The Real Reason Dolly Parton And Kenny Rogers Never Dated

It was a match made in country music heaven, but duet partners Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers somehow never became a couple in real life. Their lifelong friendship contributed massively to the chart success of many classic hits, but their indelible chemistry both on record and when sharing the stage together never managed to spill over.

Now, over 30 years after they first teamed up, we finally know the answer to why the Parton-Rogers dream team remained just in the recording studio, on the airwaves, and in our hearts.

The country music titans were about to take the stage together for the final time when Today cornered them for a chat about what went wrong romantically for them. "First of all, she's hard to look at for me,” Rogers joked cheekily, with Parton responding, "I'm not his type." Ever since 1983's massive "Islands in the Stream," fans have been rooting for the two to make it official, but Rogers explained they made better music by keeping things friendly. "I'm a believer that tension is better if you keep it than if you satisfy it,” Rogers explained.

Rogers joked that Parton had turned him down, but Dolly quickly shut that down, saying, "Nah. You know what, we were almost like brother and sister. And it would almost be like incest. So we just never went there." The "Jolene" hit-maker confirmed the two are very good friends and super similar, maybe even a bit too similar at times, which is why they never crossed that line.

Country music will honor Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers once again

Both Parton and Rogers will be celebrated in upcoming TV specials, due for release on A&E this spring. According to Sounds Like Nashville, the legendary stars will be honored alongside fellow icon Willie Nelson. First up, on April 12, Biography: Dolly looks to tell the singer's life story from growing up in poverty in Tennessee to her recent 50th-anniversary celebration at the legendary Grand Ole Opry. Parton herself will be interviewed for the special, which will surely detail how she changed country music.

Rogers will get similar treatment when Biography: Kenny Rogers airs the following night. The doc will tell his similarly fascinating life story, also integrating footage from the singer's 2017 farewell concert, All In For The Gambler. Naturally, his lifelong friend Parton will feature as one of the interviewees discussing the musician's undeniable impact on country music.

Kenny Rogers' death showcased his country music legacy

Rogers' death, at the age of 81 from natural causes, was reported by CNN, who confirmed the country music legend passed away Friday, March 20, 2020. Various celebrities immediately rallied around to say their goodbyes to the musician. "Today I lost one of my closest friends. So much laughter so many adventures to remember, my heart is broken... My prayers go out to Kenny's Family," Lionel Richie wrote on Twitter, while Reba gushed, "Thank you for your friendship and your love. We are going to miss you but we are so happy you're singing with the Angels in heaven. Can't wait to see you again one of these days. Rest in peace my friend."

Meanwhile, the Country Music Association said in a statement (via Twitter), "Country Music has lost the great Kenny Rogers, who has forever left a mark on Country Music's history. His family and friends are in our thoughts during this difficult time."

Dolly Parton offered a heartbroken tribute to Kenny Rogers

The biggest tribute, of course, came from Parton who posted a video of herself sitting at the piano and, choking back tears, recounting how wonderful her dearly departed friend was to Twitter. Clutching a photo of the two country icons together, she tearfully told fans, "I know you are as sad as I am. But God bless you Kenny, fly high into the arms of God."

Alongside the clip, Parton admitted, "You never know how much you love somebody until they're gone." Rogers' duet partner also acknowledged, "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."

Rogers retired back in 2015, with CNN noting he said at the time, "I've been so lucky to have enjoyed such a long career and to have such amazing support from my fans and all who have helped me along the way, but there comes a time when I need to focus on spending time with my family." They will hold a small, private service for Rogers in the wake of coronavirus worries before subsequently celebrating his legacy publicly with fans and friends.