DOLLY PARTON suffered a secret collapse after surviving a terrifying car crash with her rumored lesbian lover, JUDY OGLE.

Insiders tell The ENQUIRER that Dolly feared Judy – who’s been de­scribed as the singer’s true “soul mate” – was on the brink of death in the aftermath of the accident as she sat trapped in her seat while waiting for help to arrive.

“Dolly thought she had lost the woman she loves,” said a close source. “Judy was stuck in the driv­er’s seat and her airbag didn’t deploy.

“Dolly, who was riding in the pas­senger seat of Judy’s car, was beside herself with grief. She feared Judy had internal bleeding and was going to die right there in front of her eyes.

“Dolly cried, ‘No, I love you – I can’t lose you!’”

Dolly, 67, and Judy, 68, were in Judy’s 2009 white Nissan Xterra in Nashville on Oct. 21 when a 2004 Mitsubishi Diamante driven by a 64-year-old woman from a nearby town failed to yield at a stop sign.

A 911 caller described the acci­dent to emergency dispatchers as a “T-bone” – a crash in which the front end of one car slams into the side of the other. Although Dolly was jolted by the force of the impact, she managed to hold it together so she could focus on Ogle.

“Dolly saw poor Judy trapped and struggling behind the wheel,” the source continued. “She thought the worst – that it was very likely Judy could have internal bleeding and would die right there on the spot before help arrived.

“Dolly was far more concerned for Judy’s well-being than her own. She hobbled around the car to Judy’s side and lovingly stroked her face and forehead. She also whispered softly to her that ‘everything will be OK. Hang in there, my honey.’ She did this until help arrived to extract her.”

Dolly, who has been married to hubby Carl Dean for 47 years, has been increasingly flaunting her deep affection for Judy in public lately – refueling the lesbian rumors that have followed her for decades.

Although Dolly insists they’ve never had a sexual relationship and she has repeatedly denied that she is a lesbian, the beloved “9 to 5” singer has admitted that she and Judy are so close they share the same bed when they travel.

“They’ve known each other since the third grade, and Dolly doesn’t make a move without Judy by her side,” said another source. “Judy’s never been married, and Dolly’s always told her it would break her heart if she had to share her.

“Judy is the most meaningful rela­tionship in Dolly’s life.

“They hold hands together as they walk around, they have their own lit­tle inside jokes and Dolly even some­times refers to the two of them as a ‘couple of old lesbians.’”

“I love her as much as I love any­body in the whole world, but we’re not romantically involved,” Dolly said previously.

After the devastating accident, Dolly and Judy were rushed to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where Judy remained for three days.

A family friend told The ENQUIRER that Judy suf­fered a broken sternum and several cracked ribs, while Dolly and the other woman involved in the accident were treated for minor in­juries and released.

It was only hours later – once she learned that Judy was going to be all right – that Dolly became overwhelmed by her emotions and collapsed.

“Dolly was extremely distraught,” said the friend. “She was a bundle of raw nerves and finally let it all out, suffering an emotional collapse after she learned that Judy would make it.

“Dolly was so worried because Judy is such a fragile person. She had just returned to work with Dolly (as her ‘personal assistant’) two months ago after recuperating from a broken pelvis.”

A rep for Parton denied the collapse and said Dolly is “wonderful.”

Meanwhile, Dolly had suffered her own health crisis.

In our Aug. 5 issue, The ENQUIRER exclusively revealed that Dolly under­went secret cancer surgery. A source said that doctors implanted a state-of-the-art medical device into the superstar’s esophagus during a tense five-hour operation.

A source said a terrified Dolly opted to undergo the experimental treat­ment after a sudden dramatic weight loss sparked fears that she was suffer­ing from deadly esophageal cancer.

“Dolly is fine and recovered well from the surgery, but now she feels terrible and blames herself because Judy was driving them both out to lunch,” said the friend.

“Not only that, she says that maybe if she hadn’t been such a chatterbox, none of this would have happened – that her gabbing so much might have been a distraction to Judy, even though police determined it was the other driver’s fault.”

Since the accident, Dolly has become even more attentive to the redhead, making sure Judy gets the proper care and rest in order to make a full recovery.

“In fact, she insisted Judy come stay with her at her estate outside of Nashville so she could keep a watchful eye on her progress – and Carl told Dolly that was fine with him,” said the source.

Not long after the accident, Dolly tweeted to her fans: “I was in a fender bender this morning here in Nash­ville, but I am all good…Just a little tired and sore. Resting at home now!”

The source says that the eternally optimistic singer was downplaying to her fans and followers how serious the crash really was.

“Now,” the source added, “all she wants to do is nurse Judy back to health.”