Dolly Parton and her husband, Carl Dean, have been married for an impressive 54 years — and together for 56! — and in that time, the singer says, they’ve gotten so close that she considers him to be a little bit “clairvoyant.”
During an Oct. 20 appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Parton explained their spiritual bond in a little more detail. The conversation started after Colbert prompted her to describe what she means when she says that “God speaks” to her through her husband.
“We’re so in tune with each other, I’ll be thinking about something that’s worrying me or grieving me, and I’ll pray about something, you know, kind of waiting for an answer,” Parton recounts. “And he’ll sometimes just up and say something, and it’s just like, ‘Well, I didn’t say anything to you about that!'”
Parton goes on to say that Dean has a mysterious knack for reassuring her about exactly the right things, even if she hasn’t brought up whatever it is that’s troubling her.
“I don’t know if he just senses how I’m feeling, but I have always said that God speaks to me through him,” she continues. “I guess that’s what love is. I guess when you’re in tune, and you know somebody so well…”
Part of that is undoubtedly the many years they’ve spent together, but Parton also acknowledges that Dean is an especially empathetic person. “He’s very intuitive, too. I think he’s kinda clairvoyant at times,” the singer adds.
Whether their bond is supernatural or simply bolstered by good old fashioned love, it’s worked for over half a century, and seems likely to keep on working. In fact, Parton and Dean recently renewed their vows at the 50-year mark, which has led the singer’s husband to pick up a habit that she admits annoys her a little bit.
“Now he tells people that I’m his second wife,” she reveals. “I said, ‘Don’t say that! I’m still the only one!'”
While Parton has spent her whole life in the spotlight, her husband prefers to stay behind the scenes, and rarely makes appearances with his famous wife in public. However, that dynamic evidently works well for the couple. During a conversation with newlywed and rising country star Gabby Barrett, Parton offered up some marriage advice, explaining that she and Dean almost never fight but cautioning the younger performer that marriage, like anything else in life, takes a lot of work.
See Dolly Parton’s Life and Career in Pictures