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

"Find you a partner who will support you like my Carl Dean does!"

Dolly Parton doesn't usually share photos of her husband, but she made an exception in a new Instagram post, to the delight of her fans. On Tuesday, Parton shared a throwback photo of husband Carl Dean and herself with a not-so-hidden message.

Dean and Parton have been married for 55 years, but they keep a low profile when it comes to their relationship and he keeps a very low profile in general. In fact, Dean's very existence has been questioned, and he has made headlines in the past for even being spotted in public. Read on to see the cute photo Parton posted of herself and her husband and to learn more about their lengthy (and private) love story.

RELATED: 15 Beloved, Long-Term Celebrity Couples, Then and Now.

Dean's a supportive husband.

Parton captioned her Instagram post of her and Dean in their younger days with, "Find you a partner who will support you like my Carl Dean does!" As you can see in the image, it's an old photo of the couple, but it's been photoshopped to look like Dean is wearing a Dolly Parton T-shirt that is currently sold in her online store.She also posted the photo in her Instagram Story along with a link to her online store where the shirt is available for $35.

Parton's fans were surprised to see her partner.

Dolly Parton at the MovieGuide Awards in 2016
Kathy Hutchins /

The comments on Parton's Instagram post show just how excited her fans were to see her posting about her husband. "Posting Carl???????" reads one comment that has nearly 700 likes. Another fan wrote, "Carl Dean is super handsome!" Someone else wrote, "yes!!!!!! such a sweet relationship."

Dean keeps his life totally private.

Dolly Parton in her Playboy costume and Carl Dean in July 2021
© Dolly Parton / Twitter

Dean and Parton got married in 1966, two years after meeting at a laundromat. In the years since, Parton has become a huge star, but Dean has stayed totally out of the spotlight and doesn't attend any events with his wife. In an October 2020 interview with Entertainment Tonight, Parton said Dean is a "quiet, reserved person" and that she's "always tried to keep him out of the limelight as much as I can." She continued, "He said, 'I didn't choose this world, I chose you, and you chose that world. But we can keep our lives separate and together.' And we do and we have. We've been together 56 years, married 54."

Parton did share another rare glimpse—and really just a glimpse—of Dean in July, when she dressed up like her Playboy cover for his birthday.

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Parton says that time apart has helped their relationship.

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

Parton lives by the idea of absence making the heart grow fonder. "I always joke and laugh when people ask me what's the key to my long marriage and lasting love," she told People in 2018. "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."

Parton shared with the magazine that she and Dean like to take trips in their RV, have picnics, and go out to dinner at local restaurants in Tennessee where they live. "We know a few little places we can go without being bothered," she said. "He only likes to go places where he can be comfortable!"

Parton and Dean don't have children.

Dolly Parton at the launch of Imagination Library in 2007
Rui Vieira – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

The couple never had children, and Parton has explained that she felt her career and what she could do for other children benefitted from not having kids of her know. "I didn't have children because I believed that God didn't mean for me to have kids so everybody's kids could be mine," she told Oprah Winfrey in a 2020 interview (via Today), "so I could do things like Imagination Library because if I hadn't had the freedom to work, I wouldn't have done all the things I've done. I wouldn't be in a position to do all of the things I'm doing now."

RELATED: The Longest-Lasting Marriages in Hollywood.

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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