The queen of country music is always seen in glittering dresses, her signature blonde hair and a smile big enough to light up a room. On the other hand her husband, Carl Dean, is extremely private.
Intentionally… he’s stayed out of the spotlight and fan fare.
The two of them never had kids of their own, and while I personally think having Dolly as a mom or grandma would be the coolest thing ever, it just wasn’t in the cards for them.
In a 2014 interview with The Guardian, Dolly revealed why they ultimately chose not to pursue children, and how her life would be different if they did:
“You always wonder… My husband and I, when we first got married, we thought about if we had kids, what would they look like? Would they be tall… because he’s tall? Or would they be little squats like me?”
They even had a name picked out for a little girl.
“If we’d had a girl, she was gonna be called Carla… Anyway, we talked about it, and we dreamed it, but it wasn’t meant to be. Now that we’re older? We’re glad.
I would have been a great mother, I think. I would probably have given up everything else. Because I would’ve felt guilty about that, if I’d have left them to work, to tour.”
Of course, having children would’ve made Dolly’s grueling work schedule all the more complex, and she doesn’t know if she would be the Dolly we all know and love today if she would’ve given parts of that up:
“Everything would have changed. I probably wouldn’t have been a star.”
Though she never had her own children, she started Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in 1988, which inspires young kids to read and achieve success in school. She has several children’s books and CDs under her belt, too.
Dolly has talked about this previously in other interviews, saying ultimately, she believed God didn’t mean for her to have her own kids. She wanted everybody’s to be hers… so she could be a fairy godmother to all of us. Where do I sign up for that?
And she once toldLadies Home Journal that they don’t even call each other’s by their first names.
Apparently, Carl hates when Dolly calls him by his name, and prefers something a little more playful:
“It makes him fee-urious when I call him Carl. I always call him Daddy.”
I’m 99 percent sure that Dolly probably doesn’t call him that with the intent that most people use that word these days, but it’s pretty damn funny to think about her calling him “Daddy” all the time, even if they’re just at church or the grocery store.
I mean, I’ve heard plenty of people who have young kids call each other “mom” and “dad” as a term of endearment, but Carl and Dolly never had children of their own.
But in all honesty, Dolly’s not really all that delicate, so maybe she does mean it in a sexual way, who knows…. she has a pretty dirty sense of humor for being America’s resident southern belle.
But the thing is, Carl doesn’t ever call her Dolly, either:
“He calls me Mama or Little Kid or Angel Cakes. Sometimes he calls me Dotty to be silly: ‘Okay, Lil Dotty.’
Maybe once a year I call him Carl and it seems so cold that it really upsets him. Then he gets back by calling me Dolly, which cuts me to the quick.”
Of course, if you’re married long enough, I assume you come up with quite a few funny nicknames for your partner, but hearing that Dolly only calls Carly “Daddy” is probably the greatest thing I’ve seen all day.