Dolly Parton Opened Up About Keeping Her Relationship Private

Sarah Kester
Dolly Parton holding a cd
instagram | Dolly Parton

If there's one word we would never use to describe Dolly Parton, it's shy.

She's out there, loud and proud, with her signature blonde hair and, erm, signature "girls." But if there's one thing that the singer holds close to her chest, it's her husband, Carl Dean. Keep reading to find out why.

The country singer has been married to her husband since 1966.

Dolly Parton and her husband
instagram | Dolly Parton

It was love at first sight after they met outside the Wishy Washy Laundromat in Nashville when she was 18 and he was 21. "My first thought was I'm gonna marry that girl," Dean shared when they renewed their vows at their 50th wedding anniversary celebration.

Since Dean rarely shares the spotlight with Dolly, some people have suggested that he doesn't exist.

Dolly Parton
Giphy | Dolly Parton

“A lot of people have thought that through the years, because he does not want to be in the spotlight at all,” Dolly told Entertainment Tonight.

“It’s just not who he is," she continued.

Dolly Parton with dog
instagram | Dolly Parton

"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.”

Although we don't have seen him, Dolly has given us rare insights into their life together.

This includes how they keep the spark alive after all these years.


"I'll cook the stuff that I know we love. And I pack it up in a picnic basket. And then we'll go find some riverbank somewhere with our little camper, park, have a picnic," she told People.

"Or we'll pull up to some little Days Inn motel, go in as long as the bed's clean and there's a bathroom. We just do our little things like that," she added.

Another way she kept the spark alive was by dressing up as a Playboy bunny for his birthday! Yep, that oughta do it!

According to Dolly, Dean is equally romantic.

Dolly Parton
Giphy | Late Night with Seth Meyers

"In the springtime when the first yellow daffodils come husband always brings me a bouquet. And he'll usually write me a little poem. Which to me, that's priceless. That's like a date in itself."

While we'd love to see how their relationship is instead of just hearing it, that's not likely to happen anytime soon.

Dolly Parton and Carl Dean
instagram | Dolly Parton

When the country crooner appeared in the International Women’s Day episode of “The Kelleigh Bannen Show” on Apple Music Country, she opened up about letting her husband live a private life.

She learned this wisdom from her mother.

Dolly Parton

"I learned early on. And I think my mama told me when I was young, ‘Always keep something back for you. You can give what you’ve got to give, but don’t give it all away. Always keep something for you,'" she said. 

“There’s a part that belongs to God and to me," she continued.

Dolly Parton
instagram | Dolly Parton

"It's a sacred place that just is mine and God’s, and I've known how to do that because I think God has directed that.” Her family falls under this.

“I’ve known how to keep my husband private,” Parton said.

Dolly Parton holding a CD
instagram | Dolly Parton

“It's just natural to me to protect the things and the people I love and to protect my own privacy.” She added, “I pray also that God will give me enough to share and enough to spare when it comes to my money but also to myself."

"Let me share everything I can, but let me keep me," she concluded.

Amen, Dolly! We totally respect her decision to keep her romantic life private. But, of course, that won't stop us from freaking out whenever she shares rare glimpses of her husband. So, for now, enjoy this image she shared on Valentine's Day!