Dolly Parton at the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards

Dolly Parton Explains Her ‘Open’ Marriage To Carl Thomas Dean

Home / Entertainment / Dolly Parton Explains Her ‘Open’ Marriage To Carl Thomas Dean

By Favour Adegoke on December 29, 2023 at 5:32 PM EST
Updated on December 29, 2023 at 5:32 PM EST

Legendary country star Dolly Parton's new Channel 5 documentary has revealed details about her open marriage to Carl Thomas Dean.

The award-winning singer shared that she met her husband at a laundromat, and they quickly struck a connection. The two got married two years later and marked their 57th wedding anniversary this year.

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How Dolly Parton Met Her Husband

Dolly Parton arrives at the 57th ACM Awards in Las Vegas

In the world of Hollywood, where divorces are commonplace, sustaining a marriage for more than five decades is no small achievement. Yet, legendary singer Dolly Parton is among those who can boast of triumphing over this trend.

Parton has been married for 57 years to her husband, Carl Thomas Dean, implying that they have been together even before she became famous and started topping charts worldwide.

The singer shared all about meeting him in her documentary, "Dolly Parton: In Her Own Words."

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She said, "When I first moved to Nashville in 1964, I was doing dirty laundry because I was in such a hurry to move to Nashville from my home in East Tennessee, which was 200 miles away."

"I'd never been in a laundromat before. I walked outside, and there was this good-looking man that drove by the wishy-washy laundromat. And he pulled over to the side. So we started talking, and we married two years later," Parton stated.

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The Celebrity Couple 'Flirt' With Other People

Dolly Parton at the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards

While their love for each other is unquestionable, the couple's marriage lacks emotional monogamy. In 2017, Dolly Parton revealed in her book "Dolly on Dolly: Interviews and Encounters with Dolly Parton" that she had developed crushes on different types of men outside her marriage.

As for the "open" marriage, she explains it's not physically open.

She said, "I've had crushes on some very unusual men, but Carl knows I'll always come home, and I'm not having s-x with these people — I'm just flirting and having fun."

The singer also mentioned that her husband engages in playful flirting, and their actions don't introduce jealousy into their marriage. The "Jolene" crooner also emphasized that they never cross the boundary of making their relationships with others sexual at any time.

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Parton continued: "Yes, it's an open relationship, but not s-xually, and I would kill him if I thought he was doing that.' He would shoot me too. At the end of the day, we love each other madly."

Dolly Parton Reveals The Secret To Her Long-Lasting Marriage

Behind-the-scenes of Dolly Parton s T-Mobile Super Bowl commercial

Last month, Parton opened up as to the reason why her marriage lasted this long despite the prevailing trend of divorce among entertainment stars.

"I think so much of it is the fact that we are honest and open, and we have a warped sense of humor!" the singer revealed on Zoe Ball's BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show.

She added that her husband had many endearing traits, such as being "crazy," "funny," and "clever." Combined with her "great sense of humor from both sides of my family," it makes them a perfect fit for each other. Additionally, they share a "mutual respect" for one another.

Parton also mentioned that in a scenario where they weren't romantically involved, she would still have admired Dean as a person.

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The singer remarked, "You know, I would have liked him if he wasn't my husband if he was somebody else's husband, I say, 'You know that Carl Dean, ain't he funny? Ain't he a good guy?' so think it's just that mutual respect and we just like each other."

Dolly Parton Plans To Never Retire From Music

Dolly Parton at Glastonbury Festival 2014

Away from marriage, Parton has no plans to retire from music despite her advancing age.

"I would never retire. I would hopefully drop dead in the middle of a song on stage someday – and hopefully one I've written – but that's how I hope to go," the "9 to 5" singer said during her appearance on Greatest Hits Radio in July.

After expressing her desire never to leave the music spotlight, Parton acknowledged that the physical constraints that come with getting older have made her cut back on touring.

"I'm not touring anymore, but I will continue to do special shows here and there now and then, like a long weekend or festival shows," the "Coat of Many Colors" singer revealed.

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She added, "You have to stay gone so long on a tour to make it productive and prosperous, and that's a lot of time at my age – I aint' got no years to waste."

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