As Dolly Parton kicks it into high gear to promote her brand new album, Blue Smoke, her days are a whirlwind of interviews, TV appearances and A-list events.
She spends hours happily talking about her star-studded career, but there's just one topic that perks the seasoned entertainer up like no other: a recent romantic gesture from her husband, Carl Dean.
“Come springtime in Tennessee, we have buttercups coming up around the side of the barn. Last week, he brought me a little mason jar full of them and wrote me a little poem,” Dolly tells Closer as a giddy smile lights up her face.
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“He always brings me wildflowers when they first bloom on the farm and will always sit them on my make-up station. My husband is a great guy. He’s so proud of me!”
Yet while Carl remains her biggest fan, you won’t catch him on the road with his country superstar wife.
In fact, he’s hardly ever seen out and about with Dolly, which has caused tongues to wag throughout her career, alleging that their marriage is a sham. But Dolly brushes aside any hint of trouble in paradise with a carefree laugh.
“We’ve been married for 48 years this May and we’ve been together for almost 50, so we're okay with [being apart],” Dolly insists to Closer. “There’s no problem with us at all!”
The duo met outside Nashville’s Wishy Washy laundromat in 1964 and wed two years later when Dolly was just 20. She kept her marriage low-key and private, and her mother was her sole wedding guest.
Dolly, of course, soon rocketed her way to fame while Carl made it clear as her star rose that he wanted no part of the limelight.
So while she tours the world, he stays put in Tennessee, “happily keeping the fields mowed, the barns painted and working away on his farm equipment,” Dolly tells Closer.
Looking back, her marriage to Carl may be the greatest hit she's ever been a part of. “At the end of the day,” Dolly gushes, “we love each other madly.”
For more on Dolly's relationship with Carl and her legendary career, pick up the new issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now!
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