Kenny Rogers' ex-wife Marianne Gordon was by his side from 1977 to 1993. During that time, the actress barely thought twice about all the time he was spending with Dolly Parton.

After Rogers' death on March 20, Gordon opened up about the whispers that followed the two singers since the first time they performed together. Their first hit was "Islands in the Stream" in 1983, but across the next decade they'd go on to record many duets together and often share a stage. From a fan's perspective, there was plenty of chemistry, but they always insisted it never spilled into anything illicit.

"I'm a believer that tension is better if you keep it than if you satisfy it," Rogers told the Today show in 2017. "And then secondly, she said no to me."

"I'm not his type," Parton responded in the same interview, before sharing that the real reason the two never got together was that he felt more like family to her than a romantic partner. "Nah. You know what, we were almost like brother and sister. And it would almost be like incest. So we just never went there."

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Gordon doesn't quite echo Parton's message, but she makes it clear she was never worried about anything romantic between the two.

"I never felt uncomfortable at all. I just knew him so well," she told Closer Weekly last month. But of course, she has answered this question before. She tells the outlet that a tennis pro who used to travel with them asked the same thing years ago. "I told him Kenny said, 'I like her [Dolly] as a friend and we have a great thing on stage. We’d lose it. There is sexual tension and teasing each other and it would screw it up.'"

Gordon had nothing but kind things to say of Rogers in the days following his death. In a separate Closer Weekly article she shares that she's heartbroken, but not surprised, by his passing, as his health had been in decline. Neither she nor their son Chris was there when Rogers died, she reveals. Nor was Parton, a woman who Rogers' fourth wife never looked at with contempt.

"He sincerely felt they had a cute thing going, and if any happened between them, they’d ruin that," she says.

Parton spoke publicly the day after Rogers died, admitting that his death caught her by surprise.

"You never know how much you love somebody until they’re gone," Parton wrote in a Facebook post on March 21. "I’ve had so many wonderful years and wonderful times with my friend Kenny, but above all the music and the success I loved him as a wonderful man and a true friend. So you be safe with God and just know that I will always love you."

"I loved Kenny with all my heart ... My heart's broken, and a big ol' chunk of it has gone with him today."

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