Members of Sydney’s media were granted an audience with the queen of country herself, Dolly Parton, yesterday, as the 65-year-old superstar joked about her husband, her extravagant touring bus and her two most famous assets.

“You thought these were boobs, but they’re just paper wads,” she winked, as she pulled some prepared thank you notes out of the front of her rhinestoned top, making sure she thanked federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese, the man responsible for cutting through red tape and allowing Parton’s bus to visit Australia with her. The deal for her tour apparently went – no bus to get ready in, no Dolly.

“People ask me, how long does it take to do my hair? I say, I don’t know, I’m never there. When I’m in my bus getting ready for a show, I can spend all afternoon gettin’ ready. I do make an effort when I go out because I don’t want people sayin’ ‘Did you see Dolly Parton lookin’ awful? I woulda thought she’da cleaned up!’” she squealed.

Much like Oprah, Parton’s mastered the art of seemingly saying a lot while actually revealing very little about herself, something she was happy to acknowledge.

“My life is very personal. People think they know everything about me, but they don’t. A lot of that has to do with my husband of 45 years – he does not like bein’ in the public eye, and he would never in a million years do an interview.”

She did offer this revealing little addendum to one of most oft-quoted jokes, though: “People ask if my family was Catholic because we had so many kids, and I say no, we’re just horny hillbillies.

“My husband’s not from the country, but he’s horny.”

The assembled media throng were even treated to the unlikely sight and sound of Parton rapping, inspired by her recent work with Queen Latifah in the upcoming feelgood gospel flick Joyful Noise (“Queen Latifah, she da queen/of hip-hop, rap and movie screen/yeah she da queen of her own hood/but I’m da queen of Dollywood,”), before one plucky journo asked Parton for her thoughts on the Australian government’s stance on marriage equality.

“I have a lot of gay and lesbian friends, and I don’t pass judgement on anybody – I think everyone should be free to love who they want,” she said.

“There’s not enough love in this world, so find love where you can. And if you find it, consider yourself lucky.”

INFO: Dolly Parton is touring Australia until December 1. info: www.dollypartonmusic.net/tour

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