Danielle McCarthy

Married for 52 years: Dolly Parton reveals the secret to her happy marriage

Married for 52 years: Dolly Parton reveals the secret to her happy marriage

Although country music legend Dolly Parton has won nine Grammy Awards and sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, there is one accomplishment that is treasured far above everything else: her 52-year-long marriage to her husband Carl Thomas Dean.

In a new interview with People, the singer has opened up about her happy marriage to her husband, whom she met when she was just 18 years old.

“I’ve been married for 53 years come next May, and my husband and I have a great relationship,” she told the publication.

“We’ve been together most of our lives.”

The 72-year-old star revealed that the couples’ secret to their happy marriage is perfecting the balance between their busy schedules and alone time together.

Dean never appears at public events with his famous wife and has shunned the spotlight.

“I always joke and laugh when people ask me what’s the key to my long marriage and lasting love,” said Parton.

“I always say ‘Stay gone!’ and there’s a lot of truth to that. I travel a lot, but we really enjoy each other when we’re together and the little things we do.”

When she has a day off work, the Jolene singer enjoys taking mini trips with her husband in their “little camper” and having picnics in the Tennessee countryside.

The couple also swap fancy nights out for low-key dinners at their favourite local restaurants.

“When I met my husband, he wanted to take me out to dinner. He pulled up to the drive-in window and got our food at McDonald’s,” explained Parton.

“We know a few little places we can go without being bothered. He only likes to go places where he can be comfortable!”

Although the singer loves to get dolled up because she doesn’t “believe in going home and being a slouch”, she is thankful that her husband cares more about her inner beauty.

“He doesn’t care what I wear as long as I’m happy,” she said.

“He loves me the way I am.”

For their 50th wedding anniversary, the couple renewed their vows in their Nashville home.

When they tied the knot in 1966, they were forced to elope because Parton’s record label wanted her to remain unmarried.

“We’d already sent out invitations and so I thought, ‘I ain’t waiting!’ We went that same weekend to Ringgold, Georgia in a little church. I had a little white dress and little flowers, and my mom went with me.”

Parton explained that when she renewed her vows, she finally was able to get the over-the-top wedding she’d dreamed of as a little girl.

“I never really felt like I had the wedding that we really wanted,” she said. 

“He got all dressed up and I got all dressed up. Fifty years is a long time for anything, and I felt that we needed to do something to commemorate this. It’s been a good 50 years and I don’t know how many more years we’ll have left.”