The Real Reason You Never See Dolly Parton's Husband

Dolly Parton has been married to husband Carl Dean for 53 years. According to The Oprah Magazine, the couple first met in 1964, when Parton was just 18 and Dean was 21, and it was love at first sight. Speaking at their 50th wedding anniversary celebration in 2016, Dean recalled, "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." The two got married two years later, eloping in a small church in Georgia with only Parton's mother, the preacher, and the preacher's wife as witnesses, as Parton was concerned that tying the knot in a more public and traditional ceremony would damage her flourishing music career.

If you're surprised to hear that Parton is married, we can understand why. Parton's husband is notoriously private and has only ever been spotted with the country music legend a couple of times. Why is that?

Dolly Parton's husband prefers to stay out of the spotlight

Parton has frequently been questioned about the whereabouts of her husband during her lengthy career, and her answer is always the same. Her husband prefers a quiet life, outside of the spotlight, keeping a distance from everything that comes with Parton's fame. Talking to People in 2016, Parton hinted that Dean may be more of an introvert. "My husband is a loner," she revealed. "He doesn't particularly care about being around anybody but me. He's just always asked me to leave him out of all this. He does not like all the hullabaloo." 

While Dolly spent most of her life touring the world and furthering her career onscreen, Dean stayed in Nashville where the two share a home. As reported by The Oprah Magazine, Dean spent most of his life running a local asphalt-paving business until recently, when he retired.

Dolly Parton's secret to a long-lasting marriage

We can only assume that one of the main reasons Parton and Dean's relationship has stood the test of the time is because the couple live like normal people. They are never seen in the spotlight, and therefore, they can't be easily scrutinized — nor rattled by the media. It could also be because Dean simply isn't interested in fame. "He's not in show business," Parton told Parade in 2018. "He's not resentful of any of that. He loves to hear about the things I do. I love to hear about the things he does."

When asked by People about the secret to her long and happy marriage, Parton admits that the reason they work so well together is because they are completely different individuals. "They say that opposites attract, and it's true," she said in 2015. "We're completely opposite, but that's what makes it fun. I never know what he's gonna say or do. He's always surprising me." Further elaborating on the differences in their personalities, Parton continued, "He wants to be mostly around the house. He knows I'm just the opposite. I can't go enough places. I can't do enough things. He loves that. He's independent. He doesn't need me in his face, and it's the same with me. But when we're together, we have enough things in common that it works."

During an interview on UK TV show Good Morning Britain (via YouTube)Parton also stressed the importance of laughter in a marriage, explaining, "That's been one of the healthiest, the most precious parts of our relationship."

Dolly Parton's husband rarely watches her perform

Parton and Dean are so opposite, in fact, that they even share different tastes in music, with Dean choosing to listen to hard rock and bluegrass instead of country music. "He's not necessarily one of the biggest fans of my music," Parton said during the same interview with Good Morning Britain. However, she insisted that he's proud of her, and her work, telling People earlier this year, "He's always been my biggest fan behind the scenes".

On Good Morning Britain, Parton also revealed that her husband rarely watches her perform and has only been to a handful of her shows over her decades-long career. "For years and years he would never come to the shows because he felt like he'd get nervous if I messed up, so he never wanted to watch it," she confessed. "The first time he saw me perform and that I was in control of the stage, he was ok." When Dean does watch her, he opts for the more low-key state fairs rather than the more intimidating grandstands or stadiums.