Dolly Parton has defended Elle King after her drunken performance at a tribute show that celebrated the country singer’s 78th birthday.
Parton has a career spanning over 50 years and has been described as a “country legend”, selling more than 100 million records worldwide and becoming a sweetheart to adoring fans across the globe.
The music legend was not in attendance at the show which honoured her career and birthday, but the attention quickly turned to King after she staggered onto stage.
During the concert, King appeared to forget the lyrics while performing Parton’s song, Marry Me, and said: “I don’t know the lyrics to these things in this f***ing town.
“Don’t tell Dolly cause it’s her birthday,” she added with videos of the moment circulating on TikTok showing her bandmates trying to get her back on track.
However, after failing, she began to sing one of her own songs instead and quipped: “I can barely play another person’s song, let me see if I can play one of mine.”
Dolly Parton recently celebrated her 78th birthday
During the performance, she admitted she was intoxicated and told the crowd: “Hi, my name is Elle King and I’m f***ing hammered.”
Parton has since spoken out since the incident and expressed: “Elle is really a great artist. She’s a great girl, and she’s been going through a lot of hard things lately. And she just had a little too much to drink.”
“So, let’s just forgive that and forget it and move on, ’cause she felt worse than anybody ever could,” she added to Extra.
An insider also spoke out and explained that Parton had no intention of publicly criticising King’s performance and added: “Dolly in no way is going to bash Elle for her performance at the Opry, that is not Dolly’s style and that will not be Dolly’s intention to take down another artist, especially a fellow female artist.
Elle King was drunk during her tribute performance to Dolly Parton
“Dolly doesn’t begin to know what Elle might be going through, if it was just one bad night or something more, but Dolly will not drag Elle in any way, Dolly isn’t going to tear her down.
“Dolly is going to see it through and expect the best and if she ever talks or sees or performs with Elle in the future, it will all be positive because that is where Dolly’s mindset is at all the time.”
King is yet to personally make a statement following her performance but representatives for the country institution put out their own statement.
It said: “We deeply regret and apologise for the language that was used during last night’s second Opry performance.
Dolly Parton recently turned 78
King has opened up about how she copes with her nerves before going on stage with alcohol in the past and said: “I really like to drink and sing. I don’t want to get as drunk as I used to.
“It’s easier for me to say ‘Yeah, I want to drink and party and [then] go on stage.’ I get nervous before I go on stage, [so] I have a couple of drinks.
“Drinking makes me less nervous about hitting the notes when I sing. If I don’t make them, it won’t sting as much.”