Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton were friends for decades and recorded several duets over the years, which means the two stars have a whole lot of memories together, both on stage and off. Rogers shared his favorite in a 2017 interview with Southern Living, revealing that his fondest memory of Parton happened in 2013 when the two were recording their duet "You Can't Make Old Friends."
"I looked up at her and she wasn't at her microphone," he recalled. "She had left her microphone and came into my part of the studio. She put her arms around my neck and she said, 'Kenny, I think you should know I could never sing at your funeral.' I went, 'So we're assuming I'm going first?' I love her for that. You never know what she's going to say, but it always comes from love. It's never anger and it's never revenge, it's always love."
Rogers died on March 20 from natural causes under hospice care, surrounded by his family. Parton paid tribute to her friend this week with a performance during CMT GIANTS Kenny Rogers: A Benefit For MusiCares, where she sang "Sweet Music Man." She also opened up about his death during a virtual appearance on the TODAY show Thursday, April 2, telling hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager that Rogers' passing "caught me by surprise."0comments
"I knew he wasn’t doing well, but it was just like, I lost someone so close to me, it just broke my heart," she said. "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."
"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 added. "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."