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Dolly Parton Just Revealed the Secret to Keeping Her 56-Year Marriage "Spicy"

The country icon and husband Carl Dean have been married since 1966.

While it's rare to see them together, Dolly Parton has been married to Carl Dean since 1966. She is often in the spotlight, but her husband has lived a notoriously private life—there are hardly any publicized sightings of him over the years. But, even though fans don't get to see Dean often, Parton does talk about him and their impressively long, happy relationship. And in a new interview with E!'s Daily Pop, the singer-songwriter shared one of her tricks to keep their marriage "spicy." Read on to find out more about the couple.

RELATED: Dolly Parton Just Posted a Rare Photo With Long-Time Husband Carl Dean.

Parton always does this one thing for Dean.

Dolly Parton at the premiere of "Dumplin'" in 2018
Kathy Hutchins /

In the Daily Pop interview, Parton was asked whether looking nice for Dean on a regular basis is her "secret to keeping things hot."

"Well, I think it helps! Nobody wants to make out with a slouch!" Parton answered. "I like to dress up for Carl. Every day, I put on some makeup and fix my hair, because I think, 'Well, the whole world, I'm out here and everybody else sees me all dressed up, and I'm not going to just kind of go home and just flop on him.' He would love me either way, but it's important to me that I look as good as I can when we're around. I think it kind of helps keep things spicy."

She dresses up for herself, too.

Dolly Parton at the MovieGuide Awards in 2016
Kathy Hutchins /

Parton doesn't just want to look nice for her husband—it makes her feel comfortable, too. In a 2020 interview with Marie Claire, Parton said that she likes to stay "street ready" or "ambulance-ready" and have her makeup on with her hair done.

"I actually do wear high heels most of the time," the country icon explained. "They're not always as high as the ones I wear for show. But I'm little. I'm short. And I have to wear heels in order to reach my cabinets. But I always enjoy wearing the shoes too, and I just feel more like me. But I can come down, though. I'm comfortable in my own skin; I'm comfortable with my image. I dress for myself more than I do for somebody else."

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She put on a very special outfit for Dean recently.

Dolly Parton presenting the new "Playboy" picture to husband Carl Dean in July 2021
© Dolly Parton / Twitter

In July 2021, Parton celebrated Dean's 79th birthday by recreating her 1978 Playboy cover for him. In a video posted on Twitter, she said, "Remember sometime back I said I was going to pose on the Playboy magazine when I was 75? Well, I'm 75, and they don't have a magazine anymore. But my husband always loved the original cover of Playboy, so I was trying to think of something to do to make him happy. He still thinks I'm a hot chick after 57 years and I'm not going to try to talk him out of that."

She then explained that she got a new photo taken and presented it to him framed next to the original cover—all while still wearing the costume, of course.

She has another relationship secret to share.

Dolly Parton performing at the Newport Folk Festival in 2019
Carl Beust / Shutterstock

It's not just dressing up that has kept Parton and Dean together. She has explained in the past that their differing lifestyles have actually helped their marriage. "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," she told People in 2018. "I travel a lot, but we really enjoy each other when we're together and the little things we do." She added that they like to take trips in their camper, have picnics, and go out to dinner at their favorite spots.

She surprised fans with a throwback photo of Dean a few months ago.

With how private Dean is, Parton's fans were shocked when she shared an old photo of them together on Instagram in November. Parton captioned the sweet throwback photo—which had been photoshopped to make it look like he was wearing some of her new merch, "Find you a partner who will support you like my Carl Dean does!"

Fans were surprised and thrilled to see the post. "Posting Carl???????" wrote one commenter. Another added, "yes!!!!!! such a sweet relationship."

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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