No, Dolly Parton hasn't been living a lie for the last 46 years. On Monday night's "Nightline," the country icon, who has been married to the rarely seen Carl Dean since 1966, addressed rumors that she's gay, rumors that have stemmed from her close relationship with longtime best friend Judy Ogle.
"Judy and I have been best friends since we were like in the third and fourth grade," she says in the interview with Juju Chang. "I mean, I love her as much as I love anybody in the whole world, but we're not romantically involved."
The rumors are similar to those that have dogged Oprah Winfrey regarding her relationship with her BFF Gayle King. Parton notes she and Winfrey have laughed about the false reports.
"We do talk about that — Gayle, her friend; Judy, my friend. They just think that you just can't be that close to somebody," she explains.
Despite the fact that many celebs who tie the knot at a young age end up divorcing, Parton and husband Dean, who were 20 and 24 respectively when they wed are still together, in part because he tends to stay out of the spotlight. "He's proud of me. He's just basically shy about things like that. He doesn't like crowds," she said on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in 2010. "And I respect his privacy. I respect the fact that he loves to be out of the limelight. That's one of the reasons I think we've lasted so long."
The couple met the day Parton arrived in Nashville in 1964. "I wasn't a star then, so I've never had to worry that he loves me because I'm a star and I've got money or make money or whatever. I know he loves me for me, and that means a lot to me," she shared during the same interview with Winfrey.
Parton was candid about plenty of other topics during this week's "Nightline" interview, which took place at her Tennessee theme park Dollywood. When asked if she indeed originally modeled herself after the "town tramp," Parton gave a resounding yes.
"That is an absolute truth. She was beautiful. I had never seen anybody with the yellow hair all piled up, and the red lipstick, and the rouge, and the high heel shoes," she admits. "And I thought, that is what I want to look like."
The singer and actress has also never hidden the fact that she's undergone multiple rounds of plastic surgery over the years, explaining, "I think you should do it if it's gonna make you feel better."
As for how her implants are doing: "I don't think they age," Parton laughs. "My girls are doing pretty good."
And at 66, Parton is still going strong, dedicating some of her time to Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, a literacy program started in honor of her father, who never learned to read or write. The nonprofit has given out 40 million books.
As for retirement, she's not planning on it. "I will never retire unless I had to," Parton insists. "As long as I'm able to get up in the morning, get that makeup on, get those high heels on. Even if I can't wear the high heels, if I'm not able to wear 'em, I'm going to do like Mae West and sit in a wheelchair with my high heels on and have somebody wheel me around."
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