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Parton' ways Dolly Parton: 'The reason our marriage has lasted so long is because I stay gone and we're not in each other's face'

She may be 74, but there’s no slowing down Dolly Parton as she releases her 47th album.


Country singer Dolly Parton. Photo: Getty Images

Country singer Dolly Parton. Photo: Getty Images

Country singer Dolly Parton. Photo: Getty Images

It's a spot usually reserved for Mariah Carey, but this year, superstar Dolly Parton is spreading some much needed cheer in time for holiday season.

With all the talk of Christmas being cancelled, Magazine+ can't think of a more positive role model than the tiny singer to get us through the festive season we are determined to enjoy.

For the first time in 30 years, the queen of country music is releasing a festive album in the hope of lifting some spirits.

A Holly Dolly Christmas features some timeless festive classics, alongside original compositions and duets with stars such as Miley Cyrus, Michael Buble, Willie Nelson and Dolly's own brother, Randel Parton.

Originally planned for release in 2017, the album is Dolly's 47th solo studio release of a stellar career. The 74-year-old icon has conquered music and movies, although right now, she'd be happy to beat lockdown and mix with her friends and fans again. Here, Dolly talks about her long marriage, her festive memories and what she really wants for Christmas - an end to the global Covid crisis.

Q: Is it true that you came up with I Will Always Love You and Jolene in one 24-hour period?

DP: "Yeah. We were going through my vaults and my boxes of tapes and we found a cassette, and both of those songs were back-to-back on there. At the time, you write and you don't what's going to be a hit and what is not going to be a hit, so I was shocked that both of those songs were written the same day - or it could have been the same night. That was a really good night!"

Q: You have been married for more than 50 years to Carl Thomas Dean. What advice do you have for keeping a relationship strong?

DP: "I have been married for 54 years this year. That's a long time. It's more than a lot of people live! My husband and I have always had a great friendship. We're both funny. We both have a great, warped sense of humour, so we always have a good time. He's pretty much a loner and a homebody, and I'm a gypsy, but when I am home, I love it. We don't do the same thing, so it gives us different stuff to talk about. He doesn't get involved in my business and I don't get involved in his.

"We have our own little world that we create for ourselves. I have always joked that the reason our marriage has lasted so long is because I stay gone! Well, there's a lot of truth in that. We are not in each other's face all the time. I think there is a lot to be said about having some sensible separation."


Dolly with husband Carl Thomas Dean

Dolly with husband Carl Thomas Dean

Dolly with husband Carl Thomas Dean

Q: Looking back over your career up to now, what are you most proud of?

DP: "I'm proud of everything I have ever done. If you can dream, you can have it. That's one of my Dolly-isms, but you can't just dream it. It ain't going to happen unless you put legs, wings, feet on it. You have got to make it happen. Dreams can come true and I'm a prime example of that. I'm proud of everything and you can be too."

Q: What are you looking forward to doing when we get through this global crisis?

DP: "I just want to get out with my friends. I want to go and eat and I want to go down to the seashore. I want to be able to just have fun, to be free again and to get back to being living people. We will get through it. Everything has to pass. There may be some harder days still, but I try to keep the faith, be aware, be smart and stay safe.

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We all have to hope and pray for the best.

Right now, we just have to live our lives the best way we can and know it's going to be good again - it's going to be better than it ever was. I know it."


Dolly peforms with her god-daughter Miley Cyrus

Dolly peforms with her god-daughter Miley Cyrus

Dolly peforms with her god-daughter Miley Cyrus

Q: Everyone is excited about your new Christmas album. What is your favourite Christmas memory?

DP: "I have so many wonderful Christmas memories, most with my family back in the [Great] Smoky Mountains. We lived in a cabin up in the woods and we didn't have all of the store-bought stuff that people buy these days. My dad would always take us out in the woods to cut the tree and I just remember us having so much fun making our own Christmas ornaments. Mama would tell us the story of Christmas and would be cooking. I have so many wonderful memories of that time."

Q: Do you have a favourite Christmas song?

DP: "I love all of the Christmas songs. I can't say I have a favourite. I just love singing all of those songs where everybody gets in on it together."

Q: What can you tell us about including Circle of Love on the album?

DP: "That's a song that we did when we did the Christmas of Many Colours [film] following my movie, Coat of Many Colours. People have just come to love it. It looks like it might be one of those songs that lives through the years as one of the good Christmas standards. I would love that to happen. I have always wanted to write a Christmas standard where everybody wanted to sing it."

Q: How did Jimmy Fallon end up on the album?

DP: "I was on his show a couple of years ago around Christmas, and he asked me to sing All I Want for Christmas. I felt so bad because I didn't know it, so I went and learned it. Then, when I was just going to put it on my album, I thought it would be fun to ask Jimmy sing it with me. I love it."

Q: Is there a particular song or album that you turn to in difficult times?

DP: "I usually don't listen to music like that; I try to write it and create things that I think people would like. Not only is it my therapy to be able to write songs, but it's seeing and hearing what other people are going through and what they feel. I really try to write what I think everybody is going through right now. I've come up with some wonderful things that I really feel people will need to hear."

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