romantically linked or not, it's obvious that the two country music mega-stars have incredible chemistry, especially when they perform together. Their 1983 duet "Islands in the Stream" became the anthem of a generation and remains one of the best-selling duets ever.

"I love that song the same way like the fans do," Parton said.

"There's no question it's kind of the crown to everything to have done that song with her and had it be accepted so highly worldwide," Rogers said. "No matter where I go ... the one thing they always ask for is 'Islands in the Stream.'"

Now, 30 years later, Rogers and Parton are back together recording another duet for his most recent album, "You Can't Make Old Friends." The two gave "Good Morning America" an exclusive look behind-the-scenes of their video for the new duet while they were filming in Nashville.

"It's really our story," Rogers said. "When you hear the lyrics to it, it's very touching."

Lyrics such as, "What will I do when you're gone? Who's gonna tell me the truth?"

"It really made me very emotional," Parton said. "Even when I was recording it I was tearful, and when I was listening to the demo it really just, you know, it certainly summed us up and our relationship. But it also is such a song of friendship of all kinds."

"There's people that you love through the years that are close to you and think that when you're not together anymore -- it's like you can make new friends, as Kenny says, but you can't make old ones," she added.