Dolly Parton is one of the vital beloved figures in country music, and maybe in popular culture generally. The prolific singer and songwriter continues to tour in her seventies to sold out crowds, and he or she’s been performing since her preteens. She met her husband Carl Thomas Dean her first day in Nashville, where she moved for her profession, and so they’ve been together for over half a century.
And yet, they’re barely ever seen together. Parton and Dean offer Hollywood an ideal example of keeping your private life private, though Parton often praises her husband in interviews and uses him as inspiration for her music.
Here’s what we’ve managed to study their relationship over their a few years together.
When Parton was 18 years old, she stepped into the Wishy Washy Laundromat and met her husband. It was her very first day in Nashville, and when Dean spotted her, he knew he’d found something special. ET reports that Dean said his first thought after meeting Parton was “I’m gonna marry that girl.”
He added, “My second thought was, ‘Lord she’s good lookin.’ And that was the day my life began.”
“I’d come to Nashville with dirty clothes,” Parton told the Latest York Times of their fateful meeting. “I used to be in such a rush to get here—and after I’d put my clothes within the machine, I began walkin’ down the road, just lookin’ at my latest home, and this guy hollered at me, and I waved. Bein’ from the country, I spoke to everybody. And he got here over and, well, it was Carl, my husband.”
They began getting serious pretty fast. Parton was staying together with her aunt and uncle, and Dean would come visit her as she sorted her young cousin in the course of the day. It was 1964, so all they did was talk on the porch, and Parton said she “would not even take him in the home.”
However the very first day she was free, he took her to his house—to satisfy his parents.
“That was my first probability to go anywhere with Carl, and he drove me straight to his folks’ house and introduced me to his mother and daddy,” she remembered. “‘Cause he said he knew right the minute he saw me that that is the one he wanted.”
After two years of dating, Dean proposed to his gal, and it was for partially practical reasons. Parton lived removed from town, but she wasn’t going to maneuver in with Dean until they got hitched. So that they did and got closer to Nashville center.
But Parton’s star was on the rise, and he or she said her manager on the time, Fred Foster, warned her that promotion can be harder if she was known to be married. They toned down plans for an enormous wedding, and got married quietly in Georgia on the Ringgold Baptist Church. Only the pastor, his wife, and Parton’s mother, Avie Lee Owens, were in attendance.
“I said, ’I’ve got to have momma there,’” the singer remembered. “So I had bought slightly dress, momma had bought me a Bible, some flowers on it. We grabbed momma and went back, and got married on a Monday, in a church.”
It was just in time, too, because that was the yr she won her first songwriter award for “Put It Off Until Tomorrow.” Dean joined her on the Broadcast Music, Inc. dinner ceremony.
“Carl and I got dressed up, he was in a tux, and we drove to the dinner. We got out and walked up the red carpet and went inside and sat through dinner and the awards, and I went up and got my award,” she recalled later.
Nevertheless, it was a turning point of their relationship.
“After the dinner, we walked back out, and so they brought us our automobile … and we got in it and headed for home,” she said. “Carl turned to me and said, ‘Dolly, I need you to have the whole lot you wish, and I’m joyful for you, but don’t you ever ask me to go to a different one in all them dang things again!’”
While the couple were very private, Parton did offer a tribute to Dean very early of their relationship, releasing her first solo album My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy. On the quilt was a photograph of fella sitting on a log in jeans and a plaid red shirt. That was her husband.
The songwriter’s massive 1973 hit “Jolene” was inspired by Dean, Parton admitted in 2008, during an interview with NPR. There was a lady with “beautiful red hair” at a show of hers which inspired her, however the fears of infidelity got here from a flirtation she noticed between her husband and a lady who worked as a neighborhood bank teller.
“She got this terrible crush on my husband,” Parton claimed. “And he just loved going to the bank because she paid him a lot attention. It was kinda like a running joke between us—after I was saying, ‘Hell, you are spending quite a lot of time on the bank. I do not believe we have got that form of money.’ So it’s really an innocent song throughout, but feels like a dreadful one.”
She was more forceful about this mysterious lady a couple of years later while introducing the song on the Glastonbury Festival, in response to The Independent.
“I wrote that years ago when my husband … was spending slightly more time with Jolene than I believed he must be,” she told the audience. “I put a stop to that. I removed that redhead woman in a rush.”
