Dolly Parton and her husband Carl Thomas Dean have been married for 50 years this year. Despite her flirtatious behaviour and numerous rumours of affairs, those two are going strong and are set to renew their vows.
That’s what she said. In fact, Dolly Parton is the only one who ever spoke about her marriage, because her husband famously shuns the limelight. That means we have to trust Dolly’s word on their marriage, but the fact that they are about to celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary is proof enough that somehow they work.
Dolly and Carl are polar opposites. She’s 5 feet tall, extrovert, known around the world and a beloved celebrity, who openly admits to plastic surgery. He is 6 feet tall, introvert, a homebody and business owner of something so mundane as a road repair company.
According to Dolly they met at a Laundromat in 1964. She had only just arrived in Nashville and he warned her to put some sunscreen on in order not to get sunburned. What a pick-up line. She was 18 at the time, Carl was 22. Two years later, in May, they were married.
Dolly became a business mogul and successful singer, who released over 40 albums and toured around the world. Carl stayed at home, worked his own business and later on the farm that became their home.
The couple never had children, but they have a big family regardless due to their many siblings, who provided many nieces and nephews.
In 1984 Dolly had a partial hysterectomy, which left her in a depression. It was Carl who helped her out of it, but it may well have been one of those times in their marriage, where things could have gone sideways.
But somehow that never happened.
Dolly is well known for her flirtatious behaviour and has long been rumoured to have had affairs with the likes of Sylvester Stallone and Burt Reynolds. But she denies that she ever slept with anyone than her husband. She freely admits that she flirts with men, that she loves men on the whole and has fantasised about others. But she also tells her husband about it. He knows that she’ll flirt, but that there will never be anything else than that.
They let each other live their lives. Dolly says she will always come home to her husband. And at home she is simply Dolly Dean. Carl supports her and loves her and even though he hardly ever comes out to do so publicly, she doesn’t doubt his devotion. Apparently he has only seen her live once.
As the quintessential introvert he likes neither crowds nor attention and is perfectly content to stay at home and work on the farm and let Dolly do her thing, because she lets him do his.
Dolly also says that it helps for them to give each other room and to not see each other for days on end, especially when she is on tour, because that gives them the opportunity to miss each other.
Whilst it may be strange to think that their worlds only really overlap when these two are at home, being married for 50 years is a testament in its own right. Their relationship has been called unconventional, but then again, what is conventional anyway?
Dolly once said that she and Carl are proud of their marriage. It is the first for both of them and it will be their last. That in itself is rare enough in this day and age.
Dolly reportedly plans to celebrate their Golden Anniversary in a big way and Carl is set to be on stage with her. The couple are even said to renew their wedding vows on the occasion. The event is still a month away, however, and we’ll have to wait and see what will take place.
The way those two are going we can only wish them well for their Diamond Anniversary.