- Dolly’s husband, Carl, is almost as mysterious as Jolene
- They met 50 years ago and have been married for 48 years
- The couple have only been photographed together three or four times
- Over the years it has often been rumoured and denied that Dolly is a lesbian
- The singer has always denied claims about her and Judy Ogle her assistant
Published: 19:37 EST, 30 June 2014 |
Dolly Parton famously pleaded with Jolene, the woman in the song, not to steal her man ‘just because you can’.
Jolene had ‘beauty beyond compare’ and ‘flaming locks of auburn hair with ivory skin and eyes of emerald green’ — in short, a femme fatale of the most dangerous kind, against whom even the ravishingly pretty Dolly was unable to compete.
Dolly later explained that the inspiration for Jolene was a young woman who worked as a teller at the local bank with whom her husband, Carl Dean, had become infatuated.
Dolly Parton famously pleaded with Jolene, the woman in the song, not to steal her man ¿just because you can¿
Dolly could only watch, powerless, as Carl frequently popped down to the bank for a glimpse of Jolene — leaving his wife to worry at home.
What a difference nearly 50 years of marriage makes.
On stage at Glastonbury on Sunday, Dolly talked again about Jolene and said that when she sees her ageing, greying husband slumbering in his chair, she often thinks how much she’d like to ring up Jolene and ask her if she still wants to steal her husband.
Dolly, 68, was joking, of course (one assumes).
But she owes Jolene quite a debt, for not only did the latter restrain herself from running off with Carl, she also provided inspiration for what is still Dolly’s most popular song, proving more of a crowd-pleaser than I Will Always Love You and 9 To 5.
At Glastonbury, Dolly told the audience that she wondered where Jolene was, because she would like to thank her for making her so rich (her fortune is estimated at about £260 million).
But Jolene remains an enigmatic figure. Who is she, and where might she be now?
Tracking her down wouldn’t be easy. Dolly wrote the song in 1973 and never specified the bank where Jolene worked, although it was probably in the Nashville area, where Dolly and Carl have lived for most of their married life.
Jolene isn’t her real name, either. It was the name of an eight-year-old with ‘beautiful green eyes’ who once asked Dolly for her autograph.
Recalling the ‘Jolene’ who tried to come between her and Carl, who then ran an asphalt-laying company, Dolly said: ‘He just loved going to the bank because she paid him so much attention.
It was kinda like a running joke between us — when I was saying: “Hell, you’re spending a lot of time at the bank. I don’t believe we’ve got that kind of money.” ’
Dolly’s husband, Carl, is almost as mysterious as Jolene.
They met 50 years ago and have been married for 48 years but only photographed together on three or four occasions — and one of those was their wedding day in 1966.
This paucity of sightings has led to speculation that Carl, 72, doesn’t exist and is about as real as Dolly’s surgically enhanced bust.
Yet it was reported a few months ago that Dolly and Carl were planning to renew their marriage vows on May 30 this year.
Yesterday, however, the singer’s publicist said he ‘didn’t know’ if the ceremony had taken place.
Indeed, over the years it has often been rumoured — and denied —that Dolly is a lesbian and that her long-term lover is Judy Ogle, a red-haired former schoolfriend who works as her personal assistant.
The singer has always denied the claims about her and Judy.
In a newspaper interview last month, she quashed one rumour: that she was not renewing her vows with Carl but ‘marrying’ Judy in a commitment ceremony.
‘Let me tell you this right now,’ she said. ‘Judy and I are not lovers, we have never been.
‘They write these things in magazines, just like yours, talking about how Judy and I are getting married and my husband’s OK with it.
‘But if they really want the true story, it’s the most beautiful story ever. It’s the story of true, true friendship, of two little girls who’ve been together since third grade.
‘I’m very fortunate to have a friend like that, and I wish everyone else did. But it’s always kind of embarrassing and it hurts your feelings when people try to dirty up something that’s really so pretty.’
She told another interviewer: ‘It doesn’t upset me but it upsets and embarrasses Judy and her family.
‘I say to her: “Which would you prefer: being called an old maid or a lesbian?” And she says lesbian every time!’
Confusingly, there are also rumours that Dolly is mad about men and it is has been claimed —and denied again — that her lovers have included actors Sylvester Stallone and Burt Reynolds.
Dolly says she and Carl laugh about it. ‘Sometimes he goes to the grocery store and he sees a magazine with some story about me. He’ll bring it home and say: “I see you’re having Burt Reynolds’s baby again”.
