Who is Carolyn Dennis? Backup singer who Bob Dylan secretly married, had child with also sang for Michael Jackson

While a lot can be said about the folk-rock virtuoso's storied life, not many know he was secretly married to one of his backup singers and that the two even had a child together, Desiree Gabrielle Dennis-Dylan, who is now aged 35


                            Who is Carolyn Dennis? Backup singer who Bob Dylan secretly married, had child with also sang for Michael Jackson
Carolyn Dennis (L) was secretly married to Bob Dylan (Getty Images)
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Bob Dylan, one of the most celebrated singers and songwriters of all time, celebrated his 80th birthday on Monday, May 24. With an illustrious career spanning nearly 60 years and selling more than 125 million records, Dylan is still performing today. Among his most famous hits are 'The Times They Are a-Changin'', 'Like a Rolling Stone' and 'Blowin' in the Wind'.

While a lot can be said about the folk-rock virtuoso's storied life, not many know he was secretly married to one of his backup singers for six years and that the two even had a child together, who is now aged 35.

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Carolyn Dennis-Dylan

Born on April 12, 1954, to a musical family, Carolyn Dennis was raised by her mother Madlyn Quebec, who was herself a backup singer with Ray Charles' the Raelettes back in the 1960s and 1970s.

Following in her mother's footsteps, Dennis went on to become a backup singer for Bob Dylan in the 1970s. Many believe this is when she began her romantic relationship with the iconic folk singer, and the pair was together for more than 15 years -- but barely anyone knew about it.

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Dylan decided that he would sing contemporary gospel music after converting to Evangelical Christianity in the 1970s. He went on to record two albums, including 'Slow Train Coming', which got him the Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance of the Year, and 'Saved'. While none of the albums received rave reviews, they were responsible for the blossoming of their relationship. Dennis was a gospel singer and he recruited her to tour with him during his evangelical phase. In fact, he refused to sing any of his secular songs while on tour with Dennis in the 1970s.

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Musician Bob Dylan onstage during the 17th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards held at The Hollywood Palladium on January 12, 2012, in Los Angeles, California. (Getty Images)

Dylan eventually gave up on his exploration of gospel music and returned to his signature folk-rock in the late 1970s. Dennis would continue to sing by his side until they tied the knot in 1986, even performing together after giving birth to their child. 

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According to Rocks Off magazine, the couple married on June 6, 1986. At the time, they already had had their daughter Desiree Gabrielle Dennis-Dylan, who was born on January 31, 1986. Dylan and his wife would keep their marriage and child a secret from the world, and if it were up to the legendary songwriter, it would probably have remained a secret forever. This was his second marriage, the first being to Sara Lownds from 1965 to 1977, when they divorced.

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Dylan set his wife and daughter up in a home in the Los Angeles suburbs shortly after they married. While he visited them from time to time, he was reportedly very discreet about it.

The couple would later explain that they deliberately kept their relationship a secret for the sake of their daughter, for who they wanted a normal childhood. Carolyn Dennis and Bob Dylan's marriage remained a secret until about 2001 when Howard Sounes revealed the relationship in his book 'Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan'.

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Folk singers Joan Baez and Bob Dylan perform during a civil rights rally on August 28, 1963, in Washington D.C. (Getty Images)

After that, Dennis spoke a lot about Dylan in the years to come. She always held him in high regard and insisted that he was an excellent father. She also reiterated that they had kept their relationship a secret in order to protect their daughter. Now, Desiree Gabrielle Dennis-Dylan is all grown up. She tied the knot with her partner Kayla Sampson back in 2014.

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Carolyn Dennis has been moderately successful as both an actress and singer, but is mostly known for being a backup singer for Dylan. That said, she has also performed backup vocals for many other greats, including The Carpenters, Kenny Loggins, Wonderlove, as well as the 'King of Pop' Michael Jackson.

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