This isn’t the first time that Dolly Parton has had to address rumors about her sexuality but in a new interview with the U.K.’s The Sun, the country music legend denied being gay once again after claims were made that she is dating her childhood friend Judy Ogle. “So people say that — because you can’t really have a great relationship with a woman. I’m not gay but I have so many gay friends,” the 72-year-old told the newspaper. “I accept everybody for who they are.” In the past, Dolly has even been referred to as a gay icon. “I love that,” the singer added.
Despite being married to her husband, Carl Dean, for more than 50 years, Dolly has had to dodge accusations regarding her sexuality time and time again. But when it comes to her friend Judy, Dolly explained that the two ladies really are just BFFs!
“Well, people love to talk, people love to gossip … It’s not true [that we’re a couple],” the “Jolene” singer insisted to The Sun. “Judy and I have been best friends for 64 years since we were little kids. Our parents knew each other, we grew up together, we were like sisters, became best friends. She was very quiet, I was very outgoing. So we made perfect friends. We went all through school together.”
Dolly explained that she and Judy were inseparable until Judy joined the army after they graduated because “she needed the insurance and she needed to help her family.” She continued, “As soon as she got out [of the army], she came to Nashville and we’ve been together ever since. People love to talk — but sometimes that’s your best publicity. I don’t care what they say as long as they don’t hurt other people I love.”
Back in 2012, the blonde beauty also similarly told ABC News that she and Judy are strictly best friends. “I love her as much as I love anybody in the whole world, but we’re not romantically involved,” she said at the time. Two years later, she told PrideSource.com, “I am not gay. But if I were, I would be the first one running out of the closet.”
During a November 2018 sit-down with People, Dolly gushed about her longtime marriage to Carl and revealed what makes their marriage work after all these years. “We’ve been together most of our lives. I always joke and laugh when people ask me what’s the key to my long marriage and lasting love. I always say ‘Stay gone!’ and there’s a lot of truth to that. I travel a lot, but we really enjoy each other when we’re together and the little things we do,” she said.