As Dolly Parton is celebrated on tonight’s NBC special, “Dolly Parton: 50 Years at the Opry”, fans may grow curious about her personal life.
And a quick search of her name will lead to a recent conversation Parton had with Seth Meyers about her crush on Johnny Cash.
How did the two know one another? What became of their friendship? Here’s what you should know.
Parton Thought He Was the “Sexiest Thing” She’d Ever Seen
Speaking to Seth Meyers on his late-night talk show, Parton discussed life growing up in the Smoky Mountains as one of twelve children. Talking about her start at the Grand Ole’ Opry, when Johnny Cash was hot on the scene, Parton tells Meyers that Cash was “the sexiest thing [she’d] ever seen.”
Asked by the talk show host what it was like the first time Parton went to the Opry, she explained, “It was amazing because my uncle Bill Owens used to take me back and forth to Nashville. That was when Johnny Cash was first on the scene… He was the sexiest thing I’d ever seen. I was 13 years old. And I was looking at him, and I was feeling all these things that you feel! That’s the first time I really understood what sex appeal really was. And I just really fell into a burnin’ ‘Ring of Fire’! But I loved him.”
She Has Been Married to Carl Dean Since 1966
While Parton and Cash became friendly and even performed together, it was Carl Thomas Dean who the country singer ended up marrying.
The couple met at a laundromat when Dolly was just 18 years old. They married two years later and have been together ever since.
While Dean is Dolly’s biggest supporter, he is notoriously private and has only appeared in public with his wife a few times. As Country Living notes, it has been reported that after accompanying her on the red carpet for an event in 1966, Carl told Dolly, “Dolly, I want you to have everything you want, and I’m happy for you, but don’t you ever ask me to go to another one of them dang things again!”
In a recent interview with People ahead of the release of her new Netflix series, Dolly shared of her husband, “He’s always supporting me as long as I don’t try to drag him in on it… He’s always been my biggest fan behind the scenes . . . But anyway, he’d never come dragging around. I’d rather bring somebody else with me, you know? He’s never jealous of that either.”
In a separate 2018 interview with the outlet, Dolly laughed, “I always joke and laugh when people ask me what’s the key to my long marriage and lasting love… 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.”
The couple has never had children together– and that is something Dolly has not regretted. Asked in an interview with Billboard.com if she regrets not having kids, she shared, “I’m very close to my family — five of my younger brothers and sisters lived with me and Carl for many years — and we’re very close to our nieces and nephews. Now that Carl and I are older, we often say, ‘Aren’t you glad we didn’t have kids? Now we don’t have kids to worry about.'”
Tonight’s NBC special will air on NBC at 9pm ET/PT.