What Kenny Rogers' Ex-Wife Has To Say About Dolly Parton

Country music fans lost a legend on March 20, 2020, when singer-songwriter Kenny Rogers died at age 81. Many fans and celebrities alike paid tribute to the icon, including the Texas native's longtime friend and collaborator, Dolly Parton. "You never know how much you love somebody until they're gone," she wrote on Instagram. "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." Fellow country star Reba McEntire commented on her post, writing, "Dolly, he sure loved you."

Not only did Rogers and Parton share a lot of love for each other, but they also worked together on various projects. From the duo's 1985 movie, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton: Together, to their hits like "Islands in the Stream," they were an unstoppable force. In fact, the two were so in sync that relationship rumors dogged them for years. Some might assume this topic was uncomfortable for Rogers' five ex-wives, some of whom spoke out after the country crooner's passing. This includes Marianne Gordon, Rogers' fourth wife and mother to his son, Christopher Cody Rogers.

So what does Gordon have to say about her late ex-husband's friendship with Parton? We reveal her take on the situation after the jump.

Marianne Gordon never felt "uncomfortable"

Marianne Gordon, an actor, was married to Kenny Rogers from 1977 to 1993. During this time, Gordon got to know the country legend on a deep level, especially where it concerned his close friendship with Dolly Parton. "I never felt uncomfortable at all. I just knew him so well," she told Closer Weekly on March 24, 2020, when asked about the romance rumors. "But, it's funny that you say that. We had a tennis pro who traveled with us, Doug Dean asked me too. I told him Kenny said I like her [Dolly] as a friend and we have a great thing on stage. We'd lose it. There is sexual tension and teasing each other and it would screw it up."

Although Gordon is pretty sure nothing happened between the collaborators, she doesn't rule it out. "Dolly might have [made a move though]," she added. "It's entered my mind because she always said she thought like a man. I don't mean it badly. Dolly is a fun girl."

The bottom line? It sounds like this situation is drama-free. 

Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers set the record straight

For those who might not believe Marianne Gordon's account of Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers' relationship, they should probably take note of a 2013 interview the two did with ABC News. When asked directly whether they were an item at one point, the "Jolene" singer replied, "Never. It never crossed our minds because he was with people. ... I've been with my husband for 48 years. That's not to say I'm blind or dead." Rogers joked, "We never consummated anything. We just teased each other all [about] it."

At the end of the day, the pair's story begins and ends with friendship. "Kenny's friendship means more to me than our hit records," Parton told CMT's Cody Alan in 2017. "Actually, we're kind of like soul mates. He's from Texas and I'm from Tennessee. There's an old famous country song, 'T for Texas, T for Tennessee.' We always sing that to each other." She added, "I love his singing. I love his voice. I never tire of hearing him sing. And I think our voices blend great, so I'm really proud of the musical part of that as well."

Of course, it's completely reasonable to have a platonic soulmate. And we think this perfectly explains why Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers never dated.

Marianne Gordon praises Kenny Rogers

Despite their relationship not working out, Marianne Gordon has nothing but nice things to say about Kenny Rogers. "I always felt his total focus was on me," she recalled about her ex-husband to Closer Weekly. "If anyone wanted anything from him, he was looking me in the eye and said, 'Whatever she wants to do.'" 

The Rosemary's Baby star admitted she lost Rogers' attention when he turned 50, although she doesn't hold it against him. "He was always in a good mood and had a wonderful sense of humor about things," she said. "And he really didn't change with fame." Considering Rogers was worth a reported $250 million when he died, this compliment says a lot about his character.

Now that Rogers is gone, Gordon is focused on remembering the good times. "The end of a relationship like that can be devastating, but there were so many fabulous memories," she shared. "I like to think about those." 

Kenny Rogers' 'most rewarding' relationship was with Wanda Miller

Despite marrying four times and enjoying a flirtatious friendship with Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers revealed to Closer Weekly that his "most rewarding" relationship was with his fifth wife, Wanda Miller. "That's no offense to any of the other people I was married to," he said about his life with Miller, who he wed in 1997. "I just think I wasn't ready before." He added, "I've had a lot of things in my life. I've made loads of money and had the biggest and best of everything, but now I'm back to looking at the small things that matter: my boys. Wanda. It's not about me anymore. It's about them."

Rogers shared twin boys with Miller, who were 15-years-old at the time of his passing. The country legend's Instagram account seems to suggest he was very close with the teens, a relationship he had worked hard to develop. "In my autobiography, I talk about, there's a fine line between being driven and being selfish, and I think I may have crossed that line a couple of times when I was younger," Rogers admitted in 2013 to The Boot, referencing his earlier parenting mistakes with his older children. "And I don't wanna do that with the boys. I'm determined to be there and be a dad to them at all costs."

In the end, it sounds like Kenny Rogers found true happiness with Miller and his beloved children.