Dolly Opens Up About Marriage, Kids and Pesky Gay Rumors
Dolly Parton doesn't take all the credit for seeing her dreams come true. The country legend says she couldn't have done it all -- 80 albums, 25 No. 1 singles, a themepark and countless other ventures -- without the help of her loved ones.
"You're not going to see your dreams come true if you don't put wings, legs and arms, hands and feet, on 'em," she tells AARP magazine. "You gotta have people to help carry out those dreams, and, Lord, I've been surrounded by great people."
Two of those great people, in particular, are Dolly's husband of 43 years, Carl Dean, and her best friend since the third grade, Judy Ogle.
"They knew me before I became a star," Dolly says of Dean and Ogle. "They still see me as me."
At the beginning of their marriage, Dolly and Carl took in five of Dolly's younger siblings. But the couple never had kids of their own. That wasn't necessarily for lack of trying -- Dolly says it simply wasn't in God's plan.
"It wasn't meant to be," says the country icon. "Me and Carl are each other's children."
As for the secret to Dolly's long, happy marriage, perhaps it's a case of opposites attract. While the flamboyant Dolly is a fixture at media events, the reclusive Carl is rarely seen in public. He's not in music business and steers clear of concerts, awards shows and other industry affairs.
"We're not together enough to get on each other's nerves!" Dolly says. "Carl has always been proud of me. As long as I don't drag him into my work, he's fine and lets me do what I want to do."
But because the couple is rarely seen together, the rumor mill has churned for years about the state of their marriage and even about Dolly's sexual preferences. Her best friend Ogle is also her assistant, so the two are constantly spotted together ... inevitably fueling speculation about whether the two are lesbians.
"We're totally honest, open, and comfortable with each other," Parton says of her friendship with Ogle. "We've been accused of being lovers. We do love each other, but we've never been like that."
Dolly shrugs off the rumors and insists the "I do"s she said 43 years ago were meant for life.
"I know we'll never divorce," she says. "He always knows I'm coming home."