Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton were long-time collaborators and friends. They sang Islands in the Stream and other classic songs together (and that’s quite romantic, of course.) “There was something going on,” goes one of the lyrics.
However, did Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton ever get together in real life? They claimed no, that they never dated, and they both spoke out in interviews about why a romance between them never happened. Maybe that’s too bad, in the minds of some fans, because the chemistry is obvious:
Over the years, both Kenny and Dolly discussed their relationship; he once claimed she turned him down. Their feelings were clearly deep, but she maintained they were ones of friendship only. “You never know how much you love somebody until they’re gone. I’ve had so many wonderful years and wonderful times with my friend Kenny, but above all the music and the success I loved him as a wonderful man and a true friend,” Dolly wrote in a tribute to Rogers after his death.
Rogers, of course, was famously married five times. He was still married to his fifth wife Wanda Miller at the time of his death, and he described Wanda as his soulmate. Kenny told Reuters of Wanda, “Wanda and I have been together now for 20 years, been married 15 years. She’s 28 years younger than me, and I say this from the bottom of my heart – she is my soul mate. She knows me better than anyone else has known me. She loves what I do and I’m not as insensitive to her needs as I may have been in the past.”
The sad news broke at 1:06 a.m. on March 21, 2020. Rogers died the night before at 10:25 p.m. “The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night at 10:25PM at the age of 81. Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family,” the family wrote.
But what of Kenny and Dolly? Here’s what they said about it:
Dolly Said She Thought of Kenny Like Family But He Claimed She Said ‘No’ to Him
The pair talked about the relationship question in 2017 to The Today Show.
“I’m not his type,” Parton joked after Rogers said, “First of all, she’s hard to look at for me.”
“I’m a believer that tension is better if you keep it than if you satisfy it,” Rogers said. “And then secondly, she said no to me.”
But Dolly disputed that, telling Today, “Nah. You know what, we were almost like brother and sister. And it would almost be like incest. So we just never went there.”
She repeated that they were good friends, telling Today, “We’re really good friends. And we’re so much alike. We know the same people. We laugh at the same kind of jokes. I tell jokes and I tell him not to tell that I told the joke.”
Rogers plastered his Instagram page with photos of him with Dolly. In one post, he called her a “dear friend.”
To be blunt, until his final marriage, Rogers wasn’t really marriage material anyway. Rogers once famously said: “Music, at least for me, is like a mistress, and she’s a difficult mistress for a wife to compete with” when explaining his many marriages.
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