If you had no idea that Dolly Parton has been married for 54 years, you’re not alone.
The ‘Jolene’ singer, 74, has been married to husband Carl Dean since 1966, but she rarely speaks about him and they’re never seen together.
In fact, some fans have come up with a wild theory that this so-called “husband” doesn’t even exist, and that he’s totally “imaginary”
Parton has written about Dean in her new book, Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics, and in an interview with Entertainment Tonight she laughs off rumours that he’s fake.
“A lot of people have thought that through the years, because he does not want to be in the spotlight at all,” Parton shared. “It’s just not who he is. 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.”
She continued explaining that he chose her as a partner, but didn’t chose the fame that comes with her life. She says she respects his wishes, and does everything she can to keep him out of the limelight: “We can keep our lives separate and together.” It seems to be working, considering the pair have been married for five decades.
“Our joke about the fact, when people ask me why it’s lasted this long, I say, ‘Because I stay gone.’ And there’s a lot of truth in that –– the fact that we’re not in each other’s faces all the time,” Parton shared. “But we do have a great respect and admiration for each other. We both have a great sense of humour. So, we have a lot of fun.”
She says they live a pretty simple life when they’re together. “We have very similar tastes… we love to travel around our little RV, and we don’t like parties and all that stuff.”
The country singer’s new book is a reflection on her life’s work, through the lens of her songs. It’s full of old photos and personal memories, with plenty of new information about Parton.
“Even for my true fans, I think they’re gonna get a lot of new stuff that they’ll enjoy when they thought they knew everything about me. They’ll find a few little nuggets that they didn’t know.”
She says the book was a great project for her to work on during the coronavirus lockdowns. “I had to have something to do!,” she said. “Couldn’t get out in concert. Had to make a living somehow.”
Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics comes out on November 17, and her Christmas album Holly Dolly Christmas is available to stream now.