Dolly Parton has no qualms about husband Carl Dean‘s decision to stay “out” of the spotlight. The iconic country star opened up about her private relationship with her longtime love after she revealed many started to wonder if Carl actually exists.

“A lot of people have thought that through the years, because he does not want to be in the spotlight at all,” Dolly, 74, shared with Entertainment Tonight on Thursday, October 29. “It’s just not who he is. He’s like, a quiet, reserved person. I’ve always respected and appreciated that in him.”

Dolly Parton
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In her new book, Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics, the “Jolene” singer wrote about how there are theories out that there that question if Carl, 78, is a real person. Putting the rumors to bed, Dolly explained why we’ve never seen much of her businessman hubby.

“He figured if he ever got out there in that, he’d never get a minute’s peace and he’s right about that,” the Grammy Award winner shared. “He said, ‘I didn’t choose this world, I chose you, and you chose that world. But we can keep our lives separate and together.’ And we do and we have.”

While fans wish they could get a glimpse inside the couple’s decades-long romance, Dolly said she isn’t bothered by having to attend Hollywood events on her own. “I’ve always tried to keep him out of the limelight as much as I can,” she added.

Dolly and Carl have kept many details of their relationship on the down-low ever since they tied the knot in May 1966, but there’s no doubt their bond is stronger than ever. When the Steel Magnolias actress isn’t traveling the country for her legendary career, you can usually find her spending time with Carl.

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“We have very similar tastes … we love to travel around our little RV, and we don’t like parties and all that stuff,” she explained. “We both have a great sense of humor. So, we have a lot of fun.”

The “Islands in the Stream” singer also revealed the secret to their 56-year marriage. “Our joke about the fact, when people ask me why it’s lasted this long, I say, ‘Because I stay gone.’ And there’s a lot of truth in that … the fact that we’re not in each other’s faces all the time,” Dolly teased. “But we do have a great respect and admiration for each other.”

Dolly and Carl share a genuine connection, but the beloved songwriter and her spouse make the perfect match because of their differing personalities. “Carl is quiet,” an insider exclusively told Closer Weekly in August 2020. “He balances the bigness of her life.”