Despite the longstanding rumors that Dolly Parton’s husband doesn’t exist, Carl Dean is real. And he’s been married to the country music icon for 54 years, and the couple has possibly the most private marriage in all of Hollywood—those rumors didn’t come out of nowhere, after all.
Parton and Dean have practically never been seen in public together, and they like to keep it that way. It makes for a more private life amid Parton’s wildly famous existence. But just like any marriage, Parton revealed they have plenty of moments when they are annoyed with each other. And being quarantined during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic apparently made those moments more frequent.
Dolly Parton and Carl Dean’s relationship has always been private
Parton and Dean got married in 1966. Parton was already working in music when they got together, and when her career really started to take off, they wanted to keep their relationship private and became dedicated to that privacy. Parton revealed in an interview with Entertainment Tonight that they worked hard to make sure Dean never became a public figure. That did lead to rumors claiming he wasn’t a real person, however.
“A lot of people have thought that through the years, because he does not want to be in the spotlight at all,” Parton told the outlet. “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.”
And Dean’s reasoning behind the choice is pretty romantic.
“I’ve always respected and appreciated that in him and I’ve always tried to keep him out of the limelight as much as I can,” Parton continued. “He 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 says quarantining made her and Carl Dean get on each others’ nerves
A 56-year relationship is bound to have its ups and downs. In an interview with the Table Manners with Jessie Ware podcast, Parton said being cooped up during the COVID-19 quarantine tested her and her husband’s limits.
“I’m sure he’s sick of me,” Parton lovingly said of her longtime love. And the feeling is mutual.
“My husband and I have been together for 57 years, been married 54, and I’m sick of him,” she joked.
It’s all love between them, though. And even if Parton hasn’t been able to get out of the house for work as often as she usually does this year, the “9 to 5” singer still works non-stop at home.
In an interview with RuPaul for Marie Claire, Parton revealed she lives on five hours of sleep maximum per night and wakes up at 3 a.m. every morning to get a jumpstart on her work.
“I do some of my best spiritual work, some of my best writing, and some of my business work—call-ins and letters that I’m writing or whatever—between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m.,” she said. “I get more work done during that little period of time when the world is calm, energies are down, and I just feel like a farmer.”
Once she’s gotten her first couple of hours of work in, she heads to the kitchen (clad in high heels so she can reach her cabinets) to make breakfast for her and Dean. Parton also opened up about her favorite thing to do on Christmas morning and the surprising Christmas presents she typically gets from her beau.
“I love to cook, so I wake up early on Christmas morning to cook while playing Christmas songs,” Parton told Good Housekeeping. “Carl often buys me things like aprons or oven mitts. People laugh when they find out. They ask, ‘What’s your husband getting you?’ thinking it will be a diamond ring! But he just buys me what he knows I really want. He also writes me sweet poems, and I write him songs. I’ll still try to make Christmas special this year.”
What can Parton say? She knows what she wants, and so does Dean.
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