Dolly and Carl Dean have enjoyed 50 years of wedded bliss despite facing many of life's obstacles common to most married couples and plenty of unique challenges all their own.
They met outside the Wishy Washy Laundromat in Nashville, TN, on the first day Dolly moved to Music City. Falling in love and getting married were, perhaps, the last things on young Dolly Parton's mind. Yet, here was a tall, dark and handsome man who swept her off her feet. She said,
"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."
Two years after that fateful meeting, Dolly and Carl were married on May 30, 1966. It was Memorial Day, Dolly and Carl traveled to Ringgold, GA, with her mother. They had a simple, private ceremony with only Avie Lee, the preacher and his wife in attendance. Since that day, Dolly and Carl have lived happily-ever-after for 50 years. They've loved and supported each other while respecting each other's independence.
Their 50 years of happiness is a true testament to their parents, Avie Lee and Robert Lee Parton and Carl’s mother and father, Virginia "Ginny" Bates Dean and Edgar “Ed” Henry Dean. The Parton's had 12 children and the Dean's had three. Dolly fondly referred to Ginny as Mama Dean and says she was her best friend.
Nearly every aspect of Dolly and Carl's personalities compliment one another. While one would think Dolly would be the most entertaining of the two, she often says that it's Carl's unique sense of humor which keeps her laughing. Given Dolly's larger-than-life outlook on everything, it makes perfect sense that her one-and-only would be equally as special in every way.
Dolly's wedding dress and Carl's suit will be on display at Dolly’s Chasing Rainbows Museum at Dollywood beginning July 1.
Since she has no plans of slowing down, what has worked for Dolly and Carl for the past 50 years is sure to carry them through the next.
Dolly penned her heartfelt emotions for Carl in the words of her song, "From Here to the Moon and Back."
"From here to the moon and back
Who else in this world will love you like that?
Love everlasting, I promise you that
From here to the moon and back"
On Memorial Day 1966, Dolly married Carl Dean in Ringgold, GA. The only people to attend the small service were Dolly’s mother, Avie Lee Parton, the preacher of the ceremony and his wife.
The couple had met two years earlier in Nashville. Dolly recalls the first time they talked outside the Wishy Washy Laundromat. She was 18 and he was 21. She said,
“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.”
Carl prefers to stay in the background and is rarely seen with Dolly. During an interview with People Magazine, Dolly said,
"We're completely opposite, but that's what makes it fun. I never know what he's gonna say or do. He's always surprising me. My husband is a good man, first of all. He's a deep person, but he has a great and warped sense of humor. He makes me laugh and entertains me. He's very secure within himself."
When asked what the two do for fun, Dolly said,
"We like to get out in our little RV and just be simple. I love to read, I love to cook, I love to be with my husband. I put on my little comfy clothes – I call them my baby clothes – and we just relax."