Dolly Parton’s been married for 57 years. Her husband’s public appearances can be counted on one hand.

One of her most loved songs led to rumours Carl was cheating, but Dolly told fans at a concert the song was written about a red-headed bank clerk who flirted with Carl. She said she “put a stop” to him spending so much time there. 

A 2017 book called ‘Dolly on Dolly: Interviews and Encounters With Dolly Parton’ included a statement from Dolly where she called her marriage “totally open and free”, which led to an “affair of the heart” that caused her heartbreak so painful she once contemplated suicide.

Dolly’s career has also been dogged by rumours of a lesbian relationship with her friend Judy Ogle but in 2014 she told PrideSource.com their friendship was just a “precious friendship”, and “I am not gay, but if I were, I would be the first one out of the closet”.

To celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in 2016, Dolly and Carl renewed their vows in Ringgold, Georgia – the same place they originally got hitched.

In true Dolly fashion, her account of that night was very candid.

“We just got fast food and ate in our camper and spent the night… It was [romantic] to us,” she said on The Tonight Show.

“We just park and go to bed in the camper. We actually don’t sleep that much,” she joked, “that’s why we’ve lasted 50 years!”

This article was originally published on February 12, 2019 and was updated by Laura Jackel with additional information on December 23, 2022.

Feature Image: Instagram @dollyparton

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