Dolly Parton never had children of her own, but as part of a family of 12 children, she has plenty of nieces and nephews to dote on, as well as her own goddaughter, Miley Cyrus. Parton recently opened up about her close ties with Cyrus, which began thanks to Parton's relationship with Cyrus' father, Billy Ray Cyrus.
"I worked with Billy Ray for all those years, when he had 'Achy Breaky Heart,'" Parton recalled on SiriusXM's Just Jenny. "He worked with me on some shows we did in the early days. He opened some of my shows. We just got to know each other. I wrote a song called 'Romeo,' and had him in a video. We just kind of gelled, 'cause we're both country kids. We had a lot of fun just talking about that. And then when Miley came along, I said, 'She's got to be my fairy goddaughter.'"
Parton also played Cyrus' godmother in the hit TV show, Hannah Montana, which Parton credits at least in part with giving her a fanbase that spans generations.
"t's been so amazing that I've had all these little kids that grew up with that, and now have their little kids," gushed the 73-year-old. "All through the generations, they keep bringing me back around and I love it."
“Lord, I’ve done everything, and what I ain’t done, I intend to,” Parton told PEOPLE. “She’s going to do that, too. But Miley’s smart; Miley knows what she’s doing. I know we think she doesn’t, and she might not every minute, but I still know that she’s got good stuff in her.”
Parton is choosing to lead by example in Cyrus' life, and continues to maintain a relationship with the 26-year-old.
“I’ve told her some things that I think are valuable and that she uses, but I’d rather live an example,” Parton admitted. “[I’d rather] be an example rather than just try to tell somebody to do this, do that because I don’t think that’s right. Everybody’s different. You’ve got your own journey. And some people are going to help you along the way and they can kick a few rocks out of the road for you, but you got to walk it.”
Photo Credit: Getty / Kevin Winter