Stephen Colbert Breaks Down in Tears During Dolly Parton Interview

'Like a lot of Americans, I'm under a lot of stress right now,' he told the country music legend.

Dolly Parton caught Stephen Colbert in a vulnerable moment! The 74-year-old country crooner appeared on Tuesday's The Late Show for a virtual interview that became emotional for the 56-year-old late-night host.

While discussing songs that Parton's late mother, Avie Lee Owens, used to sing to her, Parton broke into song singing, "Bury Me Beneath the Willow." Colbert, who lost his mother, Lorna, in 2013, was moved to tears while listening to Parton's impromptu performance, miming to someone off-camera that he was getting "goosebumps." 

"Oh, you're crying?" Parton asked in between lyrics. "I better hush before you cry yourself to death and we can't finish the show." 

Wiping away tears and laughing, Colbert told Parton, "Like a lot of Americans, I'm under a lot of stress right now, Dolly. You got my tripwire right there, I'll tell you. That was pretty beautiful."

Parton also opened up about music bringing her to tears, saying, "We used to cry when Mama would sing. Mama would cry, we'd cry. Those old songs were just amazing."

"Isn't it funny that sometimes there's nothing happier than a cry?" Colbert asked Parton. 

"Yeah, I think that cleanses your soul," Parton replied. "Water washes it out. That's what it's for, I think." 

Earlier in the interview, Parton opened up about turning to music for her own therapy and to help others. 

"I just feel like I can express myself in ways that I don't need a doctor for, I don't need therapy, I just sing it all out, write it all out," she explained. "I can write for other people too, like you said. Because I see things happen to other people and I think, 'They don't know how to express how they feel.' They're depressed or they're sad, so I write songs for them as well."