Dolly Parton Hits Back at Fans Who Believe Husband Carl Dean Is 'Fake'

Dolly Parton has done something almost impossible for most celebrities, never mind for a performer in the public eye for over 50 years. She and her husband, Carl Dean, have kept their 54-year marriage so private that some fans even think Dean is not real. The 74-year-old Parton responded to those theories in a new interview, confirming Dean is very real and very private.

Parton told Entertainment Tonight that "a lot of people" have thought Dean was imaginary since he "does not want to be in the spotlight at all." That is "just not who he is," Parton said. "He's like, a quiet, reserved person and he figured if he ever got out there in that, he'd never get a minute’s peace and he's right about that." Parton also wrote about these theories in her new book, Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics.

"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," the country music icon explained. "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. We've been together 56 years, married 54."

Dean and Parton married in May 1966 in Ringgold, Georgia. In May 2016, the couple renewed their vows to mark their 50th wedding anniversary. One reason the couple has stayed together so long is that they are not "in each other's faces all the time," Parton told ET. "But we do have a great respect and admiration for each other. We both have a great sense of humor. So, we have a lot of fun." While they are never photographed at events together, Parton said the two have "very similar tastes" and enjoy traveling in their RV. They also do not like attending parties.

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While Parton has written memoirs in the past, she said the new book grew out of her boredom during the coronavirus shutdowns. She could not perform; she "had to make a living somehow," she joked. "I let people have a glimpse into a lot of old photos, and my growing up in the business, a lot of family photos, and some of my early days as well," Parton said. "Even for my true fans, I think they're gonna get a lot of new stuff that they'll enjoy when they thought they knew everything about me. They'll find a few little nuggets that they didn't know."

After fans pick up Parton's new book on Nov. 17, they can give her new Christmas album, A Holly Dolly Christmas, another listen. The album is available now and is her first holiday album in 30 years. Parton also made another Netflix movie, Christmas on the Square, which will be released on Nov. 22. She previously worked with the streaming service on the movie Dumplin' and the anthology series Heartstrings, which dramatized her songs.