Inside Dolly Parton’s Happy Marriage to Recluse Hubby

Lizbeth Scordo
The Juice

Country music icon Dolly Parton has been happily married for 46 years, but the world would never know it if she didn't say so. Despite having been with the same man, Carl Dean, since the couple first met back in 1964 at a laundromat, Parton's husband, Carl Dean, is almost never spotted in public. The singer/actress has previously said he simply stays out of the spotlight, and in a recent interview with Reuters, jokes about the fact that some fans have doubts there even is a Carl Dean.

"They don't think he really exists!" exclaims Parton, 66. "When I was doing my show, we were thinking about having a different guy knock on the door every night, as my husband, and then one night he would be a midget, and one night he would be a black man, and one night he would be like a boxer or a wrestler, all these different things that people imagine what my husband looks like."

Despite the fact that many celebs who tie the knot at a young age end up divorcing, Parton and husband Dean, who were 20 and 24 respectively when they wed, are still together, in part, because Dean isn't interested in the celebrity lifestyle said Parton in a 2010 interview with Oprah Winfrey. "He's proud of me. He's just basically shy about things like that. He doesn't like crowds," she told Winfrey. "And I respect his privacy. I respect the fact that he loves to be out of the limelight. That's one of the reasons I think we've lasted so long." The couple met on the day Parton arrived in Nashville in 1964. "I wasn't a star then, so I've never had to worry that he loves me because I'm a star and I've got money or make money or whatever. I know he loves me for me, and that means a lot to me."

So who is Dean? Now 70, he made his career running an asphalt paving business out of Nashville, though it's unclear if he's retired or not. But for those wondering what Parton's better half looks like, well, Dean is so good at keeping a low profile that's it's pretty much impossible to find any recent photos of the guy. There are, however, a few old shots floating around, including this one that Parton shared of the couple during her 2010 Oprah interview, and some retro shots that a fan included in this YouTube video of Parton and Dean, who looks to be a good foot taller than the 5-foot dynamo.

Parton, who recently released a book titled Dream More, made headlines this week when she addressed longstanding rumors she is actually a lesbian in a relationship with her childhood friend Judy Ogle. Rumors she put to rest with a laugh.

"Judy and I have been best friends since we were like in the third and fourth grade," she said in an interview with "Nightline," which aired on Monday. "I mean, I love her as much as I love anybody in the whole world, but we're not romantically involved."

Back in January, Parton told "Access Hollywood Live" that she and Dean may be opposites, but 46 years later, the couple's still going strong.

"He's very kind, very understanding, crazy, funny, witty," she said. "He's a homebody… I have my freedom. He likes to stay at home and he doesn't want me in his face all the time and I don't want to be in it, so it works good!"