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Dolly Parton & Carl Dean

Dolly Parton’s marriage is as unique as the country ’n western superstar’s skintight, rhinestone-studded costumes. Dolly spends at least 200 days a year on the road—but her husband of 11 years, Nashville contractor Carl Dean, remains at home in the Deans’ Tara-like Southern mansion.


Yet Dolly insists that “I wouldn’t have bothered to get married if I didn’t think it would last forever,” and she avows that her life with Carl is what gives her the ability to go out and wow the crowds. “I need to keep my personal life separate from my professional one,” 33-year-old Dolly States. “My home and my husband give me a kind of contentedness that audiences can sense wherever I go. Some folks see my artificial looks and think that I have no depth. But my inner sadness and my joy are as real as my hair and nails are fake. That’s what I look like. Looking like is one thing, and being another.”


With Carl, Dolly can be herself, right down to always taking off her blonde wig when they’re together, letting her natural brown hair flow. 36year-old Carl has never seen one of his wife’s performances, a gesture both feel they need to keep their intimate relationship special and apart from Dolly’s flashy professional self. Dolly insists that Carl, who has never been photographed, understands the tremendous drive that has made her a singer and composer since she was a raggedy child in the Tennessee hills, and would never do anything to thwart her career. “He has his business to keep him occupied, and we speak to each other every day,” Dolly adds. Parton, who has no children, but has raised five of her brothers and sisters, feels that she and Carl make a perfect couple . . . “What we have together is so sweet and good that it seems we were meant to be married.” That they are together in actuality only a small amount of time each year seems secondary; what is important is that, “I need my husband there so that I can go away . . .”


It is a quote. Superstar Special Magazine 1979

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