Whitney Houston And Dolly Parton's Alleged Feud Over 'I Will Always Love You' Was Legendary, But The Women Later Reconnected

Date November 7, 2019

The song I Will Always Love You is a true classic. Today, it is still seen as a powerful goodbye song and most people attribute it to the late musical genius Whitney Houston. But she wasn't the original creator.

Dolly Parton wrote this incredible song in 1973 and it was released a year later. And interestingly, it's not a love song like people have come to assume. When the country singer wrote it, it was as a farewell to her mentor, producer and duet partner Porter Wagoner. The pair never had a romantic relationship.

Porter didn't want Dolly to go solo but, as Dolly later told CMT, this song was her way of saying that just because she was venturing out on her own didn't mean she didn't care for him.

Whitney Houston And Dolly Parton's Alleged Feud Over 'I Will Always Love You' Was Legendary, But The Women Later ReconnectedGetty Images / Ideal Image

Whitney Houston and Dolly Parton's feud over I Will Always Love You

Nearly two decades after the song was released, Whitney covered it for the 1992 hit film The Bodyguard. While Dolly's version was popular enough, the song's fame went through the roof with Whitney's rendition.

At the time, it was reported that this track sparked a bitter feud between both singers because Dolly reneged on an agreement to not perform the song while Whitney's version was still making waves in the charts. It was also suggested that the women argued over who ultimately owned rights to the song and its success.

In 2003, Dolly told CNN that there was no bad blood between her and Whitney over who owned the song. She said she was "flattered" and "honored" that Whitney sang it but she admitted she was shocked in the beginning.

In 1992, Dolly had no idea that her song was chosen for the film until she heard it while driving. She told CMT in 2011:

It was just one of those things where [you think], 'What is that?' And then all the sudden, when she started singing 'I will always love you,' I just about wrecked the car.

In the CNN interview, Dolly said she and Whitney went on to become good friends years later and she was devastated when Whitney passed away.

Whitney, for her own part, told Rolling Stone in 1993 that she considered Dolly one "hell of a writer" and that she(Whitney) didn't want to take credit for the song.

How Dolly sang I Will Always Love You

Whitney Houston's version of this song has come to be more mainstream than Dolly's. But check out the original version sung by the country singer many years ago.

While the alleged feud between Dolly and Whitney was never confirmed, it's still cool to know that the talented women became good friends eventually. Both versions of the incredible music are beautiful and reflected each woman's skill and musical gift.

Whitney Houston Dolly Parton Music