Things you didn't know about Dolly Parton

Though she's one of country music's most recognizable stars, Dolly Parton's life story is full of surprises. Did you know that her husband is one of the most mysterious men in Tinseltown, or that she contributed to one of science's greatest achievements? Yep, the bedazzled legend, who celebrated her 70th birthday in 2016, is even cooler than ya'll thought. Here's why.

Her husband is a recluse

2016 marks the 50th wedding anniversary for Parton and husband Carl Dean, whom she met at a laundromat in 1964. Despite being married to one of the most famous women in Hollywood history, Dean has somehow managed to avoid the spotlight all these years. "He's proud of me. He's just basically shy about things like that. He doesn't like crowds," Parton told Oprah Winfrey in 2010 (via Yahoo). "And I respect his privacy. I respect the fact that he loves to be out of the limelight. That's one of the reasons I think we've lasted so long." Parton admitted to Reuters that Dean is such a recluse, some of her fans don't think he actually exists. "When I was doing my show, we were thinking about having a different guy knock on the door every night, as my husband…all these different things that people imagine what my husband looks like," she quipped.

She battled rumors about her sexuality

Over the years, Parton has dealt with tabloid rumors alleging that she's been secretly dating her best friend and personal assistant, Judy Ogle. Parton finally put those rumors to rest in a 2012 interview with Nightline. "Judy and I have been best friends since we were like in the third and fourth grade," she said. "We still just have a great friendship and relationship and I love her as much as I love anybody in the whole world, but we're not romantically involved." While dealing with the gossip, Parton said she became close with Oprah Winfrey, who has faced similar allegations over her friendship with Gayle King. "[People] just think that you just can't be that close to somebody," Parton said.

She turned down Elvis

In the '70s, Parton got word that Elvis Presley wanted to record a cover of her song, "I Will Always Love You," but his request came with a catch. Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, told Parton that "the King" wouldn't record the song unless he could receive half of its publishing rights. Parton declined. "I said, 'Well, now it's already been a hit. I wrote it and I've already published it,'" she told CMT. "'And this is the stuff I'm leaving for my family when I'm dead and gone. That money goes in for stuff for my brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews, so I can't give up half the publishing [rights].'" In turn, Presley walked away.

Although the initial rejection was painful for Parton, who says she "cried all night" after saying no, holding her ground paid off when, almost 20 years later, Whitney Houston recorded the song for the 1992 film The Bodyguard. "When Whitney [Houston's version] came out, I made enough money to buy Graceland," Parton told CMT, laughing.

"I Will Always Love You" was written about Porter Wagoner

The heartbreaking lyrics in "I Will Always Love You" make it sound like Parton wrote the song about an ex-lover, but as she told CMT, the song was actually about the ending of her role on Porter Wagoner's syndicated show, on which she'd performed for seven years. "We fought a lot," Parton revealed. "We were very much alike. We were both stubborn. We both believed that we knew what was best for us. Well, he believed he knew what was best for me, too, and I believed that I knew more what was best for me at that time. So, needless to say, there was a lot of grief and heartache there, and he just wasn't listening to my reasoning for my going." Parton said she sang the song for Wagoner the morning after she wrote it. "He was crying," she recalled. "He said, 'That's the prettiest song I ever heard. And you can go, providing I get to produce that record.' And he did, and the rest is history."

She stood by goddaughter Miley Cyrus

Given Miley Cyrus' wild and reckless behavior over the last few years, the idea of being her godmother might not sound like a fun gig to most people. But then, most people aren't Dolly Parton. In fact, in many interviews, Parton has gone out of her way to stick up for Cyrus."I've loved her through the years and watched her grow up, and I've seen how smart she is and how talented she is," Parton told London's Standard magazine in 2013. "She's just trying to find her own place and wings and learn to fly."

Parton has likened Cyrus' bad press to the criticism she received as a young entertainer. "Back in the day, doing my own things my own way, and dressing sexy and showing my cleavage and all that, I got a lot of criticism," she told The Sunday Times. "Lots of people thought I was making a mistake and that I was just trashy, which I was." And the award for godmother of the year goes to…

Filming Steel Magnolias was tense

Almost 25 years after its release, the stars of Steel Magnolias chronicled their horrible experiences working with Herbert Ross, who famously bullied co-star Julia Roberts to tears. Included on his list of targets was Parton. "I remember the day Herb said to Dolly Parton, 'Why don't you take some acting lessons?'" Shirley MacLaine revealed at an event in 2013 (via US Weekly). "We hated him," Sally Field said. "The stronger ones of the group who were just older and had been there longer would go after him. That meant Shirley and Dolly." Memo to all working directors: don't mess with Dolly.

The first cloned mammal was named after her

Scientists in Scotland made history in 1996 by cloning the world's first mammal, and hilariously, Parton wound up playing a key role in the breakthrough. Dr. Ian Wilmut revealed that the cloned sheep was named in her honor. "Dolly is derived from a mammary gland cell and we couldn't think of a more impressive pair of glands than Dolly Parton's," Dr. Wilmut said, according to the BBC.