“Well, we talk. He did my Christmas special, the Mountain Magic Christmas,” Parton, 76, exclusively told Us Weekly on Tuesday, January 17, while promoting her latest Duncan Hines collaboration. “We got a chance to talk a lot and I got to meet his girlfriend.”
The “Jolene” songstress recalled her encounter with Firerose, 34, saying, “She seemed like a sweet girl.”
Parton explained that she hasn’t chatted with Billy Ray, 61, since he announced his engagement to the Australian songwriter in October 2022 — but they are still close. “I love Billy Ray like I love Miley [Cyrus]. They’re family,” she said of the father-daughter duo. “He’s like a brother to me and she’s like a daughter.”
The 9 to 5 alum, who is Miley’s godmother, teamed up with both Billy Ray and Miley, 30, for her holiday special, which aired on NBC last month. She then cohosted Miley Cyrus’ New Year’s Eve Party with the “Wrecking Ball” songstress to ring in 2023 from Miami.
The “Achy Breaky Heart” crooner, for his part, began the new year cozied up to his fiancée. “Hope your 2023 is off to an amazing start!” Billy Ray captioned an Instagram photo with Firerose on January 4.
The Kentucky native’s new romance came shortly after his estranged wife, Tish, filed for divorce for a third time in April 2022.
Tish, 55, and Billy Ray initially separated October 2010, but the “Old Town Road” singer dropped the divorce filing in March 2011. Two years later, Tish filed her own set of documents to end the duo’s marriage. Us confirmed in July 2013 that the pair — who tied the knot in 1993 — had reconciled. Their third split, however, appears to be permanent as both Billy Ray and Tish have moved on romantically.
The “In the Heart of a Woman” musician went public with Firerose in August 2022, one year after they collaborated on the song “New Day.” The twosome confirmed their engagement two months later.
Tish, meanwhile, confirmed her relationship with Dominic Purcell while celebrating Miley’s 30th birthday in November 2022.
Along with Miley, the estranged couple share son Braison, 28, and daughter Noah, 23. Billy Ray adopted Tish’s two children from a previous relationship — Brandi, 35, and Trace, 33 — after their wedding.
After kicking off 2023 at her goddaughter’s NBC bash, Parton hasn’t slowed down. “I don’t think I could retire if I wanted to. ‘Cause I’ve dreamed myself into a corner, as I say,” the Dollywood founder exclusively told Us on Tuesday, shortly before her 77th birthday. “’Cause all these wonderful things keep happening and you gotta keep the dream alive.”
One of those dreams is continuing to work with Duncan Hines. Parton, who previously teamed up with the baking company in summer 2022, recently added new items to her line, including brownies, cornbread and biscuits.
“We’re very excited about the new stuff. We do have the buttermilk biscuit, the sweet cornbread and the fabulously fudge brownie mix and the caramel turtle brownie mix,” the “Hard Candy Christmas” songstress explained. “[I’m] very proud to be part of Duncan Hines and all that they stand for and all that they do so well.”
The 10-time Grammy winner gushed over being able to give her “input” on a few new Duncan Hines recipes, many of which “represent the South for people out there.” Parton added: “But they’re good anywhere you live.”
Dolly Parton x Duncan Hines launches new products online on Wednesday, February 8. They will also be available for early access presale on Wednesday, February 1, to the Duncan Hines Baking community. Click here to learn more about where you can find the new mixes — including your local grocers.
With reporting by Mandie DeCamp