Skip to main content

Dolly Parton has been married to her husband, Carl Dean, for 54 years. During all that time, fans of the Queen of Country have hardly witnessed Dean. There are very few photographs of the mystery man.

In 1978, when Parton was interviewed by Playboy Magazine, the “Jolene” singer and Dean had been married for 12 years. At that time, no one had ever seen a picture of Dean and Parton together. Rumors swirled about the real nature of their relationship. In the interview, Parton addressed the assumptions about her marriage.

Dolly Parton attends the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Dolly Parton | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Dolly Parton debunked the rumor that she only sees her husband 6 weeks out of the year

The interviewer asked Parton about her husband’s commitment to staying out of the spotlight.

“He just don’t have any desire to be in show business,” said Parton, according to the book Dolly on Dolly: Interviews and Encounters with Dolly Parton. “He don’t want to have his picture in the paper. He don’t want to go out to the supermarket and have people say, ‘That’s Dolly Parton’s husband.'”

Parton commented on the “distorted press” that makes it seem like their marriage is something that it’s not.

“There’s been a lot of distorted press about how I only see him six weeks a year, which is not true,” she said. “It’s true that last year I was only at home about six weeks, but he joined me on the road a lot.”

Dolly Parton and husband Carl Dean enjoy having family, friends over — not fans

When they are both home, Parton said that she and Dean like to entertain their family and friends. But she appreciates when fans give her her privacy.

“When I’m home, we don’t like people at the house other than our family and our own friends,” she said. “We don’t want fans comin’ in our yard. And there’s no artist in the business that is any more devoted and loves their fans more than me. I’ve always tried to belong to the public when I’m out there, and I’ve always tried to be honest enough with them to say, ‘I don’t want you to come up to the house unless you’ve been invited, because I may be up there half-naked.’ I shouldn’t have said that; they’ll probably be comin’ up to take pictures now.”

That’s why Parton and Dean bought a piece of property with plenty of built-in privacy — so they could be “out in the yard in shorts or looking tacky.”

Dolly Parton and husband Carl Dean are ‘used to the lifestyle’


The Song Dolly Parton ‘Based on [Her] Husband’ Carl Dean

While Parton and Dean’s life has always been unconventional, it works for them. From the beginning, both parties knew what they were getting into with the other.

“We’re so used to the lifestyle, if I’m home two or three weeks, I want to get to work and he wants to get back to work, so he’s just as anxious to see me go as I am to leave,” said Parton. “It probably don’t make much sense, but it makes sense to us.”