Dolly Parton opens up about key to long marriage with Carl Thomas Dean

Dolly Parton attends the 61st Annual Grammy Awards
Dolly Parton opened up about how she and her husband, Carl Thomas Dean, have made their relationship work for so long. Pic credit: © Collin/Image Press Agency

On Thursday, Dolly Parton shared the surprising key to her long marriage to Carl Thomas Dean. According to the 76-year-old country singer, a “warped sense of humor” is responsible for her 56-year marriage to Dean.

Parton explained that a sense of humor is important because it can help one get out of a sticky situation easily. For example, if someone said something they regret, but have an amazing sense of humor, then they might be able to find “some crazy way of getting out of it.”

She claimed that both she and Dean share the same warped sense of humor and that humor is one of the “best things” to have when married. Fortunately, she and Dean don’t have to use the humor strategy often in their marriage.

This is because, according to Parton, they have never really had any serious fights during their long history together. She stated, “We’ve never had, you know, serious arguments to say bad things to each other we have to take back.”

Given her emphasis on humor, it isn’t surprising that Parton often has humorous responses when people question her long marriage. She stated, “I like it when people say, ‘How did it last so long?’ I say, ‘I stay going.'”

Parton also noted that the fact that they work in different industries and can give each other space has also been good for their relationship.

Dolly Parton revealed how she keeps her relationship ‘fresh’

In addition to sharing the key to a long marriage, Parton has previously shared how she keeps her relationship with Dean fresh despite having been married for nearly six decades.

She stated she keeps her marriage happy by frequently dressing up for her husband. Parton explained that she doesn’t think it is right for the public to constantly see her dressed up and not her husband.

While she didn’t state that it was the “key” to keeping her marriage fresh, she said that dressing up definitely “helps.” She also bluntly stated, “Nobody wants to make out with a slouch.”

As a result, she revealed that she puts on makeup and fixes her hair every day. She does this regardless of if she is going out or staying home.

Parton added that her “looking as good” as she can has added some “spice” to their marriage even after all these years. She did clarify, though, that her husband would love her “either way,” whether she was dressed up or dressed down.

However, on some occasions, she does more than just fix her hair and makeup for Dean. Earlier this year, she recreated her iconic bunny photoshoot for Playboy to surprise her husband.

Parton’s and Carl Thomas Dean’s relationship explained

Some fans might be surprised to learn that Parton and Dean have been married for an outstanding 56 years. The two have kept their relationship fairly private and aren’t often spotted together at events.

Dean has preferred to stay out of the limelight, and, as Parton stated, the two work in vastly different industries. While Parton has her singing career, Dean was an asphalt road-paving businessman until his retirement.

The pair met when Parton was just 18 in 1966 at a local Laundromat. It was apparently love at first sight, as Dean recalled that his first thought after spotting Parton was, “I’m gonna marry that girl.”

Two years later, the pair was ready to wed, though Parton’s record label actually tried to dissuade them, thinking Parton’s marriage might interfere with her career. However, they went ahead with their plans anyways, eloping in 1966.

They have been together ever since, both respecting each other’s careers and public/private preferences. In 2016, in honor of 50 years together, they renewed their vows.

Now, in the 56th year of marriage, they still appear to be going strong.

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