Dolly Parton and Husband Carl Thomas Dean’s Relationship Timeline

Dolly Parton is without doubt one of the most beloved figures in nation music, and maybe in popular culture typically. The prolific singer and songwriter continues to tour in her seventies to offered out crowds, and she or he’s been performing since her preteens. She met her husband Carl Thomas Dean her first day in Nashville, the place she moved for her profession, and so they’ve been collectively for over half a century.

And but, they’re barely ever seen collectively. Parton and Dean supply Hollywood an ideal instance of holding your personal life personal, although Parton usually praises her husband in interviews and makes use of him as inspiration for her music.

This is what we’ve managed to study their relationship over their a few years collectively.


When Parton was 18 years outdated, she stepped into the Wishy Washy Laundromat and met her husband. It was her very first day in Nashville, and when Dean noticed her, he knew he’d discovered one thing particular. ET studies that Dean mentioned his first thought after assembly Parton was “I’m gonna marry that lady.”

He added, “My second thought was, ‘Lord she’s good lookin.’ And that was the day my life started.”

“I’d come to Nashville with soiled garments,” Parton instructed the New York Occasions of their fateful assembly. “I used to be in such a rush to get right here—and after I might put my garments within the machine, I began walkin’ down the road, simply lookin’ at my new residence, and this man hollered at me, and I waved. Bein’ from the nation, I spoke to everyone. And he came visiting and, properly, it was Carl, my husband.”

They began getting severe fairly quick. Parton was staying along with her aunt and uncle, and Dean would come go to her as she sorted her younger cousin in the course of the day. It was 1964, so all they did was discuss on the porch, and Parton mentioned she “would not even take him in the home.”

However the very first day she was free, he took her to his home—to satisfy his mother and father.

“That was my first probability to go anyplace with Carl, and he drove me straight to his people’ home and launched me to his mom and daddy,” she remembered. “‘Trigger he mentioned he knew proper the minute he noticed me that that is the one he wished.”


After two years of courting, Dean proposed to his gal, and it was for partially sensible causes. Parton lived removed from city, however she wasn’t going to maneuver in with Dean till they acquired hitched. In order that they did and acquired nearer to Nashville middle.

However Parton’s star was on the rise, and she or he mentioned her supervisor on the time, Fred Foster, warned her that promotion can be harder if she was identified to be married. They toned down plans for a giant wedding ceremony, and acquired married quietly in Georgia on the Ringgold Baptist Church. Solely the pastor, his spouse, and Parton’s mom, Avie Lee Owens, had been in attendance.

“I mentioned, ’I’ve acquired to have momma there,’” the singer remembered. “So I had purchased slightly costume, momma had purchased me a Bible, some flowers on it. We grabbed momma and went again, and acquired married on a Monday, in a church.”

It was simply in time, too, as a result of that was the 12 months she received her first songwriter award for “Put It Off Till Tomorrow.” Dean joined her on the Broadcast Music, Inc. dinner ceremony.

“Carl and I acquired dressed up, he was in a tux, and we drove to the dinner. We acquired out and walked up the pink carpet and went inside and sat via dinner and the awards, and I went up and acquired my award,” she recalled later.

Nevertheless, it was a turning level of their relationship.

“After the dinner, we walked again out, and so they introduced us our automobile … and we acquired in it and headed for residence,” she mentioned. “Carl turned to me and mentioned, ‘Dolly, I need you to have every little thing you need, and I am comfortable for you, however do not you ever ask me to go to a different one among them dang issues once more!’”

September 1969:

Whereas the couple had been very personal, Parton did supply a tribute to Dean very early of their relationship, releasing her first solo album My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy. On the duvet was a photograph of fella sitting on a log in denims and a plaid pink shirt. That was her husband.

October 1973:

The songwriter’s large 1973 hit “Jolene” was impressed by Dean, Parton admitted in 2008, throughout an interview with NPR. There was a lady with “lovely pink hair” at a present of hers which impressed her, however the fears of infidelity got here from a flirtation she observed between her husband and a girl who labored as a neighborhood financial institution teller.

“She acquired this horrible crush on my husband,” Parton claimed. “And he simply cherished going to the financial institution as a result of she paid him a lot consideration. It was kinda like a operating joke between us—once I was saying, ‘Hell, you are spending quite a lot of time on the financial institution. I do not consider we have got that sort of cash.’ So it is actually an harmless tune throughout, however seems like a dreadful one.”

She was extra forceful about this mysterious girl a couple of years later whereas introducing the tune on the Glastonbury Competition, in response to The Impartial.

“I wrote that years in the past when my husband … was spending slightly extra time with Jolene than I believed he ought to be,” she instructed the viewers. “I put a cease to that. I removed that redhead girl in a rush.”

