WFUV Public Radio / Flickr | Carl Beust /

Dolly Parton has spoken up about Elle King’s controversial Grand Ole Opry tribute that was meant to honor the iconic country singer. During a performance at the Grand Ole Opry, King admitted to fans that she was “hammered” and forgot the lyrics to Parton’s “Mary Me” during the tribute celebration for Parton’s 78th birthday. The concert took place on January 19th where King told the crows, “I don’t know the lyrics to these things in this f—ing town. Don’t tell Dolly ‘cause it’s her birthday.” Addressing the audience, she said: “I’m not even gonna (expletive) lie … y’all bought tickets for this (expletive), you ain’t getting your money back.” The Grand Ole Opry published an apology on X, previously known as Twitter, for King’s language after fans complained that many children were in the crowd. “We deeply regret and apologize for the language that was used during last night’s second Opry performance,” the tweet reads.

Parton recently spoke with E! in an interview saying King is a “doll.” She also revealed that she spoke with King over the phone about the performance. “I called her, and I said, ‘You know, there are many F-words,'” Parton said. “‘Why don’t we use the right one? Forgiveness, friends, forget it.'” She continued, “Elle is really a great artist,” Parton said. “She’s a great girl, and she’s been going through hard things lately.” She added: “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 anyone ever could.”

Parton celebrated her 78th birthday on January 19th with several events honoring her in Nashville, Tennessee. one of the events was the Grand Ole Opry event dedicated to the country singer with performances from King, Terri Clark, Tigirlily Gold, Ashley Monroe, Dailey and Vincent and more.

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