Dolly Parton marriage advice husband Gabby Barrett

Fans of country music legend Dolly Parton know that she and her beloved husband Carl Dean are a Hollywood rarity after 54 years of wedded bliss. So when Dolly recently sat down with rising country music artist Gabby Barrett, the icon dished some non-traditional – and somewhat surprising – marriage advice to the young newylwed.

As far as celebrity marriages go, Dolly Parton and her husband beat the odds. By a long shot. These days, 54 years of marriage is the gold standard for any couple. Just look at how they’ve grown together through the decades.

Dolly loves to share her secrets to success with anyone who will listen. Last year she playfully touted forgiveness and grace as keys to a successful marriage.

You’ve got to love her sass. But the 74-year-old megastar’s latest advice is really turning heads.

Dolly Parton Offers Marriage Advice To Gabby Barrett

In a new interview for PEOPLE magazine, Dolly sat down to chat with “American Idol” star Gabby Barrett. Twenty-year-old Barrett married former ‘Idol’ contestant Cade Foehner in October last year and is pregnant with her first child. 

During their intimate chat, Dolly Parton gave Barrett some marriage advice by sharing about her own union with husband Carl Dean.

To the young singer’s surprise, Dolly credits “sensible separation” and the concept that “opposites attract” as the key to their long-lasting marriage. 

“We’re both funny, and we both have a great and warped sense of humor so we’ve always had a good time,” said Parton. “He’s pretty much a loner and a homebody, and I’m a gypsy. But when I’m home, I love that. 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 in his, so we have our own little world that we create for ourselves.”

Dolly is known to be fiercely independent and she sees that an asset to her long-lasting marriage.

“I’ve always made jokes that the reason our marriage has lasted so long is because I stay gone. Well, there’s a lot of truth in that. We’re not in each other’s face all the time,” the “Jolene” singer added. “I think there’s a lot to be said about having some sensible separation because you can’t be with somebody 24/7, 365 and not want to smack their face now and then.”

They ‘Have Never Fought’

Parton also said that she and Dean, 78, “have never fought.”

Instead, she claimed that they choose to walk away if they get “pissy” with each other, only reconvening when they have each calmed down.

“Then if you get that worked out, smack him across the head,” Parton joked.

“Marriage is a business too, and you got to look at it like that,” she added to the young singer. “You got to make the right decisions for all the little things that come up.”

Related: Dolly Parton Wants To Be On The Cover Of Playboy For 75th Birthday

You can watch Dolly Parton share her sage advice with young Gabby Barett in the video below.

Dolly Parton Believes First Year Of Marriage Is ‘The Hardest’

Parton was empathetic to a newlywed like Barrett because she firmly believes that the first year of marriage is “the hardest.”

This is because both husband and wife are still trying to figure one another out in the first months of their marriage.

“That’s the year that you get the most rubbed wrong only because you’re having to share space with somebody you’ve never had to share your space with before,” Parton said. “Your habits are different than theirs so you got to work those little things out.”

What an invaluable experience for a young newlywed like Barrett to get advice from a country music legend who has been married for 54 years! God bless Parton for sharing her wisdom with Barrett, and with her millions of fans as well.

Read next: Dolly Parton Discusses Her Open Marriage And The ‘Affair’ That Left Her Feeling Suicidal

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