Lifestyle & Human Interest

Dolly Parton Knows If It Wasn't for Faith, Her 52-Year Marriage Wouldn't Have Survived


Country music legend Dolly Parton and her husband Carl Thomas Dean have been married since 1966.

Parton, 72, has never been shy about her faith, and credits that faith for keeping her marriage strong.

Over the years, Parton revealed that things weren’t always easy. Both separately and as a couple, they faced many trials along the way.

“I hurt like everybody else. I’m not always happy,” she revealed.

One of those trying times came when medical issues forced Parton to undergo a partial hysterectomy in 1984.

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After almost 20 years of marriage, she received the devastating news that she would never be able to have children with her husband.

“It was a really bad time,” Parton said. “Sometimes God just has to smack you down. He was almost saying, ‘Sit your[self] down because we have to deal with some stuff!’”

Following the news, the singer revealed she quickly became depressed, and suffered for over two years. During that time, she took a step away from her career to allow herself to heal.

Around the same time, Parton also wrestled with the guilt of an emotional affair. At one point, her feelings for another man even made her contemplate ending her life.

“I looked at it a long time,” she said of staring at her gun. But Parton soon understood that God had bigger plans for her.

“Then, just as I picked it up, just to hold it, and look at it for a moment, our little dog, Popeye, came running up the stairs. The tap-tap of his paws jolted me back to reality. I suddenly froze and I put the gun down.”

Parton began to pray, and recognized that Popeye racing to her side was God letting her know He was there for her.
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“I kinda believe Popeye was a spiritual messenger from God,” she explained. “I don’t think I’d have done it, killed myself, but I can’t say for sure. Now that I’ve gone through that terrible moment, I can certainly understand the possibilities, even for someone solid like me, if the pain gets bad enough.”

To this day, Parton knows God’s hand in her life is why her marriage survived.

She and Dean often pray in the chapel they built on their Tennessee farm, growing deeper in love each and every day.

“There’s still a lot of passion between them,” a friend said. “Dolly still enjoys cooking for Carl, and he still writes her love poems. Despite all of their ups and downs, they both consider their relationship a match made in heaven!”

“She always lets God’s hand guide her through life,” another friend said. “And she’s always come to the realization that God believes her place is with Carl.”

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Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
Health, Entertainment, Faith