April 1977:

In 1977, Parton was on the duvet Folks. She described her husband within the cowl interview by saying, “He is type of shy and quiet…What we’ve collectively is so candy and good that I might by no means need it to get jumbled up with the opposite.”

At that time, Dean had one way or the other by no means seen his spouse carry out, so there was no mixing in any respect. When requested about youngsters in the identical interview, she replied, “I do not know that I will not have kids sometime. However it’s simply not doable for me to bear kids and go away them for any person else to boost whereas I’ve a profession. If I wait till I am naturally too outdated to have kids, I can all the time undertake them.”

Parton added, “After I take heed to my very own issues, I believe to myself, ‘I used to be the mom of that.’”


By the early eighties, Dean’s very existence was in query. Folks puzzled if Parton had made him up, as a result of he was by no means at her exhibits, on the pink carpet or by her facet. Parton headed to Los Angeles to movie the basic film 9 to five in 1980, and a 12 months later she combatted rumors of her husband being made up in an interview with Folks, saying he was along with her in LA the entire two month shoot.

“Carl is the one man in my life,” she mentioned. “I might like to develop outdated with him. If he ought to die first, I’ll by no means marry once more. My love is that deep.”


The couple confronted rumors of a divorce, however Parton denied it, saying, “[Dean] was the person God meant for me to have. We’ll simply all the time be collectively … To him it is all a joke. There ain’t a person on this world may ever dwell as much as my husband. That is one of many issues that retains me from going too far.”

July 2002:

In a tribute to her husband, Parton coated Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” on her album Halos & Horns.

“I do songs that I simply love,” she mentioned interview. “My husband has such an odd style in music, and he loves Led Zeppelin. He is been a ‘Led Head’ from day one and in addition loves bluegrass and big-band music. ‘Stairway to Heaven’ was all the time Carl’s favourite.”

Parton added, “It was sort of like ‘our tune’ as a result of at romantic instances or candy instances, we would simply be using round within the automobile and if that might come on, Lord, he’d simply knock us out of the automobile turning it up full blast.”


Whereas quite a lot of Parton’s love songs are impressed by her one real love with Dean, in 2012 she mentioned very immediately that he impressed the tune she wrote for her 2012 movie Joyful Noise, “From Right here to the Moon and Again.”

“I wanted to write down an exquisite love tune,” she mentioned. “I picked my husband, who I really like, and I believed, ‘Properly, I am going to write some lovely tune about him.’”

She added, “It was about my husband within the film, performed by Kris Kristofferson. So I believed so as to make it actually actual and actually touching, I might write it about my actual, true feelings about somebody I actually do love and have cherished for greater than half of my life.”

Could 2012:

In an interview, Parton shared that she and Dean go to Ringgold, the city they had been married in round their anniversary every time they will.

“I do have an anniversary on the thirtieth of Could and final weekend we went to Ringgold,” she revealed. “We attempt to go down there yearly if we will. We a minimum of go each three years. We make a journey down there and take a picnic.”

She added, “They by no means know that we’re there.”

October 2014:

The couple by no means had any kids, which Parton has mentioned she is ok with.

“When my husband and I had been courting, after which after we acquired married, we simply assumed we might have youngsters,” Parton instructed Billboard in 2014. “We weren’t doing something to cease it. In truth, we thought perhaps we might. We even had names if we did, nevertheless it did not prove that means.”

That very same 12 months she instructed Folks, “I usually suppose, it simply wasn’t meant for me to have youngsters so everyone’s youngsters may be mine.”

March 2015:

When requested by Folks how her marriage has labored for thus lengthy, Parton replied, “My husband is an efficient man, initially. He is a deep particular person, however he has a fantastic and warped humorousness. He makes me snigger and entertains me. He is very safe inside himself.”

She continued, “They are saying that opposites entice, and it is true. We’re utterly reverse, however that is what makes it enjoyable. I by no means know what he is gonna say or do. He is all the time stunning me.”

December 2015

“I married a extremely good man, a man that is utterly completely different from me,” Parton instructed Parade of her partner in 2015. “He isn’t in present enterprise.”

She added, “He isn’t resentful of any of that…. I am comfortable once I’m on stage, I am comfortable when issues are going nice within the enterprise, however I am additionally very comfortable once I’m residence with [Dean] and we do our little issues collectively. We sight-see all of Tennessee and Kentucky, the areas that we will get again residence from at night time. Typically we’ll keep over at a Days Inn [motel] the place we will simply pull up and sneak me in. We do not care, so long as the mattress’s clear and there is a toilet. That is how we dwell.”

Could 2016:

Parton and Dean renewed their vows, this time at their residence in Nashville.

“We will get married once more!” Parton instructed Folks forward of the occasion. “I’ll have an exquisite wedding ceremony costume, ‘trigger I did not have a giant, lengthy wedding ceremony costume after we acquired married and we have got a go well with for him, so we’ll costume up and take a bunch of images.”

