In this week's issue of PEOPLE, the country legend opens up about her relationship with her goddaughter Miley Cyrus

By Brianne Tracy
November 20, 2019 09:15 AM
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Dolly Parton and her goddaughter, Miley Cyrus, might not be related by blood, but the saying that “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” still applies.

In this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, the country legend, 73, opens up about the relationship she shares with the 26-year-old star, who seems to be following in her footsteps.

“Lord, I’ve done everything, and what I ain’t done, I intend to,” Parton tells PEOPLE. “She’s going to do that, too. But Miley’s smart; Miley knows what she’s doing. I know we think she doesn’t, and she might not every minute, but I still know that she’s got good stuff in her.”

When it comes to giving Cyrus advice on life or her new music, Parton says she’d rather “live an example.”

“I’ve told her some things that I think are valuable and that she uses, but I’d rather live an example,” she says. “[I’d rather] be an example rather than just try to tell somebody to do this, do that because I don’t think that’s right. Everybody’s different. You’ve got your own journey. And some people are going to help you along the way and they can kick a few rocks out of the road for you, but you got to walk it.”

Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus
Kevin Winter/Getty

Cyrus, who is recovering after undergoing vocal cord surgery earlier this month, most recently dropped her single, “Slide Away,” in August, just days after revealing she and husband Liam Hemsworth, 29, had split. In May, she released her six-song EP, She Is Coming.

Kevin Mazur/Getty

During a press conference held at her Dollywood DreamMore Resort in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, to promote her upcoming Netflix series, Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings, in October, Parton told reporters that she’s proud of Cyrus for “doing her thing.”

“Miley is so talented,” Parton said. “Miley has such gifts, and I think she’s gonna’ be great. Now other people say, ‘You need to talk to Miley.’ I say, ‘No, I don’t. Miley will be Miley, I’ll be me and everybody needs to do their own thing.'”

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Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings is an anthology series that showcases the stories, memories and inspiration behind some of Parton’s most beloved songs, including “Jolene,” “Two Doors Down,” “These Old Bones” and “J.J. Sneed.”

“All my life I’ve been writing songs,” Parton said during the press conference. “In the early days, we didn’t even have technology. I started writing songs because we didn’t have a chance to go to movies and we didn’t have TV in those early days, so I would write songs, just make up stories that were really kind of like movies, and I would sign them. It was entertainment to us.”

Dolly Parton in Dolly Parton’s Heart Strings
Netflix

To have celebrated the premiere of Dolly Parton’s Heart Strings at her Dollywood Theme Park (which is nearby where she grew up in Locust Ridge) on Oct. 29, Parton says is “unreal.”

“It’s like a dream come true,” she tells PEOPLE. “This was a really big dream of mine because I’ve been writing all my life. My songwriting means more to me than anything else I do. So to see my songs come to life like this and see them on screen in any form is great. This was a dream, and now I’m here living it.”

Dolly Parton
Frazer Harrison/Getty

Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings will be available for streaming on Netflix on Nov. 22.

For more on Dolly Parton’s life now, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.