Dolly Parton Once Said Her Husband Was ‘Foolish’ for Gushing About Her

Dolly Parton and her husband, Carl Thomas Dean, have been together since she was 18. Their marriage has lasted years, and though he stays out of the spotlight, she has spoken about how well they fit together. Despite all this, Parton once said that Dean was “foolish” when he talked about how much he loved her. 

A black and white picture of Dolly Parton with a silk scarf tied around her hair.
Dolly Parton | Richard E. Aaron/Redferns

Dolly Parton met her husband, Carl Dean, on her first day in Nashville

The day after Parton graduated high school, she set off for Nashville to pursue music. She didn’t want distractions in the form of a boyfriend.

“I’d left two boyfriends back home, and I thought the last thing I wanted was a boyfriend,” Parton wrote in the book Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics.

Ultimately, though, she met her future husband on her first day in the city. She was washing her clothes at a laundromat when he called out to her. 

“I was surprised and delighted that while he talked to me, he looked at my face (a rare thing for me),” she said on her official website. “He seemed to be genuinely interested in finding out who I was and what I was about.”

Dean knew immediately that he wanted to be with Parton.

“My first thought was I’m gonna marry that girl,” Dean shared when they renewed their vows at their 50th wedding anniversary celebration in 2016, reported Entertainment Tonight. “My second thought was, ‘Lord she’s good lookin.’ And that was the day my life began.”

She once said he was foolish

Parton says that their relationship is strong, even though Dean wants nothing to do with show business.

“Carl is very proud of me, but he just wants to know I’m having a good time,” she told The Guardian in 2002. “He’s pretty much a loner, and I’m the only person he wants to be with anyway. When I’m gone, he loves his alone time.” 

Though he’s so rarely in the public eye that many don’t know what he looks like, people still ask Dean what it’s like to be married to Parton. His response would make Parton joke that he’s a fool.

“Oh, when people say, ‘How can you stand her to be out there?’ he says, ‘Look, I would think less of any man who didn’t fall in love with her,” Parton explained. “That’s how foolish he is.”

Despite the gentle joking, they have been happily married for well over 50 years.

Dolly Parton has addressed rumors that she has cheated on her husband

Though she has been married since before she was famous, Parton has dodged rumors of affairs for nearly all her career. Often, people speculate that she is involved with her male collaborators like Burt Reynolds, Sylvester Stallone, and Porter Wagoner. 

She often avoids confirming or denying the rumors, joking that no press is bad press. Still, she says that her heart lies with Dean.

“He’s not jealous and I’m not jealous of him. He knows I flirt. He flirts too,” the Mirror reports that she said. “Yes, it’s an open relationship, but not sexually and I would kill him if I thought he was doing that. He would shoot me too. At the end of the day, we love each other madly.”

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