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Dolly Parton denies lesbian relationship, speaks out for gay rights

'I just don't feel like I have to explain myself. I love everybody'
Photo: ABC News

Dolly Parton knows a bit about what Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King go through - constant speculation that the famous friends are also lovers.

Parton has faced the same rumors about herself and Judy Ogle, one of her oldest childhood friends.

'Like Gayle, her friend, Judy, my friend, they just think that you just can't be that close to somebody,' Parton tells ABC News in an interview airing Monday (26 November) on Nightline. 'Judy and I have been best friends since we were like in the third and fourth grade. We still just have a great friendship and relationship and I love her as much as I love anybody in the whole world, but we're not romantically involved.'

But the speculation has not kept Parton, 66, from speaking out for equal rights for gays and lesbians. She hosts a 'Gay Day' each year at her Tennessee theme park Dollywood.

'When it first started there were people giving us threats, I still get threats,' Parton acknowledges. 'But like I said, I'm in business. I just don't feel like I have to explain myself. I love everybody.'

Parton's Nightline appearance is part of her promotional tour for Dream More, her new memoir to be released Tuesday (27 November).

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