Reba McEntire Wishes Dolly Parton a Happy Birthday: ‘I Love You More Than My Rhinestones!’

by Jennifer Shea

Country star Reba McEntire is wishing Dolly Parton a happy birthday in terms any country fan can understand. 

Reba McEntire Loves Dolly Parton

“Happy birthday Dolly Parton,” McEntire posted to Instagram. “I love you more than my rhinestones! We sure have shared a lot of memories over the years and I’m looking forward to many more ahead of us. I can’t imagine a world without Dolly.” 

Because with or without rhinestones, McEntire and Parton have been friends for over 40 years. 

Moreover, in September of last year, Parton went on McEntire’s podcast and spoke with her about how to forge your own path in life. 

“You need to know when to stand up for yourself,” Parton told McEntire. “That’s kind of what you have to learn: To stand up and know that you’ve got to live with all the decisions you make. I make decisions every day. The good ones inspire me and the bad ones just kind of teach me, so that’s kind of how you have to look at it.”

Stories from Parton and McEntire

As one example of that principle, Parton also related how she turned down Elvis, who had wanted to record “I Will Always Love You.” The problem? His manager was demanding 50% of the royalties.

“It didn’t have anything to do with Elvis,” Parton said. “I loved Elvis. It was Colonel Tom Parker… who was brilliant; you can’t take that away from people, he did alright by him. But I had already had a number one song on ‘I Will Always Love You’ and that was the most important copyright I had in my publishing company.”

“The night before… Colonel Tom called me and said, ‘You know, we don’t record anything with Elvis unless we have publishing or at least half the publishing,’” Parton continued. “I said, ‘Well, that turns a new light on this, because I can’t give you half the publishing. I’m going to leave that to my family.’ I said, ‘I can’t do that.’ And he said, ‘Well, we can’t do it.’ And I cried all night because I just pictured Elvis singing it—and I know that Elvis loved it and I know that it wasn’t him.”

As for McEntire, she once regaled a group of Tennessee schoolchildren with the story of how Parton crashed her Grand Ole Opry debut.

McEntire’s family had driven 700 miles from Oklahoma to catch her 1977 debut, the Tennessean reported. She was originally slated to sing two songs. But then, at the last minute, they told her she could only have one. Parton had just shown up and they wanted her to sing a song. So McEntire ceded the song to her.

“Dolly came walking in, and she was like a vision,” McEntire said. “It was worth the drive from Oklahoma just to see Dolly.”