Dolly Parton’s Husband, Carl Dean, Gives Rare Interview On Their First Meeting At Nashville Laundromat: “My First Thought Was I’m Gonna Marry That Girl”

Dolly Parton country music

Dolly Parton and her husband, Carl Dean, have been married 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.

And he gave a rare 2016 press interview (his only one), only because they were trying to raise money for her Imagination Library foundation, which also included a Q&A by the couple with questions submitted by fans.

And when asked about that fateful day in Music City and his initial reaction to seeing Dolly for the first time, he had a really sweet answer, saying:

“My first thought was I’m gonna marry that girl. My second thought was, Lord she’s good lookin’.

And that was the day my life began. I wouldn’t trade the last 50 years for nothing on this earth.”

Now I see why their marriage has seemingly worked so well for the last five-plus decades…

And if you’re wondering why we never see much of Carl, he asked Dolly very early on to keep him away from all the cameras and attention:

“He doesn’t particularly care about being around anybody but me. He’s just always asked me to leave him out of all this. He does not like all the hullabaloo.

He’s always been supportive. He’s like a brother and a father and a friend and a husband and a lover – all of those things to me. I think he’s kind of proud that we’ve been in it this long!”

Carl actually owned an asphalt-laying company for many years, and in a lot of ways, they lived pretty separate lives as she was out on the road for much of her career touring the world. She’s mentioned before that the old adage “absence makes the heart grow fonder” has sort of been true for them.

But Dolly says the real key to their marriage 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.”

And it also sounds like Dolly isn’t afraid to keep Carl in line (to the surprise of no one), and she recalled having to put him in his place many years ago when a certain lady named Jolene came into the picture…

“And I said, ‘Look, you better be talkin’ to one of those boys, or it’s gonna be your ass and your fault! So there’s your asphalt.’”


Here’s to many more years of bliss for Carl and Dolly.


A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock