Dolly Parton Shares Her Secrets to Her Happy Marriage

"We have enough in common that it works," the country singer says of husband Carl Dean

Photo: Martin Schoeller

Country legend Dolly Parton saddles up to celebrate 30 years of Dollywood and talks about her future. Subscribe now for instant access to the exclusive interview, only in PEOPLE.

In May 1966, Dolly Parton and Carl Thomas Dean walked down the aisle.

She was 20; he was 23. Nearly 49 years later, they’re still together – and stronger than ever.

So what’s their secret?

“They say that opposites attract, and it’s true,” Parton tells PEOPLE. “We’re completely opposite, but that’s what makes it fun. I never know what he’s gonna say or do. He’s always surprising me.

“My husband is a good man, first of all,” she continues.

“He’s a deep person, but he has a great and warped sense of humor. He makes me laugh and entertains me. He’s very secure within himself.”

So what do Parton and Dean do for fun?

“We like to get out in our little RV and just be simple,” she says. “I love to read, I love to cook, I love to be with my husband. I put on my little comfy clothes – I call them my baby clothes – and we just relax.”

Their RV adventures don’t last long. “He loves to go on vacation or on little trips, but he doesn’t want to be gone a long time,” she says. “He wants to be mostly around the house. He knows I’m just the opposite. I can’t go enough places. I can’t do enough things. He loves that. He’s independent. He doesn’t need me in his face, and it’s the same with me.

“But when we’re together, we have enough things in common that it works,” she adds. “We love the simple life. We can be calm and just have a good time.”

For more on Parton, including her thoughts about retiring, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now

Dolly Parton’s Thoughts on Retiring: ‘I’m Just Not the Kind!’

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