“I love to flirt, and I’ve never met a man I didn’t like,” Dolly Parton once famously declared of her passion for the opposite sex.
Despite having been married to husband Carl Dean for more than 50 years, the pneumatic country singer has made no secret of her eye for the fellas.
And it’s that honesty that has fuelled rumours of numerous ‘affairs’ over the years with everyone from Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds and her lifelong friend and personal assistant Judy Ogle.
The speculation only intensified when Dolly once innocently admitted she had shared a bed with Judy.
But while Dolly, 74, says she’s never ‘had a relationship with a woman or had a desire to be with a woman’, she has, however, fallen for other men.
Describing her marriage as ‘open’, in the early eighties the Jolene singer was left suicidal after an ‘affair of the heart’ ended badly.
“I was sitting upstairs in my bedroom one afternoon when I noticed in the nightstand drawer my gun that I keep for burglars. I looked at it a long time…” she wrote in her book Dolly on Dolly, Interviews and Encounters with Dolly Parton.
“Then, just as I picked it up, just to hold it and look at it for a moment, our little dog, Popeye, came running up the stairs.
“The tap-tap-tap of his paws jolted me back to reality I suddenly froze. I put the gun down. Then I prayed. I kinda believe Popeye was a spiritual messenger from God.”
As for the affair rumours with some of Hollywood’s biggest leading men, Dolly has explained that while her relationship with Carl might be ‘open’ – actually getting physical with other people is off the cards.
“Men are my weakness. Short, fat, bald or skinny – I’ve had crushes on some very unusual men but Carl knows I’ll always come home and I’m not having sex with these people – I’m just flirting and having fun,” she previously told the Daily Mail.
“He’s not jealous and I’m not jealous of him. He knows I flirt. He flirts too,” she reveled in a separate interview. “Yes, it’s an open relationship, but not sexually and I would kill him if I thought he was doing that. He would shoot me too. At the end of the day we love each other madly.”
There was one A-list heartthrob who she couldn’t wait to get up close and personal with though, and that was Burt Reynolds.
The pair played lovers in 1982’s The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and their chemistry sent unfounded rumours of a real-life affair flying, with Dolly teasing: “I couldn’t wait to jump into bed with Burt Reynolds… in the movie, not in real life.”
And Burt admitted the attraction was mutual, once quipping: “I got to work with her for so long that eventually I was looking at her face.”
So what did Carl – who met Dolly outside Nashville’s Wishy-Washy laundromat when she was just 18 – make of it all?
“Carl never cared about that,” Dolly previously told The Mirror. “Lord, they had me sleeping with everybody – I’d have never got anything done.”
Keeping everyone guessing, she cheekily added: “And the ones I did sleep with, they don’t know about.”
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