Dolly Parton reveals how she and husband Carl Thomas Dean 'work so well together' after 56 years of marriage

Dolly Parton reveals how she and husband Carl Thomas Dean 'work so well together' after 56 years of marriage
Dolly Parton and Carl Thomas Dean got married in 1966 (Theo Wargo/Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, @dollyparton/Instagram)

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE: Dolly Parton spoke candidly about her marriage to businessman Carl Thomas Dean and how the couple has kept their love alive even after 56 years of tying the knot. The 'Jolene' hitmaker revealed she and her "loner" husband are two different people and that has not stopped the two from working "so well together." 

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In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, the country music icon gave an insight into her relationship with Dean. “I think I’ve talked pretty much about everything through the years with Carl, and we’re different people,” she explained, adding, “But we just work so well together.” Parton reportedly met Dean at a laundromat when she was only 18, and famously had her first date with him at a McDonald’s. The pair got married two years later in 1966. Despite building a remarkable career in the music industry, it is her relationship with Dean that has grasped the most public attention. 

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“He’s kind of a loner, so he doesn’t really like being with anybody but me — when I’m home — I mean, he’s not one to kind of get out there and socialize that much,” Parton continued, adding, “He loves living on the farm, taking care of the property as he has for all these many years, and then, we just have a lot to talk about.”

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Parton believes that Dean’s choice of living simpler life along with his appreciation for music has helped the couple stay connected after all these years. “He loves music, but he’s not in the music business at all, so we have different things to talk about, his world and my world, and we work really well together,” Parton added. “We have a lot of love and respect for each other, and I think the key to all of it — we both have a crazy, warped sense of humor, so we have a lot of fun.”

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During an interview with ET Canada in December 2022, Parton confirmed Dean's sense of humor has kept them close over the decades. "We both have a warped sense of humor. And I think humor, honestly, is one of the best things when you’re married like that. Even if you have a problem, if you have a great sense of humor, if you say something you can’t take back [you] usually have some crazy way of getting out of it," Parton said.

She further revealed to the outlet that spending time apart also played a key role in their marriage. “I like it when people say, ‘How did it last so long?’ I say, ‘I stay going,’” Parton noted, adding, “So we’re not in each other’s face all the time. He’s not in the business, so we have different interests, but yet we have the things we love to do together. So it was meant to be, I think. He was the one I was supposed to have and vice versa.”

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