For any couple who makes it to their 50th anniversary, it’s a milestone worthy of a huge celebration. But for Dolly Parton and her notoriously private husband Carl Dean, there’s an even more poignant reason to renew their vows. The wedding they originally planned in 1966 never quite happened, because the music business got in the way.
“When we first got married, I actually had just signed with Monument Records,” Dolly recalls, “and Fred Foster, who was the head of the label, he’d heard that I was engaged. We’d already sent out our wedding invitations. He called me in the office and said, ‘I would really appreciate it if you wouldn’t get married for at least a year.’ I said, ‘Okay,’” she adds, pausing for effect.
“So, that weekend, me and Carl went to Ringgold, Georgia,” she laughs, “and got married, so it wouldn’t be in the Tennessee papers.”
Dolly’s mother Avie Lee Parton, who was immortalized in her classic song and recent hit movie Coat of Many Colors, did get to be there.
“My mom went with us and Mama had made me a little white dress and I said, ‘I’m not getting married in a courthouse.’ So we actually got married in Ringgold, Georgia Baptist Church — no people there, just the preacher and his wife, the witness and Mama,” she remembers.
“I missed having a wedding dress and all that,” the superstar from East Tennessee admits. “So I’m being fitted up for that, and we’re gonna take a bunch of pictures and I might even sell some to the rag mags, and take the money and give it to the Imagination Library. That’s my plan.”
In typical Dolly Parton fashion, she can’t resist a quick one-liner, referencing her upcoming tour and album, both titled Pure & Simple.
“That dress ain’t gonna be pure nor simple!” she laughs.
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