Dolly Parton Says “Warped Sense Of Humor” Has Kept Her Marriage With Her Husband Of 56 Years, Carl Dean, Strong

Dolly Parton country music
Courtesy of

Dolly Parton has been married to her husband, Carl Dean, for 56 years.

They got married not long after she moved to Nashville, after first meeting outside of the Wishy Washy laundromat in Music City.

Carl intentionally stays out of the spotlight, but even though Dolly’s become a global superstar and icon, they’ve managed to keep their marriage strong, which is pretty damn impressive, to say the least.

Dolly recently sat down with ET Canada to talk about her forthcoming album, Rock Star, which was partially inspired by Carl’s love for rock and roll, as well as her recent induction into the rock hall of fame.

When Morgan Hoffman asked her about the secret to their long and prospering marriage, Dolly says a little bit of that old adage, absence makes the heart grow fonder, has some truth to it, and she feels as though they were always meant to be, so to speak:

“I like it when people say, ‘How did it last so long?’ I say, ‘I stay going.’ You know, there’s a lot to be said about that. So we’re not in each other’s face all the time.

He’s not in the business, so we have different interests, but yet we have the things we love to do together. So it was meant to be, I think. He was the one I was supposed to have and and vice versa.”

But the real key is that they “both have a warped sense of humor,” which has kept things light and fun even when they probably shouldn’t have been…

“We both have a warped sense of humor. And I think humor, honestly, is one of the best things when you’re married like that.

Even if you have a problem, if you have a great sense of humor, if you say something you can’t take back you usually have some crazy way of getting out of it.”

Seems like a strategy that has clearly worked well for them, as they’ll celebrate their 57th wedding anniversary in May.

It’s worked so well, in fact, that Dolly says they’ve never even really had a huge, serious blow out argument in over half a century of being together:

“We’ve never had, you know, serious arguments to say bad things to each other we have to take back.”

That’s certainly something to be proud of, and though pretty much unheard of for any couple that’s been together any amount of time, not all that hard for me to believe when it comes to Dolly.

Dolly’s also one of the funniest people on the planet, in my opinion, so if Carl can match her quick wit and humor, it’s easy to see how they’ve made it work all these years.

You can check out more of her ET feature here:

I mean, if you still want to dress up as Playboy bunny for him after 5-plus decades, something’s clearly workin’…

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock