christmas at dollywood dolly parton
Dolly Parton appears as herself in Hallmark Channel’s “Christmas at Dollywood.” Crown Media / Curtis Hilbun


  • Dolly Parton and Carl Thomas Dean met before the singer became a superstar
  • The couple does not have kids, but Parton dedicates herself to supporting Imagination Library
  • They renewed their vows in 2016 during their wedding's 50th anniversary

Dolly Parton finally revealed the secret of her lasting marriage with her husband, Carl Thomas Dean.

Amid the splits and divorces in the entertainment industry, Parton and Dean remain stronger than ever as they continue to celebrate their union 56 years since they got married. From having their first date at a McDonald's store, the couple went through ups and downs together.

As for the secret behind their burning love, the 76-year-old "Islands in the Stream" singer spoke to ET Canada and shared how humor keeps their marriage alive. Per Parton, the "warped sense of humor" has been the key to their long union, and it can be other couples' saving grace.

"I think humor, honestly, is one of the best things when you're married like that," she said. "Even if you have a problem, if you have a great sense of humor, if you say something you can't take back [you] usually have some crazy way of getting out of it."

Their love story started in the 1960s when the then-18-year-old Parton met the 21-year-old Dean. At that time, he saw her outside Wishy Washy Laundromat in Nashville.

In an interview with ET Online, the businessperson said he immediately thought of marrying Parton as soon as he saw her. He then thought she was so good-looking. That meeting led them to date for two years before tying the knot.

Initially, the singer's record label disapproved of it, thinking it could affect her career. But that advice did not stop the wedding, leading them to hold a ceremony in Georgia on May 30, 1966. Although Dean has always been supportive of her, he never appeared in any industry event after his first and last appearance at a BMI dinner in 1966.

"After the dinner, Carl turned to me and said, 'Dolly, I want you to have everything you want, and I'm happy for you, but don't you ever ask me to go to another one of them dang things again!'" Parton told Oprah Magazine.

While Parton was enjoying her life as a singer, her husband ran an asphalt-laying company in Nashville.

To mark their 50 years of marriage, the loving couple renewed their vows in 2016 in a ceremony at their Nashville home. Even after all those years, Parton declared she would do it all over again if she had to.

Dolly Parton christmas on the square
Dolly Parton is pictured in “Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square.” Courtesy of Netflix