Country superstar Dolly Parton has been married to husband Carl Thomas Dean for 54 years, but has kept many of the intimate details close to the vest and out of the spotlight. She says that's the point.

"I've been married for 53 years come next May, and my husband and I have a great relationship," the 74-year-old told People in 2018. "I always joke and laugh when people ask me what's the key to my long marriage and lasting love. I always say ‘Stay gone!’ and there’s a lot of truth to that. I travel a lot, but we really enjoy each other when we’re together and the little things we do."

"We've been together most of our lives. He doesn’t care what I wear as long as I’m happy," she added — though she goes out of her way to get dolled up for her man, even still. "He loves me the way I am."

The two met when Parton was just 18 years old. "When I met my husband, he wanted to take me out to dinner," recalled the country icon, who renewed her vows with Dean four years ago. "He pulled up to the drive-in window and got our food at McDonald's."

"We know a few little places we can go without being bothered. He only likes to go places where he can be comfortable!" she said, speaking of how things haven't changed.

And while the couple never had children during their marriage, it is something that Parton has been able to get used to through the years.

"Now that I’m older, I realize I didn’t have kids of my own, so everybody’s kids could be mine," she said. Parton's Imagination Library has donated more than 100 million books to children through the years. "I [want to] empower children and give them confidence."

Parton and her husband have had plenty of time together during the coronavirus COVID-19) pandemic, and she joked during an appearance on the Today show in early April that they "may not make it until the next anniversary" due to all the enforced togetherness..

"The reason it worked for me is because I've stayed gone. I can't get away now," she quipped. "I'm stuck there now. I might find out who he is."

Hello, Dolly! See Dolly Parton Through the Years

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