- Dolly Parton and Carl Dean met outside a Nashville laundromat in 1964 and married in 1966.
- Dean, a retired businessman, prefers to stay out of the spotlight.
- Parton says the key to their lasting marriage is their independence.
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“He came up every day that week and we sat out on the porch. I wouldn’t even take him in the house,” she said. “Then my aunt got a day off, and she could keep the kid and that was my first chance to go anywhere with Carl and he drove me straight to his folks’ house and introduced me to his mother and daddy. ‘Cause he said he knew right the minute he saw me that that’s the one he wanted.”
“It was just my mother and Carl and me,” she told CMT in 2016. “We went across the state line to Ringgold, Georgia. My mother made me a little white dress and a little bouquet and a little Bible. But I said, ‘I can’t get married in a courthouse because I’ll never feel married.’ So we found a little Baptist church in town, and went up to Pastor Don Duvall and said, ‘Would you marry us?’ We got pictures on the steps right outside the church.”
“After the dinner, we walked back out, and they brought us our car — I don’t even remember what we were driving then — and we got in it and headed for home,” Parton told audiences at the Marty Stuart Jam in 2011, according to The Boot. “Carl turned to me and said, ‘Dolly, I want you to have everything you want, and I’m happy for you, but don’t you ever ask me to go to another one of them dang things again!'”
Beyond this image, there are few photos of the couple together in public.
In his first public statement in honor of their 50th anniversary, Dean also expressed his love for Parton.
“My first thought was, ‘I’m gonna marry that girl,'” Dean said in a statement of the moment they met, according to Entertainment Tonight. “My second thought was, ‘Lord she’s good lookin’.’ And that was the day my life began. I wouldn’t trade the last 50 years for nothing on this earth.”
“I love her to death,” she said of Aniston. “My husband is crazy about her. And he was more excited that I was gonna do a movie with her than he was that I got the chance to write all this music.”
“A lot of people have thought that through the years, because he does not want to be in the spotlight at all,” Parton said. “It’s just not who he is. He’s like, a quiet, reserved person and he figured if he ever got out there in that, he’d never get a minute’s peace and he’s right about that.”
Parton said that they each value their independence, and that Dean values his privacy and has no interest in fame.
“I’ve always respected and appreciated that in him and I’ve always tried to keep him out of the limelight as much as I can,” she said. “He said, ‘I didn’t choose this world, I chose you, and you chose that world. But we can keep our lives separate and together.’ And we do and we have. We’ve been together 56 years, married 54.”
“Hey!” Parton said as she opened the video. “You’re probably wondering why I’m dressed like this. Well, it’s for my husband’s birthday.”
She said that Dean had always loved her original Playboy cover, so to “make him happy” on his birthday, she decided to get a duplicate outfit and set up her own photo shoot.
“He still thinks I’m a hot chick after 57 years,” she said. “And I’m not gonna try and talk him out of that.”