Emily Maynard Wishes Dolly Parton a Happy Birthday, Remembers Meeting the Country Superstar on 'The Bachelorette'
A pinch-me moment! Emily Maynard headed over to Instagram on Tuesday to wish Dolly Parton a happy 75th birthday — and took a trip down memory lane to recall the time she met the country superstar while leading Season 8 of “The Bachelorette” in 2012.
“Happy birthday queen @dollyparton,” Emily wrote alongside a throwback photo of herself posing with Dolly. “Still the very best part of being the bachelorette.”
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As Bachelor Nation may recall, Emily surprised her eventual runner-up, Arie Luyendyk Jr., with a flight to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee’s Dollywood. After enjoying Dolly’s famous theme park — which was open just for Emily and Arie — the iconic singer appeared to perform a private concert for the pair.
“So I got to dance while Dolly Parton is singing a song she wrote just for me. I mean, when did this become my life?” she said. “One of my favorite moments of my whole life, not just of being the Bachelorette, was meeting Dolly Parton.”
The stunning North Carolina native added, “I can’t even put into words how excited I was. And I had no words when I met her. I couldn’t get away fast enough. I just froze. I was so embarrassed.”
Emily’s journey as the Bachelorette ended with her accepting a proposal from Jef Holm. However, they called it quits several months after Season 8 finished airing. In June 2014, Emily — who has a 15-year-old daughter, Ricki, from a previous relationship — married Tyler Johnson, whom she met at church. The couple now share four children: sons Jennings, 5, Gibson, 4, and Gatlin, 3, and daughter Magnolia, 3 months.
Meanwhile, Arie went on to star as the Bachelor in 2018. During his time as the Season 22 lead, he met and fell in love with his now-wife, Lauren Burnham, with whom he shares daughter Alessi, 19 months, and is expecting twins.