Strange Things About Dolly Parton's Marriage

Celebrity marriages have been known to implode in a matter of seconds, so when a famous couple's relationship beats the odds, it's cause for celebration. Take Dolly Parton and her husband, "asphalt-paving" retiree Carl Dean. They married in May 1966, when she was just 20 years old and he was 23. The Tennessee natives celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 2016, and we couldn't be happier for them. But even after more than 50 years together, we're still mystified by their marriage.

The buxom, rhinestone-loving country star and her hubby have managed to keep most details about their marriage under wraps. They're so secretive, it's almost impossible to even scrounge up a recent picture of the two of them together. Aside from the few throwback photos Parton has posted on her official website, it's almost as if Dean doesn't exist! This elusive man avoids the media like the plague — interviews and red carpet events are not at the top of his to-do list. The fact that he remains an enigma is just one of the many weird things about this union. 

Just wait until you read all the strange things about Dolly Parton's marriage.

Not everyone was happy for Dolly Parton and Carl Dean

The day Dolly Parton moved to Nashville, Tenn., she met Carl Dean outside the Wishy Washy laundromat. "My first thought was, 'I'm gonna marry that girl,'" he said, recalling their first encounter on Parton's official website. "My second thought was, 'Lord she's good lookin'.' And that was the day my life began."

Marriage was the last thing on Parton's mind. Her move to Music City coincided with the start of her budding singing career. Needless to say, she was enchanted by him, and they decided to get hitched in 1966. While Dean's mom was ecstatic to throw the couple a big wedding, Parton's record company reportedly wasn't pleased. "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," Parton told CMT News

Parton eventually decided to buck her record labels orders, and she, her groom, and her mom headed off to Georgia to avoid the marriage being "reported in the Tennessee newspapers," CMT revealed. "My mother made me a little white dress and a little bouquet and a little Bible. But I said, 'I can't get married in a courthouse because I'll never feel married.' So we found a little Baptist church in town," Parton shared.

Shame on her record label! Getting married is far from being the worst thing that could happen to a female entertainer's career. Sheesh.

Dolly Parton's marriage is 'totally open and free'

As rock solid as their marriage appears to be, Dolly Parton and Carl Dean's union has been the subject of tons of pesky rumors, including allegations that Parton was in a lesbian relationship with her assistant and close friend, Judy Ogle. Parton denied the rumor, telling Pride Source, "I am not gay, but if I were I would be the first one running out of the closet," she said.

Though she insists she's not stepping out with a woman, Parton has said (via the Daily Mail) that she and her camera-shy husband are "so totally open and free." Oh, really? "I always call him Daddy and he calls me Mama or Little Kid or Angel Cakes. Sometimes he calls me Dotty to be silly." To some, this may come as an admission that these old flames are in an open relationship. However, as usual, Parton has not expounded on just how open they really are. Regardless, if being in an open marriage — á la Parton and Dean — is the key to a long-lasting relationship, sign us up! Kidding ... maybe.

An affair nearly drove Dolly Parton to commit suicide

In her memoir, Dolly on Dolly: Interviews and Encounters with Dolly Parton (via the Daily Mail), Dolly Parton revealed that in the late '80s, she had an "affair of the heart" with another man. Though he wasn't identified by name, the Daily Mail suspected the man was Gregg Perry — a former member of her band. Her infidelity ended in heartbreak and prompted a distraught Parton to grab a loaded gun from the nightstand in her bedroom. "Then, just as I picked it up, just to hold it and look at it for a moment, our little dog, Popeye, came running up the stairs," Parton wrote. "The tap-tap-tap of his paws jolted me back to reality ... I kinda believe Popeye was a spiritual messenger from God." She added, "I don't think I'd have done it, killed myself, but I can't say for sure."

Many marriages can't survive infidelity, but this isn't a typical union we're talking about. Parton and her husband clearly found a way to contend with and move past the infidelity.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Rumor has it Carl Dean has a thing for Jennifer Aniston

Dolly Parton was approached by Jennifer Aniston, the star of the Netflix original movie, Dumplin', to pen six new tunes for the film. Parton told late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon that she loves Aniston "to death," but her husband, Carl Dean, might just be an even bigger fan of the former Friends star. "My husband is crazy about her," Parton said. "See, I think he kinda fantasizes, like, a threesome with us." Parton was quick to add, "He can't even get it out to pee, much less get it up for three." Savage!

Now we're curious...what would a threesome with the uber-mysterious Dean entail? Would it be like hooking up with a ghost? Sadly (or thankfully) we may never know the answer. When Aniston was asked by USA Today to weigh in on Parton's comments, she took it all as one big joke. "My mouth just dropped," Aniston said upon hearing about the salacious fantasy. "And then I laughed my (butt) off. That's Dolly." Indeed, Carl and Dolly's world is a rather strange place.

