Dolly Parton and her husband Carl Dean met before Dolly was very famous. The encounter was like a scene from a movie, but their first date was not quite as romantic. Despite this, they stayed together for many years, and are together today.
According to Dolly, the pair met when she was fresh off the bus to Nashville, and she was washing her clothes at the local launderette.
Speaking to the New York Times in 1976, she said: “I’d come to Nashville with dirty clothes. I was in such a hurry to get here…
“And after I’d put my clothes in the machine, I started walkin’ down the street … and this guy hollered at me, and I waved.
“Bein’ from the country, I spoke to everybody. And he came over and, well, it was Carl, my husband.”
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Dolly Parton – her first date with husband revealed
Dolly Parton as a younger woman
However, their first date was a little less romantic, as Dolly told People magazine in 2018.
She said: “When I met my husband, he wanted to take me out to dinner. He pulled up to the drive-in window and got our food at McDonald’s.
“We know a few little places we can go without being bothered. He only likes to go places where he can be comfortable!”
The pair kept their relationship pretty quiet and even married in almost-secret with only a small number of witnesses present.
Dolly Parton’s album cover on which her husband appeared
The couple secretly married on May 30, 1966, and travelled to Ringgold, Georgia to have a private ceremony where only the couple, Dolly’s mother, the preacher and his wife were in attendance.
The couple even kept the marriage secret for some time, before Dolly finally opened up on her love life.
Speaking on why this was the case, Dolly told CMT in 2016: “Everyone at my label — Monument Records and Fred Foster — had invested money in me and in building my career, so they asked me if I’d wait a year to get married.
“And I didn’t want to not do what I was supposed to do.”
Dolly Parton in movie Rhinestone
The couple was rarely seen together, and despite appearing on her record sleeve for her album My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy, Carl refused to go to many events, which Dolly has said came from an agreement between them.
Not much is known about their relationship, however, Carl has been the muse behind some of Dolly’s famous hits, including Jolene and From Here to the Moon and Back.
Speaking in a rare interview with Entertainment Weekly, Dean said of their first meeting: “My first thought was ‘I’m gonna marry that girl.’ My second thought was, ‘Lord she’s good lookin’
“And that was the day my life began. I wouldn’t trade the last 50 years for nothing on this earth.”
This interview came for their 50th wedding anniversary, for which the pair exchanged their vows again in a far more lavish ceremony.
This year, the couple celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary, and still look to be going strong.
The couple did not have any children, however, despite a long marriage.
However, Dolly is aunt to various nieces and nephews, as well as “fairy godmother” to singer Miley Cyrus,