Dolly Parton Revealed What it Would Take For Her to Go Out Without Makeup

by Jennifer Shea

Country legend Dolly Parton has a sweet reason for always wearing her makeup – and a sweet reason why she’d go without it.

In a 2009 interview, Parton said she wears makeup for her husband, Carl Dean. The couple has been married for roughly 54 years.

Parton met Dean on her first day in Nashville in front of the Wishy Washy Laundromat, per Good Housekeeping. He was one of the first people she spoke to when she got to town.

Dolly Parton Would Go Out Without Makeup for Her Husband

“I wouldn’t do that,” Parton told The Tinnitist about going out without makeup on. “Unless there was an emergency and my husband was having a heart attack and I had to get him to the hospital, I wouldn’t go out without my makeup.”

She does occasionally go out without her wigs on, Parton said. But no makeup? That’s a bridge too far.

“But I always try to put a little makeup on, if only for my husband’s sake if nothing else,” Parton said. “I don’t want to look like a rag around him; I don’t get to see him all that much, so I always put on makeup for him.”

“And I always try to look presentable in case I get stopped on the street,” she added.

Parton gets recognized often. In fact, it’s not her looks that give her away. It’s her voice. Parton recounted the time she decided to go out wearing a black wig with her eyebrows darkened, clad in a different type of clothes than she usually wears. She went into a record shop with some non-famous friends.

But once in the record shop, Parton said something to one of her friends. Then the jig was up.

“And this group of kids said, ‘You’re Dolly Parton in a black wig,’” Parton recalled. “My voice is as recognizable as my looks. So then I was stuck.”

Parton’s Record Label Didn’t Want Her to Marry Dean

Around the time that Parton and Dean got engaged, her record label started telling her that marriage would hurt her career.

“Everyone at my label — Monument Records and Fred Foster — had invested money in me and in building my career, so they asked me if I’d wait a year to get married,” Parton told CMT. “And I didn’t want to not do what I was supposed to do. Carl’s mother was just heartbroken.”

Poor Mrs. Dean. She had been so excited at the prospect of a wedding after her daughter had eloped.

Parton and Dean did decide to get married regardless of her record label. But they snuck over to Georgia – so the Tennessee papers wouldn’t cover it – with only Parton’s mother in tow. The couple went to a Baptist church, because Parton said she’d never feel like she was married if they simply married in a courthouse.

On their 50th wedding anniversary, the couple renewed their vows in Nashville. And it’s a safe bet Parton wore makeup for the ceremony.