Dolly Parton fantasizes about Keith Urban, and it's NBD

She's pint-sized, bubbly, beautiful, curvy, and as sweet as strawberry wine. These characteristics alone make Dolly Parton a hit with the fellas, and unsurprisingly, Parton loves to soak up all the attention and adoration she receives from her male counterparts in the music industry. "I love to flirt, and I've never met a man I didn't like," she told the Daily Mail. "Men are my weakness." She went on to proclaim that she doesn't discriminate. "Short, fat, bald or skinny — I've had crushes on some very unusual men but Carl knows I'll always come home and I'm not having sex with these people — I'm just flirtin' and having fun," she said. 

Parton made it clear that her husband isn't intimidated by her flirtations. In fact, he gave her permission to let her mind wander. "If I'm away I'll say to my husband, 'You don't mind if I fantasize about Keith Urban [Nicole Kidman's husband] tonight, do you?', and he doesn't. He says he'd think less of any man who didn't fall in love with me." There you have it, folks. This has got to be one of the strongest — and strangest — marriages ever! Do you think all this talk about hooking up with other people sounds like the gateway to crossing over love's cheating line or at least the ingredients for a whole lot of turmoil? Well, think again...

Dolly Parton and Carl Dean have an argument-free marriage

Throughout her time in the limelight, Dolly Parton's private marriage and her even more private husband, Carl Dean, have been at the center of plenty of tabloid fodder. America's country sweetheart even admitted to Oprah Winfrey that the paparazzi have often mistaken male members of her crew for her husband, which is pretty hilarious if you ask us. We wouldn't be surprised if their secretive marriage is one of the reasons why they've been able to stay together for so long — well, that and the fact that they never argue, according to Parton. 

They do have their tiffs from time to time, just like any couple. "We might get pissy and say, 'Why don't you go out to the barn?'" Parton said. Being together for decades and never having a row is a great accomplishment, but maybe it's all that time spent allegedly living separate lives that has helped their marriage chug along on the peace train for so long. Just sayin'.

It's 'Dolly's space.' No Carl allowed!

Dolly Parton's Tennessee-based theme park, Dollywood, isn't the only place the superstar can run off to when she wants to escape from her everyday life. When she's not working 9 to 5, a pal of Parton's told Closer Weekly that the entertainer retreats to "a small cabin" for some solitude. "It's like half a little chapel and half a work space," the insider said. "There's no phone, and Carl never ventures in there — it's Dolly's space." The source claimed Parton "can spend hours out there, just strumming a guitar and working out songs" in her "happy space."

We can only imagine Dean trying to step foot in her sacred abode, and Parton shouting, "Why'd you come in here?" as she chucks a sky-high stiletto at him! Okay, we digress... It's cool that Parton has her own lady cave, but rumors that the duo spend more time apart than they do together has us worried that maybe she's spending a little too much time away from her hubby. 

He's all about Dolly all the time

In preparation for their 50th wedding anniversary in May 2016, Dolly Parton and Carl Dean planned a blow-out party. Parton told the crowd at one of her concerts (via Express) that she would wear a "beautiful wedding dress because I didn't have a big, long wedding dress when we got married, and we've got a suit for him so we're going to dress up and take a bunch of pictures." Even Parton was surprised that Dean agreed to the photo-op, considering he usually avoids cameras, but what was really shocking was the fact that Dean was willing to make a rare public appearance at the shindig. 

Parton had previously described her husband as "a loner," telling People, "He doesn't particularly care about being around anybody but me." Though he's supportive of his wife being in the limelight, the "I Will Always Love You" singer told People that Dean "does not like all the hullabaloo" that comes along with being a public figure. Let's recap: Not only does he detest being seen in public — aside from a once-in-50-years exception — but he only wants to be with his wife and no one else? He seems content with his life of solitude, and to each his own, but what a unique way to live!

Dolly Parton's husband isn't really into her tunes

"Jolene," "9 to 5," and "I Will Always Love You" are just a few of Dolly Parton's most iconic songs. But — believe it or not — these legendary jams probably aren't her husband Carl Thomas Dean's favorites. In fact, Dean is one of the few people who could probably do without Parton's music entirely!

The truth was revealed during an appearance on Good Morning Britain, where Parton confessed her uber-elusive hubby had only seen her perform on stage a few times. Apparently he's not big on attending her concerts unless she's tearing up the stage at a "state fair" where he can enjoy "the stockyards" and the "tractor pull."

"He felt like he'd get nervous if I messed up and all that," Parton said, before adding, "He's not necessarily one of my biggest fans [of] my music." Whaaat?! So why the big aversion toward her country classics? The singer said Dean is more of a "hard rock, "Led Zeppelin," and "bluegrass music" fan.

Let's recap: Dean has managed to stay married to a country music hall of famer for decades and yet he's not her biggest fan? Make it make sense!

Parton called it a "touchy subject." But, thankfully, her husband is "proud" of her and loves that she loves what she does despite not going "out of his way" to play her music.