Ashley McBryde Reveals She Hasn’t Spoken to Dolly Parton Since ‘Embarrassing’ Microwave Mishap

by Caitlin Berard
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(Image Group LA/ABC via Getty Images)

It’s happened to all of us; ruining a microwave is basically a rite of passage in adulthood. As such, a microwave mishap in your own home rates pretty low on the embarrassment scale. Ruining a friend’s microwave ranks a little higher. A good friend won’t be furious, but bringing the fun to a halt with an exploded potato is a bit of a party foul.

But being invited to a childhood hero’s home only to set their microwave on fire? If your response is to, say, cut off all communication, choosing instead to carry the unbearable shame through the next decade of your life… It’s completely understandable.

This is the exact situation in which Ashley McBryde found herself after ruining Dolly Parton‘s microwave. Oh, and setting a small fire in the country music icon’s vacation home. In a recent interview with Fox News, the “One Night Standards” singer recounted the mortifying incident.

According to Ashley McBryde, she was at Dolly Parton’s lake house babysitting at the time. Like any good babysitter, she ventured into the newly renovated kitchen to heat up some pizza bagels for the hungry child in her care.

Unfortunately, however, she left the task of heating the mini pizzas in the hands of the child rather than doing it herself. And instead of removing the desired number of bagels from the box, arranging them on a plate, and placing the plate in the microwave, the child took a more avant-garde approach. The entire box went in the microwave – plastic wrapping and all.

The Time Ashley McBryde Set Dolly Parton’s House on Fire

As one might expect, the box promptly caught fire, the flames rapidly climbing the wall of the kitchen. The then-29-year-old singer was able to put them out, but the damage was done. Dolly Parton’s brand-new wallpaper was ruined and Ashley McBryde was emotionally scarred by the humiliating incident for life.

“It had to do with some bagel bites and a microwave that became a fire,” McBryde explained. “And I unplugged the microwave and I ran it outside so that everything was okay, except for the freshly-wallpapered room.”

“I was there to babysit which is the whole reason I was there,” she continued. “It’s embarrassing. I have not spoken to her since then. She gave me the microwave, and that’s the last conversation I had.”

McBryde was, of course, fired from her childcare duties. And though she accepts responsibility for the pizza bagel inferno, she can’t help but express disbelief in the cause of the fire. “I do take the blame for [the fire] because I’m the one who removed the on-fire microwave out of the house,” she admitted. “But it was honestly her niece. She stuck a whole box of Bagel Bites in there – like, in the box.”

And no, Dolly Parton did not give Ashley McBryde a broken microwave as a parting gift. The microwave was somehow still functional after the fire, and Dolly knew the young singer needed one.

In the grand scheme of things, it was just a bit of wallpaper, but Ashley McBryde hasn’t been able to look Dolly Parton in the eye ever since. “I’ve managed to avoid saying stupid things to Dolly lately,” she said. “Because I just walk the other direction.”

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