photo of Dolly Parton onstage/ photo of Johnny Cash
Theo Wargo/ Getty Images and ASSOCIATED PRESS

Dolly Parton Says Johnny Cash Was Her First Crush

During a 2019 appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers, country legend Dolly Parton revealed that it was another country music superstar who first turned her head. Parton told Meyers that when she first visited the Grand Ole Opry at the age of 13, she developed a huge crush on Johnny Cash.

"My Uncle Bill Owens used to take me back and forth [to Nashville]. That was when Johnny Cash was first on the scene...and he was the sexiest thing I'd ever seen. I was 13 years old. I was looking at him and I was feeling all these things that you feel," Parton said, explaining that the intensity of her crush was similar to the Man in Black's own 1963 hit, "Ring of Fire." "That was the first time I really understood what sex appeal was. I just really 'fell into a burning ring of fire.'"

Of course, as Parton got older and became a country icon, she got to know her childhood crush and even performed with him. 

It was another man Parton met in Nashville who would turn out to be the love of her life. The singer met her husband Carl Dean at Nashville's Wishy Washy laundromat when she was 18 years old. The couple married two years later in 1966.

Read More: The 15 Best Dolly Parton Songs, Ranked

After an impromptu performance of "Jolene," Parton discussed her Netflix series Dolly Parton's Heartstrings and the reason she wouldn't allow Elvis Presley to record her song "I Will Always Love You."

"[Elvis' manager] Colonel Tom said I'd have to give away half the publishing because Elvis didn't record anything unless he had half the publishing," Parton explained. "I said I couldn't do it because I was leaving that for my family... After Whitney (Houston) recorded it, I realized that that was the best choice that I'd ever made."

Editor's Note: Products featured on Wide Open Country are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

This article was originally published in 2019.