The Real Reason Why Dolly Parton And Kenny Rogers Never Dated

We love ourselves some celeb couples — from the ones that cause drama and take us on roller coaster rides to the smooth sailing ones that oftentimes go under the radar.

John Legend and Chrissy Teigen really took their high-profile relationship up a notch during COVID-19 self-isolation, and other couples such as Jenna Dewan and Steve Kazee (who welcomed their first baby together in March) are taking their relationship to the next level. Then there are also the couples that could have–but never–happened. Among them: the inimitable country music legends Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers.

Rogers died at his home on March 20, 2020 at age 81. Many famous faces have paid tribute to "The Gambler," including his long-time duet partner, Dolly Parton. "You never know how much you love somebody until they're gone," she tweeted alongside a video. "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."

From "Islands in the Stream" to "Real Love," this talented pair certainly made beautiful music together. With that kind of chemistry, why did Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers never date?

Dolly Parton said dating Kenny Rogers would have been 'incest'

Some pals and colleagues get friend-zoned, but Dolly Parton took it to another level when she sibling-zoned her duet partner, Kenny Rogers. 

"You know what, we were almost like brother and sister,” she told Today. "And it would almost be like incest. So we just never went there." The running joke is that the two were never even attracted to each other. ""First of all, she's hard to look at for me,” Rogers teased. Parton quipped that she wasn't "his type."

Truth be told, Rogers may have had a real attraction to his singing partner, despite seeming disinterested. "I'm a believer that tension is better if you keep it than if you satisfy it,” he said. Rogers even admitted that Parton had "said no" to him. Does that mean he asked? Hmm...

In a separate 2013 interview on Today, Rogers he and Dolly "just flirted with each other for 30 years."

Heartbroken Dolly Parton says she 'will always love' Kenny Rogers

Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers had a long history of making sweet music together as duet partners, and many of those tunes were love songs. Their first collaboration in 1983, "Islands in the Stream," became a No. 1 hit and was deemed the best country duet of all time in a 2005 CMT poll. Their chemistry continued with "Love is Strange," "Real Love,” and "You Can't Make Old Friends." Parton told Today that the latter was her favorite because "it's so personal to both of us."

Parton even joined Rogers at his last concert before he retired in 2015. That show, called "All in for the Gambler," was held in Nashville, was a star-studded affair. Parton conveyed mixed feelings about her friend stepping away from the stage. "I don't think I feel as scared and as empty as some of the fans do, because Kenny and I are friends," she told Today, "and I imagine that we can go visit and maybe once in a while light into a little bit of a song or two."

That's changed with the news of her friend's passing. "I loved Kenny with all my heart. My heart's broken," Parton said in an emotional video tribute posted the day after his death. "I will always love him."

Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton didn't want to 'ruin' a good thing

Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton talked about their long-standing friendship in a 2013 interview with People. At the time, the duo was asked about previous interviews where Rogers had discussed their relationship status (or lack thereof). "I remember that interview and what I said when they asked if we weren't tempted to get together on a more intimate level. I said we may have been tempted but we didn't want to ruin a good friendship," Rogers recalled.

Parton agreed with Rogers, telling the magazine, "We never did go there. There was always so much other stuff going for us. So much love and friendship, we were so compatible."

Although they kept things platonic between them, both found romance elsewhere. Rogers, who was married five times, ultimately settled down with his wife of 22 years, Wanda Miller. They had twin boys together, Justin and Jordan, who he adored. Meanwhile, Parton has been married for 50+ years to husband Carl Thomas Dean, per the Oprah Magazine.

From the sound of it, these two got to experience the joy of true romantic love with their spouses, as well as the love that forms amidst a strong, musical partnership. And really, what more could you ask for?