"Burt and I were a good ol’ boy and girl, and I was very sad when he passed away – we were really very much alike," she told the Daily Mirror. “But he had not been in good health for a long time and so I hope he’s resting in peace. I’m sure he is. The last years of his life he had some really hard times. We were kind of like brother and sister.”
Despite "little arguments and little spats" between the two stars, Parton said she and Reynolds "were so honest with each other. In the same way Kenny Rogers and I are. We held no secrets from each other, we couldn’t fool each other.”
The pair starred in 1982's The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; Parton played a madam engaged in an affair with the local sheriff, played by Reynolds. Their on-screen chemistry in the film sparked rumours of an off-screen relationship between the stars, to which Parton jokingly responded with: "I couldn’t wait to jump into bed with Burt Reynolds. In the movie, not in real life.”
Parton has been married to Carl Thomas Dean since 1966, and said any rumours of an affair with Reynolds never troubled the couple. “Carl never cared about that,” she said. “Lord, they had me sleeping with everybody – I’d have never got anything done. And the ones I did sleep with, they don’t know about.”
Reynolds died on 6 September in Jupiter, Florida, reportedly from a cardiac arrest. He had previously undergone heart surgery, in 2010.
Parton has written the music and lyrics to 9 to 5: The Musical, which is set to debut in London's West End next year, based on the 1980 film she starred in with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.
"We’ve got the same problems then as you have now,” she said of the story's enduring relevancy. “We are all created equal in God’s eyes. We should treat each other with respect.”
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