She’s an icon of country music, a philanthropist with a heart as big as her famous assets and a pint-sized package of ageless sass.
But if there’s one thing Dolly Parton really, really wants to do in her life it’s to make her hubby happy – which is why she did something decidedly Dolly-ish when he turned 79 recently.
The 75-year-old blonde bombshell created a stir when she posed in a racy little number to celebrate Carl Dean’s birthday on 20 July.
In a video titled “It's always #HotGirlSummer for my husband,” Dolly got all dolled up to recreate her famous 1978 Playboy cover, which Carl is said to have loved back then and is still crazy about.
"Remember some time back I said I was going to pose on Playboy magazine when I'm 75?" the singer says in the video. "Well, I'm 75 and they don't have a magazine anymore, but my husband always loved the original cover of Playboy.”
Dolly was cover-girl perfect in a pink crystal fishnet bodysuit, silky strapless leotard, fingerless gloves, a bowtie and iconic Playboy bunny ears.
"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,” she says.
In the vid, all we get is a glimpse of Carl’s head as he receives a framed version of the Playboy cover from his favourite gal.
Dolly’s guy is notoriously camera shy and she’s respected his privacy by keeping him out of the limelight during their married life.
She says the secret to their long romance is quite simple: "He's always loved who I was, and I loved who he was, and we never tried to change each other," the singer told Oprah.com in an interview.
It was love at first sight for the pair after meeting in a laundromat in Nashville, Tennessee, when Dolly was 18 and Dean was 21.
Music execs at Dolly’s record label had big plans for the bright young star at the time and tried to delay the couple’s wedding plans but it didn’t work – Dolly and Carl were young and in love and decided to get married in another state to avoid making headlines.
“We went across the state line to Ringgold, Georgia. The plan was to get married in a registry office and my mother made me a little white dress and a little bouquet and a little Bible. But I said, ‘I can’t get married in a courthouse because I’ll never feel married.’
“So we found a little Baptist church in town, and went up to Pastor Don Duvall and said, ‘Would you marry us?’ We got pictures on the steps right outside the church,” she said, of their wedding which took place in May 1966.
As his lady’s career took off, Carl, a homebody who owns a farm with his wife, steered clear of the spotlight – to such an extent some reports even claimed he didn’t exist.
"A lot of people have thought that through the years because he doesn’t want to be in the spotlight at all,” Dolly told Entertainment Tonight last year. "It's just not who he is. He's like, a quiet, reserved person and he figured if he ever got out there in that, he'd never get a minute's peace, and he's right about that."
The Grammy award-winner who’s had several chart-topping country hits inspired by her long-time love, admitted that being constantly on the go before the pandemic made their relationship stronger.
"When people ask me why it's lasted this long, I say, 'because I stay gone'. And there's a lot of truth in that – the fact that we're not in each other's faces all the time. "But we do have great respect and admiration for each other. We both have a great sense of humour. So we have a lot of fun."
The couple never had children of their own but for these lovebirds, two’s company and it’s more than enough.
"I'm dragging him kicking and screaming into the next 50 years,” the singer once said. “Wish us luck."
SOURCES: USMAGAZINE.COM; CMT.COM; ETONLINE.COM; INSIDER.COM; OPRAH.COM; PREVENTION.COM