The 76-year-old country music legend has been married to Tennessee businessman Carl Thomas Dean since 1966 and says it’s a combination of humor and picking the right partner that has kept them going for 56 years.
“I like it when people say, ‘How did it last so long?’ I say, ‘I stay going,’” Parton explained during an interview with ET Canada.
“You know, there’s a lot to be said about that. So, we’re not in each other’s face all the time. He’s not in the business, so we have different interests, but yet we have the things we love to do together,” she continued. “So it was meant to be, I think. He was the one I was supposed to have and vice versa.”
Parton also echoed the classic marriage advice of having a sense of humor, even when things go wrong.
“We both have a warped sense of humor. And I think humor, honestly, is one of the best things when you’re married like that. Even if you have a problem, if you have a great sense of humor, if you say something you can’t take back [you] usually have some crazy way of getting out of it,” she said.
And the “Jolene” singer said they’re not especially mean to each other. “We’ve never had, you know, serious arguments to say bad things to each other we have to take back,” Parton revealed.
According to Parton’s website, the couple met outside the Wishy Washy laundromat when she was 18 and he was 21. “I was surprised and delighted that while he talked to me, he looked at my face (a rare thing for me),” she shared of their first meeting. “He seemed to be genuinely interested in finding out who I was and what I was about.”
He has also admitted feeling smitten at first sight.
“My first thought was I’m gonna marry that girl,” Dean shared during their 50th wedding anniversary vow renewal in 2016, per Entertainment Tonight. “My second thought was, ‘Lord she’s good lookin.’ And that was the day my life began.”
During a previous interview, the country icon said she loves that Dean isn’t part of the industry.
“We’re completely opposite, but that’s what makes it fun,” she told People Magazine in 2015. “I never know what he’s gonna say or do. He’s always surprising me. My husband is a good man, first of all. 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.”