Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire; Photo Courtesy of Living & Learning With Reba McEntire/Twitter
Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire; Photo Courtesy of Living & Learning With Reba McEntire/Twitter

Reba McEntire Says Dolly Parton Inspires Her To Keep Going And To Never Retire

Reba McEntire has been maintaining a busy profile in her life. For one, she has found new love with actor Rex Linn following her public divorce from ex-husband and former manager Narvel Blackstock.

Secondly, the 67-year-old powerhouse is currently starring in the ABC hit drama series Big Sky alongside Linn. Along with that, she has plenty of performances in the works as part of her Reba: Live in Concert tour.

But McEntire’s motivation to keep the momentum going, regardless of age, accomplishments, or the number of milestones she has reached, doesn’t just come from anywhere. It partially stems from something she says Dolly Parton once told her.

In a recent interview with PEOPLE, McEntire, who has thus far enjoyed four-plus decades in the music industry, recalled a conversation with Parton that has since stuck with her to this day.

The “Fancy” singer said she once shared a chat with The Smokey Mountain Songbird, where she begged the question of whether or not Parton would ever retire.

Parton’s response? Nope.

“I asked Dolly Parton, ‘You ever think about retiring?’ She said, ‘What would I do where I could have so much fun?'” McEntire said. “We’re having a blast. I’m about 10 years younger than Dolly, and she inspires me daily. As long as we can do what we do and still enjoy it, we can continue doing it.”

Though McEntire sees no signs of slowing down, she still makes sure she fully enjoys the projects she takes on. And she assures that she is having a great time in her current TV role.

“This is one of the happiest times of my life,” McEntire claims of her current status. “I never would’ve thought in a million years I’d be doing an ABC drama at my age, but I am absolutely loving it.”

McEntire, who is no stranger to acting, having played the lead role in her own sitcom Reba, also expressed a desire to one day play a character in a superhero film.

“Now, if I can just be a superhero or a supervillain in one of the Marvel movies, that would be the icing on the cake,” she shared.

As for Parton, despite recently announcing her departure from full-scale touring, she undoubtedly is one of the busiest stars in country music. At age 76, the legendary singer-songwriter, whose name is behind the popular amusement park Dollywood, and book-gifting program, Dolly Parton’s imagination library, along with other countless ventures, continues to set her sights on new things and different projects. One of those includes a potential rock album, which makes sense as she is gearing up to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“When I got nominated for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, I thought ‘Well, no better time to do it,’” Parton says in an interview with Pollstar magazine. “I had always wanted to do it. My husband is a big hard rock ’n’ roll fan, and for years I thought, “One of these days, I’d like to do an album mainly just for him, just to kind of do it.” When I got nominated, I thought, “Why not just go ahead and do it while the iron’s hot? Maybe have some of the greats, the legends of rock ‘n’ roll sing along with me.”

In a 2018 interview with PEOPLE, the “9 to 5” singer, whose career has spanned more than five decades, even revealed she had no intention of ever fully retiring from her role as a country artist. It turns out other country stars like McEntire have taken a notice of Parton’s keep-on-keeping-on mentality.

Parton was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, alongside Pat Benatar, Duran Duran, Eminem, Eurythmics, Lionel Richie, and Carly Simon. The induction took place at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and can be viewed on HBO and HBO Max.

Fans can, meanwhile, look for McEntire on Big Sky, which is in its third season. Big Sky airs Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

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