Dolly Parton debunks conspiracy theory that her husband of 54 years doesn't exist

Fans have speculated that Dolly Parton's husband, Carl Dean, isn't real.
Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton and Carl Dean have been married for over five decades.DollyParton.com
/ Source: TODAY

Dolly Parton and her husband Carl Dean have been married for 54 years — but some fans aren't convinced that Dean actually exists.

Parton, 74, discussed the odd conspiracy theory during a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight.

"A lot of people have thought that through the years, because he does not want to be in the spotlight at all," Parton said.

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The pair is very much married and in love: Parton says that the reason Dean is rarely seen is because he wants to stay out of the public eye.

"It's just not who he is," Parton said. "He's like, a quiet, reserved person and he figured if he ever got out there in that, he'd never get a minute’s peace and he's right about that."

"I've always respected and appreciated that in him and I've always tried to keep him out of the limelight as much as I can," she explained. "He said, 'I didn't choose this world, I chose you, and you chose that world. But we can keep our lives separate and together.' And we do and we have. We've been together 56 years, married 54."

Parton and Dean got married on May 30, 1966 and the couple have never had children, though Parton did help raise her siblings.

In previous interviews, Parton has joked that part of the secret behind her long-lasting marriage is because of that busy life.

"They say, 'How did it last 50 years?'" Parton said in a 2016 interview with TODAY. "I say, 'Forty-seven of those years I was gone.'"

In an April appearance on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna, Parton shared some hilarious advice about how to quarantine with someone who you might not see all the time.

"I would say if you're trapped in the house with him, you might want to be in separate rooms," Parton joked. "The reason it worked for me is because I've stayed gone. I can't get away now. I'm stuck there now. I might find out who he is. We may not make it until the next anniversary."

Despite the time they may spend apart, Parton says that they have always loved each other.

"We both are very crazy people, and we have a completely different sense of humor, but we just absolutely laugh all the time and that's been true through the years,'' she said. "I think there's a whole lot to be said about being good friends, but a good sense of humor, like even right now during these times, I've been making jokes about some of the stuff."