Dolly Parton is one of the most famous country music stars in the world. She has spent decades amassing success in her career, and becoming one of the most beloved celebrities ever. Another aspect that many people have continuously witnessed is her love life. She and her husband Carl Dean have been married for over five decades, but it has not always been the easiest road traveled. Many do not know what has happened behind the scenes in Parton and Dean’s marriage — until now. In her newly released book, Dolly on Dolly: Interviews and Encounters with Dolly Parton, she opens up about her love life and everything in between. Read on to learn more about what the book reveals, surprising details about their relationship, and their decision to never have kids.
As soon as Dolly Parton graduated high school, she moved to Nashville. And this is where her love affair with Carl Dean began. She met him while doing laundry at a Wishy Washy laundromat. He boldly told her that he was concerned that her revealing clothing would cause her to get a sunburn. Dean opened up about the first time he laid eyes on Dolly. He is usually very private, but shared his feelings for their anniversary last year. Dean just happened to be riding by the laundromat that day, and just knew that he had to take a chance and speak to her. “My first thought was I’m gonna marry that girl. My second thought was, ‘Lord she’s good lookin’. And that was the day my life began,” he said.
One of the first things Dolly noticed about Dean was that he made eye contact with her instead of just looking at her body. “That’s a rare thing for me. It seemed to be genuinely interested in finding out who I was and what I was about,” she said. They immediately became attached at the hip, and Dolly’s career began to pick up very quickly. Not long after she arrived in Nashville, she signed her first record deal with Music City. Not long after, Dean and Parton were engaged to be married.
“When Carl and I told his mother that we were getting married, she was so excited that she was finally gonna get to do a wedding. Because her only daughter had eloped. So she was so happy she would get to throw a big wedding party,” Parton said.
As Dolly became a star, Dean was content with supporting her career and being a homemaker. And while Dolly does well in the spotlight, Dean prefers to let his wife be the star and he enjoys the background. One of his requests, that has helped them in their marriage, is for Dean to have a separate life and keep some distance from the fame and attention.
As the two continued to build a life together, they made a realization that would change the course of their life forever. Although they tried, it came to fruition that they would never have their own children. In the 1980’s, Dolly had to have a partial hysterectomy. Because of this, the couple knew that they would never have children of their own. It was difficult for them to accept this truth, but they got through it and made a family of just the two of them.
One of the things that the two say has been a rock of their relationship is their faith. She has said that her beliefs were especially helpful when her and Dean went through hard times in the 80’s. And they said that Dean is an even more religious person than she is.