Dolly Parton Remembers Falling for Husband After Meeting Him on First Day in Nashville

by Madison Miller

For Dolly Parton, it may have been love at first sight when she set her gaze on her now-husband, Carl Dean.

The country singer proved her song “I Will Always Love You” true when it comes to her longtime lover.

Parton and Dean have been together for 55 years now. She has since largely kept their relationship more private, instead of exposing them to the watchful and prying eyes of fans and the media.

Dolly Parton and Carl Dean

In a recent interview with W Magazine, Dolly Parton talks about the first time she ever met the love of her life. She was in a new city when she met her new lover. She actually met Carl Dean on her first day in Nashville when she moved there back in 1964.

“I had a lot of boys in my life. I love boys. I still do. In the early days, I had a big crush on Johnny Cash. He was young and skinny, and he just had that magnetism. The way he moved around — you know, so sexy. I found out later he was just having withdrawals from drugs, but it still touched me. He was so, so sexy,” Parton shared in the interview.

There was only one boy that would ever leave a decades-long impression on her life, however. The singer said she instantly fell in love with Dean, a local businessman. Her family was not as thrilled, however. They told her not to get married because it could potentially alter or derail her career as an aspiring artist.

Parton, instead, followed her heart and married him in 1966. The two met outside of a laundromat and then had their first date at a McDonald’s.

The Key to 55 Years

Over the years, she’s shared brief images of her husband, but not much. Some fans believe he may not even exist and others think thought she was in a relationship with her famous duet partner, Porter Wagoner.

For Parton, it’s all a conscious choice.

“I’ve always respected and appreciated that in him and I’ve always tried to keep him out of the limelight as much as I can. He said, ‘I didn’t choose this world, I chose you, and you chose that world. But we can keep our lives separate and together.’ And we do and we have,” Dolly Parton said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight from last year.

Parton has opened up about their relationship in her book, “Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics.” A part of that narrative was hearing from people that her husband was like a fictional entity to them.

The “9 to 5” singer actually credits the all-around success of her relationship to its removal from the Hollywood spotlight. The two are separated a lot due to work but have a lot in common in terms of activities.

“We have very similar tastes… we love to travel around in our little RV, and we don’t like parties and all that stuff,” she said in an interview with ET Online from last year.