Inside Dolly Parton And Carrie Underwood's Friendship

Carrie Underwood and Dolly Parton have a whole lot in common. They're two of the biggest stars to ever come out of country music. They're both singers, songwriters, and businesswomen, and they have even forayed into the acting world (Parton famously appeared in hits including Steel Magnolias and 9 to 5, while Underwood made her acting debut in the 2011 movie Soul Surfer and also popped up in the sitcom How I Met Your Mother).

Their paths have also crossed on stage, with the duo making public appearances together on multiple occasions. Parton was on hand to duet with Underwood during her 2009 All-Star Holiday special for a stunning rendition of "I Will Always Love You" (which the former wrote) and the duo also joined forces with Reba McEntire to host the CMA Awards in 2019.

But what fans really want to know is what the two really make of one another. Read on for the truth about Underwood and Parton's relationship.

Carrie Underwood wants to be like Dolly Parton

Carrie Underwood hasn't made a secret of her love for Dolly Parton over the years. The star has been very vocal about how much she looks up to her follow country star and has cited her as one of her biggest inspirations today and when she was younger. The mom of two gushed over Parton on her Apple Music radio show XO Radio in September 2020, where Underwood admitted the "9 to 5" singer is the artist she'd most want to be like. 

"If you ask me to talk about one artist that I want to be like, not just in music or voice or not just in any one area, I would choose Dolly Parton," Underwood said (via Music Mayhem Magazine). She added that she had "so many reasons" for loving her so much, including her being an "incredible writer, vocalist, entertainer." Underwood said she believes Parton "blazed such a trail for all of us women who are in country music right now. She's done everything, she has just set the bar and she has done it with grace and class and humility."

Carrie Underwood has showed her love for Dolly Parton on stage

Carrie Underwood has also shown her appreciation for Dolly Parton during multiple performances. She included the star's hit "Why'd You Come In Here Lookin' Like That" in her 2020 ACM Awards performance as she paid tribute to the Grand Ole Opry on its 95th birthday. Underwood has also showed her love for Parton on at least two of her tours. She performed "I Will Always Love You" night after night on her Storyteller tour and also joined forces with Maddie & Tae and Runaway June for a women of country medley, which included "9 to 5", on her Cry Pretty Tour 360.

Underwood also showed her love for Parton early on in her career. In 2006, she joined forces with the late Kenny Rogers for a performance of "Islands In The Stream" (perhaps Parton and Rogers' most famous duet) at the Kennedy Center Honors, where Parton was being celebrated. The country superstar was clearly a fan of what she saw, as she was filmed clapping and cheering from the audience.

Carrie Underwood thinks Dolly Parton makes the 'world better'

Carrie Underwood got teary-eyed over her love for Dolly Parton when the latter was honored at the BMI Country Awards in 2020 as part of its Songteller to Songteller series. The star was visibly emotional as she paid tribute to her idol and spoke about how her influence on the world goes far beyond just her music. 

"I think her true legacy is how she has made the world better. She could've just been Dolly Parton and taken her money and just lived for herself. But she was given gifts by God, and she takes them, she does the work, she uses them to glorify God, and she gives back," Underwood said. "She cares about people. That's her true legacy."

Underwood also touched on the true impact the country superstar has had on her career as well as her fellow female artists in the genre. "We're all just trying to be Dolly, let's be honest," she said. "She is somebody who has set an incredible example for us and paved such a path for us. If there was no Dolly, there would be no us."

Dolly Parton considers Carrie Underwood a 'dear friend'

It's certainly not a one-way street when it comes to Carrie Underwood and Dolly Parton's friendship, as the latter has also shared her admiration for the former on multiple occasions. In April 2021, Parton introduced Underwood's medley of gospel hits performance at the 2021 ACM Awards and gave an insight into their close relationship.

In a pre-taped video, Parton admitted (via Outsider) that she was "pleased and proud to introduce [her] dear friend" as she shared how she'd "always admired Carrie's incredible talent." But the star admitted her love for Underwood goes deeper than her music, as she revealed that she's always been "just as impressed with her personal qualities: her compassion, kindness, generosity, and, most of all, the powerful faith that we both share."

Parton also shared just how "excited" she was to be teaming up with Underwood and McEntire for the 2019 CMA Awards, which honored the women of country music. "Talk about girl power [heart emoji.] I'm so excited to be joining @carrieunderwood and @reba to celebrate the legendary women of country music," she wrote on Instagram in August 2019.

One thing's for sure, this is one friendship we love to see!