Afterwards, she instructed Rolling Stone Dean “seemed like a good-looking dude out of Hollywood” in the course of the ceremony.

She described the day, saying, “We had a couple of household and pals round. We did not plan something massive in any respect as a result of we did not need any sort of pressure, any sort of stress, any sort of commotion, so we deliberate it cleverly and punctiliously. We simply had only a few individuals who wanted to be there to ensure they acquired the images and the few issues that we would have liked. We simply had enjoyable with it.”

Afterwards, they went on a honeymoon, since they each needed to get again to work the subsequent day after their first wedding ceremony. Parton instructed Yahoo! that they had been taking and RV journey across the nation, one thing they love to do common for holidays.

“We prefer to get out in our little RV and simply be easy,” Parton instructed Folks in 2015. “I like to learn, I like to prepare dinner, I like to be with my husband. I placed on my little comfortable garments—I name them my child garments—and we simply calm down.”

August 2016:

Parton’s 2016 album Pure and Easy was created across the many levels of life and love she and Dean have shared through the years. She instructed Rolling Stone, “I used to be simply making an attempt to consider all of the completely different colours of affection via the years. I believed, ‘Properly I’ll write about mine and Carl’s relationship. It is only a pure and easy relationship,’ so it began with that after which I believed, ‘Properly why do not I simply write a complete album of affection songs?’”

Two tracks, “Say Eternally You will Be Mine” and “Tomorrow Is Eternally” had been written many years in the past quickly after they tied the knot.

“I wrote these again within the early, early days of our marriage,” she mentioned. “I had these two songs on albums years in the past again within the ’70s. So I simply pulled these out once more as a result of I believed they had been valuable.”

July 2021:

Parton appeared on the duvet of Playboy in 1978, and her husband was apparently an enormous fan. For his July twentieth birthday, Parton recreated the picture sporting one among their iconic fits and ears, and shared a clip of the occasion along with her followers. She gifted him framed pictures of the 2 photos side-by-side.

“At this time is July 20, it is my husband Carl’s birthday,” she mentioned. “My husband all the time cherished the unique cowl, so I used to be making an attempt to think about one thing to do to make him comfortable. He nonetheless thinks I am a scorching chick, after 57 years, and I am not gonna attempt to discuss him out of that. And I hope he agrees.”

She captioned the clip, “It is all the time #HotgirlSummer for my husband Carl.”

November 2021:

Parton shared uncommon pic of her husband wherein is sporting a t-shirt along with her title on it and holding her hand. Within the caption, she wrote, “Discover you a accomplice who will assist you want my Carl Dean does!”

Later that month, she shared one other throwback pic for Thanksgiving of the pair sitting collectively within the outdated days.

February 2022:

For Valentine’s Day, Parton continued to undergo the outdated recordsdata and provided a photograph of Dean kissing her on the cheek for the romantic vacation.

“Joyful Valentine’s Day, y’all! Keep in mind to squeeze your family members slightly tighter at present and inform them you’re keen on ’em!” she wrote.

November 2022:

In an interview with Higher Properties & Gardens, Parton painted an image of what the vacations are like for her and Dean. Their traditions embrace pink and inexperienced pancakes on Christmas morning, and chocolate-covered cherries are loved, one thing Parton’s mother and father as soon as did. Dean additionally all the time offers his spouse a poem or sings her a tune her wrote himself. The singer says husband “has an exquisite voice.”

December 2022:

Parton instructed ET Canada that sharing a humorousness is the important thing to her marriage of six many years.

“We each have a warped humorousness, ” she mentioned. “And I believe humor, actually, is without doubt one of the greatest issues while you’re married like that. Even if in case you have an issue, if in case you have a fantastic humorousness, in the event you say one thing you may’t take again [you] normally have some loopy means of getting out of it.”

It additionally helps that with their very completely different careers and schedules they don’t seem to be “in one another’s face on a regular basis.”

“He isn’t within the enterprise, so we’ve completely different pursuits, however but we’ve the issues we like to do collectively,” she defined. “So it was meant to be, I believe. He was the one I used to be speculated to have and vice versa.”

January 2023:

In spite of everything these years, individuals nonetheless wish to find out about Parton’s mysterious husband. In an interview with Leisure Tonight, Parton referred to as Dean a “loner.”

“He is sort of a loner, so he would not actually like being with anyone however me,” she mentioned. “He isn’t one to sort of get on the market and socialize that a lot. He loves residing on the farm, taking good care of the property as he has for all these a few years.”

Headshot of Aimée Lutkin

Aimée Lutkin is the weekend editor at Her writing has appeared in Jezebel, Glamour, Marie Claire and extra. Her first e-book, The Lonely Hunter, shall be launched by Dial Press in February 2022.

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