‘He has seen so much of it over the years. He’s not jealous and I’m not jealous of him. He knows I flirt. He flirts, too. Yes, it’s an open relationship, but not sexually and I would kill him if I thought he was doing that. He would shoot me, too. At the end of the day, we love each other madly.’
Carl, with whom Dolly lives on their large estate outside Nashville, in a handsome 23-room property at the end of a long drive, has not accompanied her on her UK tour.
‘He doesn’t like flying,’ she says, ‘and he doesn’t like crowds.
‘Listen, he’s a homebody. He’s more than happy keeping the fields mowed, the barns painted and working on his farm equipment.’
The couple both love animals, and when they were younger kept horses, cattle and yard dogs.
Dolly’s Glastonbury performance was seen by 80,000 people and she was widely agreed to be the star turn, despite claims that she mimed. Even the security guards did a special dance during her songs.
Yesterday, Dolly was resting before heading to Nottingham to perform at the Capital FM Arena, the last concert in her UK tour.
At 68, it’s not quite right to say that she is enjoying a renaissance because she has stayed at the top of her game for 40 years. But Glastonbury was still a defining moment in an incredible career.
Dolly was the fourth of 12 children brought up by ‘dirt poor’ parents on a farm in Sevier County, Tennessee.
Her father, a tobacco farmer, paid the doctor who helped to deliver her with a bag of oatmeal.
Her grandfather was a preacher, and Dolly’s earliest performances were in church. As a child, she also sang on local radio and television.
Fifty years ago, aged 18, she took the bus 200 miles to Nashville to try her luck in the country music business.
It is said that she met Carl Dean outside a launderette the same day.
Her talent was quickly recognised and she became a star. Yet Dolly has spoken of the untoward attention she received from music executives in the early days.
‘I never slept with anyone to get ahead,’ she said. ‘It didn’t take long for them to realise I wasn’t there to sell my body, but because my work was worthy.’
It certainly didn’t damage her career. She has sold more than 100 million albums, won eight Grammy awards and starred in several films, including 9 To 5 and Steel Magnolias.
From the start, she went for a look that she told the Glastonbury audience was based on a hooker who used to hang around her home in Tennessee.
But the image is deceptively high-maintenance. As she once famously said: ‘It costs a lot of money to look this cheap.’
She continues to battle against any signs of ageing. ‘If I see something saggin’, baggin’ or draggin’ I’ll have it nipped, tucked or sucked!’ she told one interviewer.
Nowadays she says she doesn’t go in for much surgery, but keeps up the Botox and collagen injections.
She is equally upfront about her use of wigs and once said: ‘People ask how long it takes to do my hair. I don’t know. I’m never there.’
In 2012, on The Graham Norton Show, actress Jennifer Saunders said: ‘I was in a restaurant with Roseanne Barr. Dolly was there and talking about tattoos. She winked at us and said “this will go no further”, then undid her top and there were her t*** and she has the most exquisite tattoos — angels and butterflies.’
Dolly looks terrific. But how does she look without wigs and make-up?
‘Well . . . hell. Like most women when they’re not done up.’
Yet Dolly is a contradiction. Behind the outward frivolity is a woman of deep religious faith, who says her Christianity pulled her through a dark time in the Eighties when she had a partial hysterectomy and realised she would never have the children she’d longed for.
‘Sometimes God just has to smack you down,’ she said recently.
Dolly’s day begins at 3am when she reads scriptures and meditates, which, she says, ‘helps me stay connected and anchored’.
Over the past few years, she has acquired new teenage fans, partly on account of being Miley Cyrus’s godmother (she is a good friend of Miley’s father, Billy Ray Cyrus).
She owns a theme park, Dollywood, in Tennessee, a water park and a restaurant chain. She also co-owns a film and TV library.
She shows no sign of slowing down. ‘Oh, I dream new dreams every day,’ she said last month.
‘I’m doing my life story as a musical and I’d like to see my life story on screen. I’d like to do more movies. I want to have my own cosmetics company, sell my own make-up, wigs, hair ornaments, jewellery. I’d love to do a children’s show.’
Once a year, her husband drives to Dollywood and buys a ticket.
‘Because he just wants to meander around on his own and see what we’ve done. He doesn’t want to be singled out and asked questions — that’s not him.
‘That’s why we’ve been together for 50 years this month.’
‘You could have your choice of men but I could never love again. He’s the only one for me, Jolene,’ Dolly wrote more than 40 years ago.
And despite the jokes, rumours and gossip, she clearly meant every word.Tags: actor, actress, concert, film, movie, music, singer, television, tour, tv