In 1977, Parton was on the quilt People. She described her husband in the quilt interview by saying, “He’s type of shy and quiet…What we’ve together is so sweet and good that I’d never want it to get jumbled up with the opposite.”
At that time, Dean had in some way never seen his wife perform, so there was no mixing in any respect. When asked about kids in the identical interview, she replied, “I do not know that I won’t have children someday. Nevertheless it’s just impossible for me to bear children and leave them for any person else to lift while I even have a profession. If I wait until I’m naturally too old to have children, I can all the time adopt them.”
Parton added, “Once I hearken to my very own things, I believe to myself, ‘I used to be the mother of that.’”
By the early eighties, Dean’s very existence was in query. People wondered if Parton had made him up, because he was never at her shows, on the red carpet or by her side. Parton headed to Los Angeles to film the classic movie 9 to five in 1980, and a yr later she combatted rumors of her husband being made up in an interview with People, saying he was together with her in LA the entire two month shoot.
“Carl is the one man in my life,” she said. “I’d like to get older with him. If he should die first, I could never marry again. My love is that deep.”
The couple faced rumors of a divorce, but Parton denied it, saying, “[Dean] was the person God intended for me to have. We’ll just all the time be together … To him it’s all a joke. There ain’t a person on this world could ever live as much as my husband. That is one in all the things that keeps me from going too far.”
In a tribute to her husband, Parton covered Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” on her album Halos & Horns.
“I do songs that I just love,” she said interview. “My husband has such an odd taste in music, and he loves Led Zeppelin. He’s been a ‘Led Head’ from day one and likewise loves bluegrass and big-band music. ‘Stairway to Heaven’ was all the time Carl’s favorite.”
Parton added, “It was form of like ‘our song’ because at romantic times or sweet times, we would just be riding around within the automobile and if that may come on, Lord, he’d just knock us out of the automobile turning it up full blast.”
While quite a lot of Parton’s love songs are inspired by her one true love with Dean, in 2012 she said very directly that he inspired the song she wrote for her 2012 film Joyful Noise, “From Here to the Moon and Back.”
“I needed to jot down a lovely love song,” she said. “I picked my husband, who I like, and I believed, ‘Well, I’ll write some beautiful song about him.’”
She added, “It was about my husband within the movie, played by Kris Kristofferson. So I believed with a view to make it really real and really touching, I’d write it about my real, true emotions about someone I actually do love and have loved for greater than half of my life.”
In an interview, Parton shared that she and Dean visit Ringgold, the town they were married in around their anniversary each time they’ll.
“I do have an anniversary on the thirtieth of May and last weekend we went to Ringgold,” she revealed. “We attempt to go down there every yr if we will. We at the very least go every three years. We make a journey down there and take a picnic.”
She added, “They never know that we’re there.”
The couple never had any children, which Parton has said she is advantageous with.
“When my husband and I were dating, after which after we got married, we just assumed we’d have kids,” Parton told Billboard in 2014. “We weren’t doing anything to stop it. In reality, we thought perhaps we’d. We even had names if we did, however it didn’t prove that way.”
That very same yr she told People, “I often think, it just wasn’t meant for me to have kids so everybody’s kids may be mine.”
When asked by People how her marriage has worked for therefore long, Parton replied, “My husband is man, to begin with. He’s a deep person, but he has a terrific and warped humorousness. He makes me laugh and entertains me. He’s very secure inside himself.”
She continued, “They are saying that opposites attract, and it’s true. We’re completely opposite, but that is what makes it fun. I never know what he’s gonna say or do. He’s all the time surprising me.”
“I married a very good man, a man that is completely different from me,” Parton told Parade of her spouse in 2015. “He isn’t in show business.”
She added, “He isn’t resentful of any of that…. I’m joyful after I’m on stage, I’m joyful when things are going great within the business, but I’m also very joyful after I’m home with [Dean] and we do our little things together. We sight-see all of Tennessee and Kentucky, the areas that we will get back home from at night. Sometimes we’ll stay over at a Days Inn [motel] where we will just pull up and sneak me in. We do not care, so long as the bed’s clean and there is a toilet. That is how we live.”
Parton and Dean renewed their vows, this time at their home in Nashville.
“We’ll get married again!” Parton told People ahead of the event. “I’ll have a lovely wedding dress, ’cause I did not have an enormous, long wedding dress after we got married and we have got a suit for him, so we’re going to decorate up and take a bunch of images.”
