‘The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas’: What Dolly Parton Said About the Rumor That Burt Reynolds Was Difficult to Work With

Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds worked together on the 1982 film, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Leading up to filming, the “Jolene” singer was quite excited to be playing opposite the handsome Reynolds — she spoke of wanting to kiss him for every woman in America. But throughout the filming process, there were rumors that Reynolds was difficult to work with. He supposedly had a heated temper. Here’s what the Queen of Country had to say about her co-star’s on-set demeanor, as well as the rumor that they were having an affair.

Dolly Parton posting at Dollywood Theme Park
Dolly Parton | Ron Davis/Getty Images

Dolly Parton said she and Burt Reynolds made each other cry

Ladies’ Home Journal reported in 1982 that insiders said Reynolds had a tendency to step on people, blow up, and make “snarling demands.”

One executive told the publication: “The difference between Dolly and Burt is that when Dolly goes home at night and takes off her wig, she knows she’s still just Dolly Parton. But when Burt goes home and takes his off, he doesn’t know who he is.”

But when Ladies’ Home writer Cliff Jahr asked Parton if the reports about her co-star’s difficult behavior were true, she kept mum. She did say, though, that there were “sensitive times when things were said—not meaning to—that brought tears to his or my eyes.”

“He’s had a very hard time,” she said. “His broken heart with Sally Field, broken plans, working too hard, all those things can cause him to overreact in a lot of situations, especially being as sensitive as he is. But I do believe that inside him there’s a wonderful, wonderful man. And I think we have screen magic.”

Dolly Parton on if she and Burt Reynolds had an affair

RELATED: Dolly Parton Said She’d Only Record More Songs With Porter Wagoner After He Sued Her Under These Conditions

All throughout her career, Parton almost never answered yes or no to questions about affairs. She liked to keep people guessing. When she was asked in 1982 to describe her relationship with Reynolds, she called their off-screen chemistry “even sweeter than a love affair.”

Jahr brought up that it’d been reported that Reynolds had spent several nights with Parton during her Las Vegas show. “I ain’t saying yea or nay,” she responded. “Just sweeter than a love affair.”

There was another story around that time that reported Parton being swept off via private jet to Reynolds’ house in Florida. But the “9 to 5” singer said, “What they didn’t print is that Burt also brought along Jim Nabors and several cast members.”

Who the co-stars played in ‘The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas’

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas was released on July 23, 1982. The Broadway musical-adapted film was directed by Colin Higgins and earned $69.7 million at the box office. The picture was nominated for several awards in 1983: the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture, and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

RELATED: Dolly Parton Once Said She ‘Can Just About Read What People Think’

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas tells the story of Miss Mona (played by Parton), the madam of the Chicken Ranch brothel in a small Texas town, as she tries to keep her establishment open. The locals like Mona and have a good relationship with the brothel. Even Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd (played by Burt Reynolds) looks out for the Chicken Ranch because of his romantic past with Mona. But when reporter Melvin Thorpe (Dom DeLuise) writes about the brothel, outside parties move to shut it down.

Many reviewers agreed, “The chemistry between Dolly and Burt was fantastic.”