"My daddy was a man of action rather than words," Dolly Parton says in a new article about her life. "He wouldn't go around telling us kids how much he loved us, but I could always see the tenderness in his eyes."
On the surface, Dolly’s father — the late Robert Lee — might sound a lot like her seldom-seen, never-quoted husband of 49 years, Carl Dean: the strong, silent type. But Closer spoke with Dolly’s dearest friends, who paint a more detailed and slightly different picture of her relationships.
Dolly with Ricky Schroder and Jennifer Nettles, who played her parents in Coat of Many Colors. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
“Even though his family lived a pretty hardscrabble life, Lee was still popular with the locals in Locust Ridge, Tenn. — he didn’t shy away from attention like Carl does,” says a friend. “I think Dolly believes the reason she and Carl found each other and have been together for more than 50 years is because he balances her out — if he wanted to be out there all the time, it probably would’ve blown up in their faces.”
In the new article, published in the U.K.’s The Guardian, Dolly, 70, looks at her marriage through rose-colored glasses. “I am lucky and blessed,” she says. “I never doubted for a minute that [Carl and I] would be married 50 years as long as we were both alive.”
To read the full story on Dolly, pick up the new issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now!