Dolly Parton Met Her Husband in a Local Laundrette and Has Been Happily Married and Childfree for 56 Years
Country singer Dolly Parton, 76, has left a huge mark on the music industry. Her list of awards includes 11 Grammys, 2 Oscar nominations and 6 Golden Globe nominations. To achieve this level of success in her career, the country music icon was forced to make a choice between motherhood and the stage.
Dolly Parton met the love of her life right after leaving school
Dolly Parton in her youth
The future country music icon grew up on a small farm in relative poverty, but Dolly knew from a young age that she was destined to conquer the world. When Parton graduated from high school, in her short farewell speech she said that she was off to Nashville to become a star. And all she got in response was roars of laughter from her classmates.
Dolly Parton with her husband Carl Thomas Dean
The coveted move to Nashville was a life-changing experience for 18-year-old Parton. On her first day at the local laundromat, she happened to meet a young man named Carl Thomas Dean. “I was surprised and delighted that while he talked to me, he looked at my face (a rare thing for me.) He seemed to be genuinely interested in finding out who I was and what I was about,” recalls the singer.
Dean fell in love with Dolly at first sight and instantly knew he wanted to marry her. Two years later, the couple tied the knot. Only Dolly’s mother, the pastor, and his wife were present at the modest ceremony.
Once Parton achieved her phenomenal success on stage, Dean decided to stay away from the celebrity side of his wife’s life. And over the years, Carl has never changed his principles.
The two have been married for over 56 years, but Carl Thomas Dean has never been to a public event with Dolly. “My husband is a loner. He doesn’t particularly care about being around anybody but me,” Parton explained when describing her husband’s reclusive lifestyle.
She knew what she would name her future children, but fate had something else in store for her
The couple were sure they were going to have children. They’d even picked out their names. But life took a different course. Dolly’s success came rather quickly, so there was no time to think thoroughly about parenthood. “It’s just not possible for me to bear children and leave them for somebody else to raise while I have a career,” Parton said at the time.
In 1982, Dolly’s health started to decline: sudden pains in the abdomen and bleeding disrupted her tour. Two years later, at 38, Parton underwent a tough surgery, removing part of her uterus. Doctors said Dolly would never be able to have children. This caused the singer to fall into a deep, long depression that lasted 2 years, putting her music career on hold.
Eventually, the singer was able to find a way to cope with life’s difficulties and devoted herself fully to performing. Dolly reflected on motherhood, but concluded that if she had had children, she wouldn’t have been able to achieve such heights in her career: “Everything would have changed. I probably wouldn’t have been a star.”
Luckily, not being able to have children of their own didn’t affected Dolly and Carl’s feelings for each other in any way. According to a close family friend, Parton still loves cooking for her husband and Dean still writes her love poems. “Despite all their ups and downs, they both consider their relationship a match made in heaven!”
«God didn’t mean for me to have kids so everybody’s kids could be mine.»
Although Dolly Parton hasn’t had the chance to experience parenthood, she puts a great deal of energy and resources into helping as many children as possible.
In 1995, the star founded Imagination Library, an organization that provides children with books for free. Over the decades, Imagination Library has provided almost 100 million books to children in an effort to instil in them a love of reading.
Dolly Parton with her parents
The country singer founded this organization in honor of her father. “My dad was not able to read and write — he was a country boy with a bunch of kids, and he had to work instead of going to school when he was a little boy, and so he never had the chance to get an education.”
It seems clear why Dolly Parton is a true icon of our time. We wish the star continued success and to keep on blessing the world with her light.