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Dolly Parton Shares Her (Surprising) Secret on 50+ Years of Happy Marriage

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After over 50 years of happy, loving marriage, everyone’s favorite glam-country superstar has shared her surprising secret in the latest issue of People Magazine.

Dolly Parton has been married to Carl Thomas Dean for more than half a century, but you wouldn’t know it for his avoidance of the limelight in which his wife is usually found.

“I’ve been married for 53 years come next May, and my husband and I have a great relationship,” said Parton, 72. “We’ve been together most of our lives.”

“I always joke and laugh when people ask me what’s the key to my long marriage and lasting love,” she said. “I always say ‘Stay gone!’ and there’s a lot of truth to that. I travel a lot, but we really enjoy each other when we’re together and the little things we do.”

When she’s not traveling the globe for various events and engagements, Parton and Dean go on short getaways in their “little camper” for romantic picnics in scenic Tennessee or go on quaint date nights at their favorite local restaurants, much like the dates they went on when they first met.

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“When I met my husband, he wanted to take me out to dinner. He pulled up to the drive-in window and got our food at McDonald’s,” Parton said of their courtship when she was just 18.

“We know a few little places we can go without being bothered. He only likes to go places where he can be comfortable!”

“He knows I’m always going to kind of be fixed up for him because I don’t believe in going home and being a slouch,” Parton said of her love for being (pardon the pun) dolled up. “He doesn’t care what I wear as long as I’m happy,” however. “He loves me the way I am.”

Parton and Dean were married in 1966, but they were forced to elope because her record label preferred her to stay single to keep up her image: “We’d already sent out invitations and so I thought, ‘I ain’t waiting!’ We went that same weekend to Ringgold, Georgia in a little church. I had a little white dress and little flowers, and my mom went with me.”

The couple renewed their vows in a “beautiful ceremony” two years ago, and Parton finally got to wear the wedding gown of her dreams.

“I never really felt like I had the wedding that we really wanted,” she says. “He got all dressed up and I got all dressed up. Fifty years is a long time for anything, and I felt that we needed to do something to commemorate this. It’s been a good 50 years and I don’t know how many more years we’ll have left.”

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