Celebrity Families

Inside Dolly Parton and Carl Dean's incredible love story

They're famously private and you'll never catch them on the red carpet together, but we've done some digging and found everything you need to know about this adorable couple.

By Rebecca Sullivan
There's not much about Dolly Parton that we don't know about.
The fabulous blonde country music superstar is famous for being an open book, having shared what feels like every part of herself and career with the public.
But there's a hugely important part of her life that Dolly expertly keeps under wraps - her incredible 52-year marriage to husband Craig Dean.
The famously low-key couple are never photographed together and never give joint interviews, but Dolly has given us a few glimpses into their gorgeous relationship over the years.
The couple even renewed their wedding vows to mark their 50th wedding anniversary in 2016 - so cute!
Dolly says Carl has "always been so supportive" and is the one constant in her life.
"He's like a brother and a father and a friend and a husband and a lover – all of those things to me. I think he's kind of proud that we've been in it this long!" she told People.
A marriage as long as Dolly and Carl's is pretty much unheard of in Hollywood, where some celebs are in-and-out of relationships every few months.
So what's their secret?
"The fact that we like each other, we respect each other, we've always had a good time," Dolly said said during an appearance on Good Morning Britain.
"He's crazy and I'm crazy. We laugh a lot and I think that's been one of the most precious parts of our relationship."
So gorgeous!
Keep scrolling to read everything you need to know about this adorable couple.
Dolly and Carl avoid the limelight and stay away from the cameras. (Image: dollyparton.com)

They had a quick, low-key wedding

In true unassuming Dolly and Carl style, the couple met in a laundromat in Tennessee in 1964.
In 1966, the couple were engaged to be married, but Dolly's record company were worried that a wedding would get in the way of her musical career and wanted to delay the nuptials.
But of course, no one was doing to tell Dolly Parton what she could and couldn't do. So they eloped and had a quiet wedding with just Dolly, Carl, the preacher and her mother present.
"We'd already sent out invitations and so I thought, "I ain't waiting!"' she told People.
"We went that same weekend to Ringgold, Georgia in a little church. I had a little white dress and little flowers, and my mum went with me."
The only public statement Carl has ever made was about the first time he set eyes on Dolly.
"My first thought was I'm gonna marry that girl," he said in a rare statement in 2016.
"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."
While Dolly still uses her maiden name professionally, she did take Carl's surname when they married and has previously said that her passport reads "Dolly Parton Dean," and sometimes uses the Dean surname when signing contracts.
The couple were married in 1966, just as Dolly's career was taking off. (Image: dollyparton.com)

They're complete opposites

They say opposites attract - and that's absolutely true for Dolly and Carl.
"I married a really good man, a guy that's completely different from me," Parton told Parade in 2015.
"He's not in show business. He's not resentful of any of that. He loves to hear about the things I do. I love to hear about the things he does. So we enjoy each other's company. We get along good."
She also told People: "We're completely opposite, but that's what makes it fun. I never know what he's gonna say or do. He's always surprising me."
You don't get through 52 years in Hollywood without fending off a few rumours! (Image: dollyparton.com)

They keep a low profile

Soon after they were married, Dolly's fame suddenly skyrocketed.
Along with fame comes a million industry events. One evening, Dolly brought Carl along to his first media event - and it turned out to also be the last function the pair would attend together.
"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!" Carl told Dolly.
And the couple have stuck to that rule. There are very few photographs of them together and Carl never accompanies his wife on the red carpet at award shows or media events.
Plus, Dolly never posts about him on social media.
"My husband is a loner," Dolly said of Dean. "He doesn't particularly care about being around anybody but me. He's just always asked me to leave him out of all this. He does not like all the hullabaloo."
They love their low-key lifestyle away from the drama of Hollywood.
"We like to get in our little RV and just be simple," Dolly told People.
"I love to read, I love to cook, I love to be with my husband. I put on my comfy clothes—I call them my baby clothes—and we just relax."
Sounds like a dream lifestyle!
Dolly says Carl never joins her on the red carpet. (Image: Getty)

