Not many people realise that Dolly Parton has been married for over 55 years.
Dolly met her husband when she was just 18 and their private marriage has gone on longer than the icon’s fame.
The world famous country star got hitched in 1966 – just before her career took off.
Born in Tennessee in 1946, Dolly is 75. Her husband, Carl Dean, is three years older and is 79.
Dolly recently made news after she recreated her famous 1978 Playboy shoot for her husband Carl’s 79th Birthday.
But who is the man that inspired many of the world’s most famous country-pop hits?
How did Dolly Parton and Carl Dean meet?
The pair first met eyes outside their local laundromat in Nashville. Rather romantically – it was Dolly’s first day in the city, which she had moved to in order to kick-start her fledgling music career.
They couple first met in 1964 and were married two years later with only her mother as witness.
Dolly told CMT in 2016, “We went across the state line to Ringgold, Georgia. My mother made me a little white dress and a little bouquet and a little Bible.
“But I said, ‘I can’t get married in a courthouse because I’ll never feel married.’ So we found a little Baptist church in town, and went up to Pastor Don Duvall and said, ‘Would you marry us?’
Who is Carl Dean?
Following the marriage in 1966, Dolly’s career took off and she released her first album.
Her career snowballed from there and she became the iconic singer and performer that we know across the globe.
Carl, however, decided to stay out of the limelight and focus on his asphalt business.
After a suggestion that Dean does not exist at all, Parton told Entertainment Tonight, “A lot of people have thought that through the years, 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.”
Carl doesn’t even like to watch his wife perform, having only seen her shows a couple of times.
Dolly explained to Ellen DeGeneres, “He gets nervous seeing me perform. It’s almost like seeing your kid in a recital. He’s afraid I’ll mess up. Actually, he has seen me a time or two and it did relax him a little.
Nonetheless, Carl inspired many of Dolly’s most famous love songs.
On their 50th wedding anniversary, Parton shared lyrics from her song “From Here to the Moon and Back”, which she wrote for him.
Carl is also said to have inspired the hit Jolene, after Dolly once saw him standing with a red-headed woman she did not know.
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