Today, May 30th, 2022,Dolly Parton and her husband, Carl Dean, are celebrating 56 years of marriage together.
Though Carl intentionally stays out of the spotlight, the story of how the two met is actually pretty funny.
When Dolly turned 18, she hopped on a bus to Nashville and never looked back. But, she was in such a hurry to get to Music City that she filled her suitcase full of dirty clothes as a way to be efficient.
When she got there, she was going to live with her late uncle, Bill Owens, until she had enough time to save some money and find a place of her own.
So, needless to say, when she finally got to Nashville, she needed to do some laundry. She took her clothes to Wishy Washy, a laundromat near her Uncle’s apartment in South Nashville.
According to Showbiz, she met Carl that very day when he pulled up next to her in his Chevy:
“I got me a big RC Cola, and while my clothes were washing, I just went out walkin’ down the sidewalk to see Nashville. I was just walkin’ down the street and this boy came by in this white ’59 or ’60 Chevrolet.
He went down first and he flirted and, of course, being fresh from the country, well, up where I come from everybody was friendly to everybody because everybody was friends, and I didn’t know that you just couldn’t do that anywhere.”
He had shouted to her from the car, and she smiled back and waved to him:
“‘Cause I was just so proud to be here, you know.
I guess kind of in the back of my mind I was maybe flirtin’ a little, too, but mainly I was just bein’ friendly because I’d always been the kind of person who would speak back and smile.”
Carl was persistent, circling back around to her in his car a second time, trying to make conversation by telling her she would get sunburned walking around outside.
Finally, he pulled over and walked up to ask her where she was from:
“I told him I was from Knoxville because I didn’t figure he’d know where Sevierville was. He still kids me about saying I was from Knoxville.
He says I said it kind of highfalutin’ or somethin’, but I didn’t.”
After that, he asked her out, but she politely declined. Probably because she didn’t know anything about him or who he even was.
But, she had another idea. She told him she was supposed to be babysitting for her Uncle the next day and he could come over if he wanted.
Not the most romantic first date in the world, but I guess if I guy is willing to come babysit with you before you even know his middle name, you’re on the right track:
“He came over and we sat out in the yard and talked. But I still wouldn’t go on a date with him for several days.”
Eventually, when they finally went on an actual first date, he made a pretty bold move:
“The first place he took me the first night we went out was to his parents’ house, and that made me feel a lot better about him.”
Dolly Parton with her husband, Carl Dean, 1966. Although Parton does not use Dean's surname professionally, her passport says "Dolly Parton Dean" and that she sometimes uses Dean when signing contracts. They've been married now for 53 years. pic.twitter.com/hCske40GpX