They've fought off constant rumours of affairs

Despite their rock-solid marriage, there have always been rumours swirling that Dolly and Carl were both involved in extramarital affairs.
That stemmed from Dolly's juicy admission in her 2017 book Dolly on Dolly: Interviews and Encounters With Dolly Parton that their marriage is "totally open and free."
Dolly said she had a secret "affair of the heart" that completely devastated her and said "it just about killed me."
But she has never revealed the identity of her secret lover.
"I cried an ocean. But I ain't gonna talk about it anymore. I've got to keep some mystery," she said.
Dolly has also dogged rumours that she's been tangled in a lesbian affair with her longtime friend Judy Ogle, as the two are inseparable and Dolly is a long time supporter of LGBTIQ rights.
But in an interview with The Sun, Dolly made it clear that she's not gay nor romantically involved with Ogle.
"So people say that, because you can't really have a great relationship with a woman," she told The Sun. "I'm not gay but I have so many gay friends and I accept everybody for who they are."
She added: "Judy and I have been best friends for 64 years, since we were little kids. Our ­parents knew each other, we grew up together, we were like ­sisters, became best friends."
WATCH BELOW: Miley Cryus and Dolly Parton perform Dolly's hits

Sadly, Carl is NOT a fan of his wife's music

Dolly might have millions of fans around the world who adore her music, but her husband certainly isn't one of them!
Dolly recently revealed that while Carl is her number one fan in life, he certainly isn't playing 9 To 5 on blast every morning.
"He's not necessarily one of the biggest fans of my music," Dolly told Good Morning Britain.
"For years and years he would never come to the shows because he felt like he'd get nervous if I messed up, so he never wanted to watch it," she said.
"The first time he saw me perform and that I was in control of the stage, he was ok.
"He likes hard rock, he likes Led Zeppelin and bluegrass music, so my music is somewhere in between. He doesn't dislike it, but he doesn't go out of his way to play my records, let's put it that way."
But despite his dislike of country music, Carl always supports Dolly in her career, 100 per cent.
"He's proud of me," she said. "And he loves that I love what I do. I think it's just…it's a touchy subject. I'm like his little girl, I think."
They're the ultimate couple goals! (Image: dollyparton.com)

They recently renewed their wedding vows

To mark their 50th wedding anniversary in 2016, the couple "got married again" in a celebration that was very different to their first wedding back in 1966.
"I'll have a beautiful wedding dress, 'cause I didn't have a big, long wedding dress when we got married and we've got a suit for him, so we're going to dress up and take a bunch of pictures," Dolly told People.
"If I had it to do all over, I'd do it all over again, and we did. I'm dragging him kicking and screaming into the next 50 years."

Carl's cheeky threesome suggestion

Well, sometimes when you've been married for so long, you want to spice things up a little!
And Carl confessed that he's got a major crush on Jennifer Aniston, the star of the new Netflix film Dumplin, the soundtrack to which exclusively features Dolly Parton sons.
When talking about her relationship with Aniston on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, Dolly revealed her her husband's massive crush on the Friends star.
"My husband is crazy about her," Dolly told Jimmy Fallon.
"He was more excited that I was going to do a movie with her than he was that I got the chance to write all this music. See, I think he kinda fantasizes, like, a threesome with us."
"I think he can't get it out to pee, much less get it up for three!" Dolly quipped.
Dumplin stars Danielle Macdonald and Jennifer Aniston with Dolly Parton at the film's premiere. (Image: Getty)

So what's their secret?

So what's the secret to Dolly and Carl's long-lasting marriage?
"The fact that we like each other, we respect each other, we've always had a good time," she said on Good Morning Britain. "He's crazy and I'm crazy. We laugh a lot and I think that's been one of the most precious parts of our relationship."
You know the saying "distance makes the heart grow fonder"? Dolly reckons there's absolutely truth in that!
"I always joke and laugh when people ask me what's the key to my long marriage and lasting love. I always say 'Stay gone!' and there's a lot of truth to that. I travel a lot, but we really enjoy each other when we're together and the little things we do," she told Country Living.
When they do spend time together, it's doing something low key, like getting fast food!
"When I met my husband, he wanted to take me out to dinner. He pulled up to the drive-in window and got our food at McDonald's," Dolly said.
"We know a few little places we can go without being bothered. He only likes to go places where he can be comfortable!"
But above all, it's about kindness and respect.
"You gotta kinda respect and like each other and forgive a lot of stuff and accept a lot of things," Dolly told US Weekly.
"Love each other and keep your vows."

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