Dolly Parton and Carl Dean celebrated 54 years of marriage in 2020!
But as fans of the country legend know, Parton and her husband have famously been private about their longterm relationship — and Dean makes a point of avoiding the spotlight. Now, to promote her book Dolly Parton, Songteller, the singer has offered insight on her marriage in a new interview with ET. Here's what she said.
Dolly Parton talks 54 years with husband Carl Dean
In the rare personal life comments, Parton spoke on Dean's aversion to fame and, as ET put it, the fan theory that he's imaginary. "A lot of people have thought that through the years," Parton said, "because he does not want to be in the spotlight at all."
"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," she shared of her beloved 78-year-old partner.
Parton went on to reveal that a deep respect for one another's wishes and the occasional time apart works wonders for a longterm marriage. She continued, "[Dean] 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."
Dolly Parton's secret to marriage longevity: "Because I stay gone"
Parton and Dean tied the knot on May 30, 1966, in Ringgold, Georgia. Today, Dean is retired from work in the asphalt road-paving business, while Parton, 74, is still an active and successful entertainer.
What's the secret to their marriage—which turned 54 earlier this year? "Our joke about the fact, when people ask me why it's lasted this long, I say, 'Because I stay gone.'
"And there's a lot of truth in that — the fact that we're not in each other's faces all the time. But we do have a great respect and admiration for each other. We both have a great sense of humor. So, we have a lot of fun."
During lockdown, Parton has remained as prolific as ever, giving many virtual performances, such as the one that brought Stephen Colbert to tears last week.