Dolly Parton Reveals Husband's Warning About Her Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Outfit

Carl Dean, to whom she's been married since 1966, had one reservation about her viral look.

Dolly Parton took her job seriously when she performed the halftime show at a Dallas Cowboys game back in November. At the Thanksgiving Day face-off against the Washington Commanders, Parton wore a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader outfit, featuring their signature white shorts, blue crop top shirt, and white vest with blue stars. To differentiate herself from the cheer squad, the country icon added sparkly stockings and a sparkly illusion netting on her midriff. Parton's look was a big hit online, and now, the singer has explained what her very private longtime husband, Carl Dean, thought about it.

RELATED: Dolly Parton Reveals What She Said to Kenny Rogers After His Botched Facelift.

"He did say something like, 'What? Is it, a little short, don't you think?'" Parton told Page Six. She said that she responded, "No! It's not as short as theirs," referencing the real costumes worn by the cheerleaders.

Similarly, Parton told People in another recent interview, "It turned out pretty cool and my husband liked it. He said, 'Those shorts were a little too short.' I said, 'Jealous?'" She added, "And I said, 'They weren't as short as the other girls!' He was just being funny. I think he thought—because everybody's making a to-do over it—he thought, well, maybe you shouldn't be showing your butt at that age. But anyway, he got a kick out of it too."

Parton told Page Six that she thought people would find the outfit "funny" and that she thought of it as "something cool to do." She explained further to People, "I try not to get into anything I don't think I can pull off, just like that little Dallas Cowgirl outfit. I really thought, well, I'm just going to do this for fun, because I mean, I've never been to one of their halftime shows, and they're so famous, the girls." She continued, "All the guys love them, my husband included, and I kind of did it for him. I thought, well, if I can pull this off, it'll be cute, and if not, then they'll just think if [sic] some older woman did a stupid thing!"

Dolly Parton performing at the Cowboys-Commanders game on Nov. 23, 2023
Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

The look received both praise and criticism online, with critics saying that Parton was too old for the outfit. The 78-year-old said, "I just thought it was cool, and it evidently was because it turned out to be a big sensation. And so, I may have a poster made, a pinup, and donate all the money to the Red Kettle." (She was referring to the Salvation Army, which was the sponsor of the Thanksgiving halftime show.) As for her response to her critics, the "Jolene" singer countered, "Oh, I say, 'To hell with you. I'm going to do as I please.'"

Parton and Dean have been married since 1966, but he remains out of the public eye.

In an interview with Daily Pop in 2022, Parton said that she likes dressing up for her husband. "Well, I think it helps! Nobody wants to make out with a slouch!" she said. "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."

Before the Cowboys cheerleader outfit, the star made headlines for another costume she wore—this one, specifically for Dean. For his 79th birthday in 2021, she recreated her 1978 Playboy cover, including posing for a new photo in a Playboy Bunny costume and presenting the photo to Dean while wearing it.

"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," she said in a video posted to X (formerly Twitter). "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."

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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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