Dolly Parton Tells Fans To 'Forgive & Forget' Elle King's Drunken Grand Ole Opry Tribute

13 February 2024 | 11:49 am | Mary Varvaris

"Let’s just forgive that and forget it and move on ’cause she felt worse than anybody ever could."

Dolly Parton, Elle King

Dolly Parton, Elle King (Source: Supplied)

More Dolly Parton More Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton has addressed Elle King’s controversial tribute for her at the Grand Ole Opry last month, urging fans to “forgive and forget” rather than hold on to grudges.

On 19 January, the Grand Ole Opry (Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium) held a tribute to Parton, and Elle King made headlines and received backlash for drunkenly stumbling through a cover of Dolly Parton’s 2001 song Marry Me.

The performance was part of Dolly Goes Opry, a show hosted by the Ryman Auditorium to honour Parton on her 78th birthday. King admitted she was drunk when she started her performance.

At one point during the performance, King addressed the audience like so: “Hi, my name is Elle King, I’m fucking hammered.” 

King was primarily a blues-inspired pop artist in her early career until releasing her first country album, Come Get Your Wife, in January 2023.

Appearing on Extra, Parton was asked about the incident in an interview, classily asking for kindness and empathy towards King. “Elle is a really great artist. She’s a great girl. She’s been going through a lot of hard things lately, and she just had a little too much to drink,” Parton said.

Join our community with our FREE weekly newsletter

Offering her support for King, Parton told fans (and the country music world at large), “So let’s just forgive that and forget it and move on, ’cause she felt worse than anybody ever could.”

You can watch the interview below.

Parton celebrated her 78th birthday by releasing a deluxe edition of her latest album, Rockstar.

The additional tracks include a Billy Joel cover (The Entertainer), Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)Pat Benatar’s Hit Me With Your Best ShotSimon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water and Eddie Money’s Two Tickets To Paradise.

As well as the covers, Parton shared new versions of four original tracks: a live performance of Rockin’ It, the Sylvester Stallone-starring Stay Out Of My Bedroom, Mama Never Said, and a rendition of Jolene starring special guests, Italian rockers Måneskin.