Dolly Parton’s career was just starting out when she met her husband of 54 years, Carl Dean. However, it is likely neither of them were ready for the way Dolly would become an icon of American music. While Carl has remained in the background throughout Dolly’s career – how did they meet?
How did Dolly Parton meet her husband?
Dolly Parton’s meeting with her husband, Carl Dean, was, of course, an adorable, country tale.
According to Dolly, the pair met when she was fresh off the bus to Nashville, and she was washing her clothes at the local launderette.
Speaking to the New York Times in 1976, she said: “I’d come to Nashville with dirty clothes. I was in such a hurry to get here…
“And after I’d put my clothes in the machine, I started walkin’ down the street … and this guy hollered at me, and I waved.
“Bein’ from the country, I spoke to everybody. And he came over and, well, it was Carl, my husband.”
The pair kept their relationship pretty quiet and even married in almost-secret with only a small number of witnesses present.
The couple secretly married on May 30, 1966, and travelled to Ringgold, Georgia to have a private ceremony where only the couple, Dolly’s mother, the preacher and his wife were in attendance.
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The couple even kept the marriage secret for some time, before Dolly finally opened up on her love life.
Speaking on why this was the case, Dolly told CMT in 2016: “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.
“And I didn’t want to not do what I was supposed to do.”
The couple were rarely seen together, and despite appearing on her record sleeve for her album My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy, Carl refused to go to many events, which Dolly has said came from an agreement between them.
Not much is known about their relationship, however, Carl has been the muse behind some of Dolly’s famous hits, including Jolene and From Here to the Moon and Back.
Speaking in a rare interview with Entertainment Weekly, Dean said of their first meeting: “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. I wouldn’t trade the last 50 years for nothing on this earth.”
This interview came in time for their 50th wedding anniversary, for which the pair exchanged their vows again in a far more lavish ceremony.
This year, the couple celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary, and still look to be going strong.
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