In an exclusive interview with Closer Weekly, Billy Ray Cyrus opens up about his special relationship with Dolly Parton — and credits her for his success.

“I love Dolly. I probably wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing without her,” Billy Ray says. “Keep in mind, she was there in 1992 when I went from living in my Chevy Beretta to recording my first album,” Billy recalls to Closer. “Pretty soon after that, I was opening her shows! She sent a letter to my dressing room and we just bonded from that night on.”

Billy Ray says that he will never forget that night. “When I was on her tour, there was a headline that she and I were romantically involved,” he reveals to Closer.

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Billy (left) and Dolly (right) in 2015.

“My manager took me to meet her for the first time and I said, ‘I’m so sorry.’ Dolly looked me straight in the eyes and said, ‘Honey, that s— sells records!’” Billy Ray tells Closer. “Next thing I knew, [my 1992 debut] ‘Some Gave All’ was No. 1 for 17 weeks in a row!”

MORE: Dolly Parton Reveals the Secret to Her Unconventional Marriage — See What She Confessed!

“Who would’ve guessed that Dolly would have ended up as one of my best friends and [daughter Miley Cyrus’] godmother?” he says.

For the full interview with Billy Ray Cyrus, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now!

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