Dolly Parton Speaks Out About ‘Open’ Relationship With Husband Of 56 Years

Dolly Parton is in an 'open' relationship with her husband of 56 years, Carl Dean Thomas, having admitted that men are her 'weakness'. 
Credit: Alamy & @dollyparton/Instagram

Dolly Parton is in an ‘open’ relationship with her husband of 56 years, having admitted that men are her ‘weakness’. 

Parton, 77, is a country music legend and is known for songs such as ‘Jolene’, ‘9 to 5’ and ‘Islands in the Stream’.

Over her decades-long career, the ‘Coat of Many Colors’ singer has sold over 100 million records worldwide.

Despite being one of the best-selling artists of all time, little is known about Parton’s relationship with her husband, Carl Thomas Dean, 81.

But the icon has disclosed that while the couple is happily married, this hasn’t stopped her eyes from wandering.

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In her 2017 book ‘Dolly on Dolly, Interviews and Encounters with Dolly Parton’, the singer revealed that she flirts with other men and her husband – to whom she tied the knot in 1966 – is aware of it.

Opening up, Parton wrote: “Men are my weakness.

“Short, fat, bald or skinny – I’ve had crushes on some very unusual men but Carl knows I’ll always come home and I’m not having s** with these people – I’m just flirting and having fun.

“He’s not jealous and I’m not jealous of him. He knows I flirt. He flirts too.

“Yes, it’s an open relationship, but not s**ually and I would kill him if I thought he was doing that.”

Dolly Parton and Carl Thomas Dean.
Dolly Parton and her husband Carl Thomas Dean are in an ‘open’ relationship. Credit: @dollyparton/Instagram

She added: “He would shoot me too. At the end of the day, we love each other madly.”

Although Parton has revealed that the couple is in an open relationship, this hasn’t stopped the singer from feeling jealous from time to time.

As she and her husband are so flirty, it’s even inspired some of Parton’s biggest hits.

The ‘I Will Always Love You’ singer shared that the track ‘Jolene’ was inspired by a redheaded bank clerk who flirted with Dean at their local branch.

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Parton told NPR: “She got this terrible crush on my husband… And he just loved going to the bank because she paid him so much attention.

“It was kinda like a running joke between us – when I was saying, ‘Hell, you’re spending a lot of time at the bank. I don’t believe we’ve got that kind of money’.”

The singer would admit that she felt ‘threatened’, adding: “She had everything I didn’t.”

Dolly Parton
Some of Dolly Parton’s biggest tracks have been inspired by her relationship with her husband. Credit: Alamy

The couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary back in May 2016 and to mark the occasion, Dean shared a rare statement about his famous wife.

Recalling their first encounter, he wrote: “My first thought was, ‘I’m gonna marry that girl’.

“My second thought was, ‘Lord, she’s good-lookin’. And that was the day my life began. I wouldn’t trade the last 50 years for nothing on this earth.”

To commemorate the occasion, Parton and Dean also renewed their vows in a private ceremony in Nashville.

“If I had it to do all over, I’d do it all over again, and we did,” Parton said at the time.

“I’m dragging him kicking and screaming into the next 50 years. Wish us luck.”

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Written by Aimee Walker

Aimee is a senior content editor at IGV who specialises in finding the best original stories, trending topics and entertainment news. She graduated from Birmingham City University with a degree in Media and Communications.