While Dolly Parton has always been incredibly open with fans about many aspects of her life throughout her decades-long career, she’s managed to keep her personal relationships relatively private. Dolly Parton and Carl Dean have been married since 1966, but they’ve rarely been seen in public together, and we don’t know a lot about their 50-plus-year marriage. They’re not exactly J.Lo and Ben Affleck when it comes to PDA.
In a special International Women’s Day episode of The Kelleigh Bannen Show on Apple Music Country, the legendary country singer, actor, and philanthropist opened up about maintaining this balance between living in the spotlight and protecting her marriage. Parton said that this balance stems from advice she got from her mother.
“I learned early on,” Parton said, per Today. “And I think my mama told me when I was young, ‘Always keep something back for you. You can give what you’ve got to give, but don’t give it all away. Always keep something for you.’”
Parton added, “There’s a part that belongs to God and to me. It’s a sacred place that just is mine and God’s, and I’ve known how to do that because I think God has directed that.”
Parton’s family falls into that category. “I’ve known how to keep my husband private,” Parton said. “It’s just natural to me to protect the things and the people I love and to protect my own privacy.” She added, “I pray also that God will give me enough to share and enough to spare when it comes to my money but also to myself. Let me share everything I can, but let me keep me.”
Dolly Parton has been performing since she was a child, but became a household name in country music in the ’60s. Parton made her feature-film debut in 1980’s 9 to 5 opposite Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin and has since appeared in films including Steel Magnolias and Netflix’s Christmas on the Square.