Country megastar Kenny Rogers has said that he and his life-long friend and fellow country megastar Dolly Parton "flirted with each other for 30 years" but never slept together.

The pair, who duetted on massive hits such as 1983's Islands in the Stream, have been long-standing pals but 76-year-old Rogers says they never did anything about their flirtation because neither of them wanted to bust up a perfectly good friendship.

"We flirted with each other for 30 years, and it was much more electric," Rogers says in an interview with veteran news man Dan Rather, which airs tonight in the US.

"I think once you consummate a relationship like that, it loses something. And she and I both believe that theory, so we did some massive flirting in front of the nation, but there was never anything more than that."

Asked by Rather what he loves most about his old friend, Kenny says: "Dolly has no filter - if it goes in her mind, it comes out her mouth, she doesn't stop to think 'Maybe I shouldn't say this.'

"She came over and put her arms around me and she said, 'Kenny, I just want you to know something; I could never sing at your funeral' and I said, 'So we're assuming I'm going first, is that what you're saying?' But that's what's so wonderful about her, if she thinks it, she says it."