Dolly Parton Reveals How She First Heard About Kenny Rogers Before They Met

Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers were friends for years before Rogers' death in March, and Parton [...]

Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers were friends for years before Rogers' death in March, and Parton opened up about how she first met her frequent collaborator during the CMT GIANTS special honoring Rogers that aired this week. "I first became aware of Kenny when he was with a group called First Edition," she said. "I heard a song called 'I Just Dropped In to See What Condition My Condition Was In."

"I thought that was very clever, but I loved the sound of his voice and I kind of followed around to see who he was and got more involved in his music," she continued. "I loved all of Kenny's songs. I just love his sound." Parton and Rogers eventually began working together and recorded the massive duet "Islands in the Stream," as well as other songs including "Real Love" and "Love Is Strange."

kenny rogers dolly parton
(Photo: Getty / ABC Photo Archives)

After Rogers died on March 20, Parton shared a video mourning the loss of her old friend. "I know that we all know Kenny's in a better place than we are today, but I'm sure he's going to be talking to God sometime today, if he ain't already, and he's gonna be asking Him to spread some light onto this darkness going on here," she said. "I loved Kenny with all my heart, and my heart's broken."

"You never know how much you love somebody until they're gone," her caption read. "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. So you be safe with God and just know that I will always love you, dolly."

She also discussed Rogers' death during a virtual appearance on the Today show Thursday, April 2. "Kenny and I have been friends for so many years. We just connected, you know how there's some people you just feel like you've known all your life," she told Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager from her home in Nashville. "We just knew each other so well, both kinda goofy and silly, have a warm sense of humor, so we had a lot of fun times together. Our voices really blended well and we had the same outlook on life and on things, and so we just, traveling around the world like we did for so many years, we became very, very close."

"When Kenny passed away, it caught me by surprise," Parton continued. "I knew he wasn't doing well, but it was just like, I lost someone so close to me, it just broke my heart. It just shocked me and I was very emotional about it for several days, and now I've kind of put it in a peaceful place, knowing that he's at peace. My words and love go out to his children and to Wanda, his wife, and to all his fans. I'll always miss him, but I'll always treasure what we had together."

Photo Credit: Getty / ABC Photo Archives