Although the couple will be married for 53 years this coming May, Parton's husband has only seen her perform a number of times

By Joelle Goldstein
February 18, 2019 05:20 PM
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Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty

Dolly Parton‘s music is loved by fans all around the world but doesn’t get the same reaction closer to home.

The country superstar, who was recently honored at the 2019 Grammy Awards and named the recipient of MusiCares’ annual person of the year prize, appeared on Good Morning Britain Monday to talk about the West End premiere of 9 To 5: The Musical and her decades-long career.

While there, Parton, 73, revealed that although her husband Carl Thomas Dean has been by her side for the entirety of her career, he actually isn’t that fond of her music or watching her perform.

Explaining why her husband of nearly 53 years has only ever seen her on stage approximately two or three times, Parton said, “He felt like he’d get nervous if I messed up and all that. He’s not necessarily one of my biggest fans [of] my music.”

Dean, 76, who has long shunned the spotlight and almost never appears at public events with his superstar wife, still makes sure to show his support for Parton, even though he’s more of a hard rock and bluegrass music fan.

“He’s proud of me. And he loves that I love what I do. I think it’s just… it’s a touchy subject,” she told the outlet, adding that Dean will sometimes attend and listen to her performances when she plays at State Fairs. “I’m like his little girl, I think. He just worries about that.”

“He likes hard rock and Led Zeppelin and bluegrass music,” Parton continued. “He doesn’t dislike it, he doesn’t go out of his way to play my records, let’s put it that way.”

In May, Parton and Dean will celebrate their 53rd wedding anniversary together. Though she acknowledged that the couple may not agree on everything, Parton believes that their differences in opinion, along with their love for each other, has helped make their marriage last for more than five decades.

“The fact that we like each other, we respect each other, we’ve always had a good time. He’s crazy and I’m crazy,” she lovingly said of Dean. “We laugh a lot and I think that’s been one of the most precious parts of our relationship.”

Dolly Parton
| Credit: Art Streiber

Parton has previously opened up to PEOPLE about her lasting love with Dean, whom she met when she was just 18 years old.

“My husband and I have a great relationship. We’ve been together most of our lives,” she said, adding that her busy schedule often helps them embrace the time they get together.

“I always joke and laugh when people ask me what’s the key to my long marriage and lasting love,” she revealed. “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.”

On her days off, Parton and Dean take mini trips in their “little camper” and have picnic lunches in the Tennessee countryside. They also forgo glamorous date nights for low-key dinners at their favorite local restaurants.

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

Dolly Parton
| Credit: Sundholm Magnus/action press/REX/Shutterstock

And though Parton certainly loves to get dolled up — “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” — she said she’s most grateful that Dean sees her inner beauty. “He doesn’t care what I wear as long as I’m happy,” said Parton. “He loves me the way I am.”

Three years ago, the couple renewed their vows on their 50th anniversary at their “big ol’ house” in Nashville. When they wed in 1966, the pair were forced to elope because Parton’s record label preferred her to stay unwed.

“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.”

For their “beautiful ceremony” in 2016, Parton — who is executive producing an eight-part anthology series based on her music that’s set to debut on Netflix this year — finally got to wear the over-the-top wedding gown she had always dreamed of.

“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.”