Elle King Says She Was ‘100 Percent Dissociated’ During Drunken Dolly Parton Tribute

Elle King Says She Was ‘100 Percent Dissociated’ During Drunken Dolly Parton Tribute
Elle King attends Audacy's Leading Ladies 2024 in Brooklyn, New York, on March 20, 2024. (Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images forAudacy's Leading Ladies 2024)

Singer-songwriter Elle King has finally addressed her controversial performance at country music legend Dolly Parton’s 78th birthday tribute show earlier this year.

Speaking with Chelsea Handler on the comedian’s podcast, “Dear Chelsea,” the musician revealed she “was totally 100 percent dissociated” as she helmed the stage of Nashville’s iconic Ryman Auditorium on Jan. 19 to headline the celebratory event.

“This is my first time actually talking about it,” the 34-year-old said during the May 16 episode.

“I did a big no-no. I not only cussed on stage—hammered at the Grand Ole Opry—but it was Dolly Parton’s birthday,” she offered. “I haven’t spoken about it because, one, I had to just chill. It was a big deal.”

Ms. King explained that there were two shows that evening—the first of which she said went on without a hitch. However, the “Ex’s & Oh’s” singer, who has been very open about her struggles with substance abuse, admitted to consuming too much alcohol before the second show, resulting in her drunken debacle on stage.

“I take one shot too many, and I’m just not there in my body, I’m not there,” she recalled. “I don’t remember it, all I remember, I don’t even remember what I said. I know now what I said, I said, ‘I’m Elle King and I’m [expletive] hammered.’ And I got the curtain dropped on me.”

‘I Can Learn From My Mistakes’

While chatting with Ms. Handler, the musician noted that she wasn’t initially slated to headline the “Dolly Goes Opry” event. However, in a sudden turn of events, a heavy snowstorm caused the original headliner to back out hours before the start of the show. That afternoon, the Grand Ole Opry took to X, formerly Twitter, to announce that singer Lauren Alaina would be unable to perform “due to unforeseen circumstances.”

Ms. King explained that prior to going on stage, she hadn’t eaten or slept in days.

“I had been going through something very heavy and traumatic in my life at the time. And that day was a really big day dealing with what I was going through and that I’m still going through, and I, I suffer from like severe PTSD,” she shared. “I was really overwhelmed. I was like a shell of myself.”

Following her performance, the singer said she laid down on the floor of her dressing room backstage and sobbed.

“The next day, it was, like, everywhere, everywhere, and I was mortified,” she said. “I handwrote an apology letter to the Opry, and I handwrote an apology letter to Dolly. And Dolly called me a couple days later, and she’s just … like proof that angels exist. She just gave me really kind words … and made me laugh.”

Despite the massive blowback she received, Ms. King said the “Jolene” singer, who did not attend the tribute in person, told her that no one would be harder on her than herself. “I was very, very hard on myself, and I’m mortified,” she reiterated, noting that her mishap inspired her to make changes in her life.

“That was me hitting a massive brick wall,” Ms. King acknowledged.

“I feel like I’m becoming a stronger person because of it. I’m not grateful for it, but at the same time, like, I can find a silver lining in literally anything, and, like, I’m gonna choose to use this as a tool to not defeat me but to make me hopefully a better person,” she continued, adding that she no longer drinks before her shows.

Foray Into Country Music

Ms. King, the daughter of comedian Rob Schneider and actress London King, has been playing shows and touring since she was about 15 years old. She officially launched her singing career in 2012 with the release of “The Elle King EP.” Her third and most recent studio album, “Come Get Your Wife,” was released in 2023.

Although the singer originally got her start in alternative rock, she crossed over into the pop genre before making her foray into country music, debuting a duet with country crooner Dierks Bentley in 2016. The song “Different for Girls” garnered the duo the CMA Award for “Musical Event of the Year” that same year.

Contemplating her musical switch-up, Ms. King—who welcomed her first child, son Lucky, in September 2021 with tattoo artist Dan Tooker—told Ms. Handler that “country’s more fun,” touching upon her affinity for partying, something she claimed wasn’t widely accepted in the pop genre.

“I feel like country was pretty, like, warm and welcoming to me and they, and they still are,” she said. “I think a lot of the people in the country world are rebels in a lot of ways, um, which I kind of related to. And my family’s from Ohio, and so I felt kind of at home in that space where I felt very not at home or comfortable in the pop world.”

From The Epoch Times

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