Afterwards, she told Rolling Stone Dean “looked like a handsome dude out of Hollywood” in the course of the ceremony.
She described the day, saying, “We had a couple of family and friends around. We didn’t plan anything big in any respect because we didn’t want any form of strain, any form of tension, any form of commotion, so we planned it cleverly and thoroughly. We just had just a couple of individuals who needed to be there to ensure they got the images and the few things that we would have liked. We just rejoiced with it.”
Afterwards, they went on a honeymoon, since they each needed to get back to work the following day after their first wedding. Parton told Yahoo! that they were taking and RV trip across the country, something they wish to do regular for vacations.
“We wish to get out in our little RV and just be easy,” Parton told People in 2015. “I like to read, I like to cook, I like to be with my husband. I placed on my little comfortable clothes—I call them my baby clothes—and we just calm down.”
Parton’s 2016 album Pure and Easy was created around the various stages of life and love she and Dean have shared through the years. She told Rolling Stone, “I used to be just attempting to take into consideration all the various colours of affection through the years. I believed, ‘Well I’m going to jot down about mine and Carl’s relationship. It’s only a pure and easy relationship,’ so it began with that after which I believed, ‘Well why don’t I just write a complete album of affection songs?’”
Two tracks, “Say Eternally You may Be Mine” and “Tomorrow Is Eternally” were written many years ago soon after they tied the knot.
“I wrote those back within the early, early days of our marriage,” she said. “I had those two songs on albums years ago back within the ’70s. So I just pulled those out again because I believed they were precious.”
Parton appeared on the quilt of Playboy in 1978, and her husband was apparently an enormous fan. For his July twentieth birthday, Parton recreated the image wearing one in all their iconic suits and ears, and shared a clip of the event together with her fans. She gifted him framed shots of the 2 pictures side-by-side.
“Today is July 20, it’s my husband Carl’s birthday,” she said. “My husband all the time loved the unique cover, so I used to be trying to think about something to do to make him joyful. He still thinks I’m a hot chick, after 57 years, and I’m not gonna attempt to talk him out of that. And I hope he agrees.”
She captioned the clip, “It is often #HotgirlSummer for my husband Carl.”
Parton shared rare pic of her husband wherein is wearing a t-shirt together with her name on it and holding her hand. Within the caption, she wrote, “Find you a partner who will support you want my Carl Dean does!”
Later that month, she shared one other throwback pic for Thanksgiving of the pair sitting together within the old days.
For Valentine’s Day, Parton continued to undergo the old files and offered a photograph of Dean kissing her on the cheek for the romantic holiday.
“Completely satisfied Valentine’s Day, y’all! Remember to squeeze your family members slightly tighter today and tell them you’re keen on ’em!” she wrote.
In an interview with Higher Homes & Gardens, Parton painted an image of what the vacations are like for her and Dean. Their traditions include red and green pancakes on Christmas morning, and chocolate-covered cherries are enjoyed, something Parton’s parents once did. Dean also all the time gives his wife a poem or sings her a song her wrote himself. The singer says husband “has a lovely voice.”
Parton told ET Canada that sharing a humorousness is the important thing to her marriage of six many years.
“We each have a warped humorousness, ” she said. “And I believe humor, truthfully, is among the best things once you’re married like that. Even when you’ve got an issue, if you’ve got a terrific humorousness, when you say something you possibly can’t take back [you] normally have some crazy way of getting out of it.”
It also helps that with their very different careers and schedules they don’t seem to be “in one another’s face on a regular basis.”
“He isn’t within the business, so we’ve different interests, but yet we’ve the things we like to do together,” she explained. “So it was meant to be, I believe. He was the one I used to be alleged to have and vice versa.”
In spite of everything these years, people still need to learn about Parton’s mysterious husband. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Parton called Dean a “loner.”
“He’s form of a loner, so he doesn’t really like being with anybody but me,” she said. “He isn’t one to form of get on the market and socialize that much. He loves living on the farm, taking good care of the property as he has for all these a few years.”
Aimée Lutkin is the weekend editor at ELLE.com. Her writing has appeared in Jezebel, Glamour, Marie Claire and more. Her first book, The Lonely Hunter, might be released by Dial Press in February 2022.