Dolly Parton rode a passenger bus to Nashville from her hometown of Sevierville, Tenn., after graduating Sevier County High School in 1964 with the dream of being a country music star.
Parton had crammed dirty clothes in four Piggly Wiggly shopping bags, because that's all she could afford. When she got to town, she found the Wishy Washy Laundromat to do her laundry. She walked in and met her future husband Carl Dean.
The couple have been married for 48 years, but when Parton leaves for her European tour in a few weeks — as usual — Dean plans to stay home. Parton, who released her new album "Blue Smoke" last week, said their status quo is just fine with both of them.
"He wants to be left alone so he can sit ... at home and I can go out and make the money and he don't care," said the Country Music Hall of Famer. "As long as I leave him alone. It's a good gig for him. It's a good gig for me, too, because at least I don't have somebody breathing down my neck telling me to do this and do that."
Parton said that she and Dean have long phone calls while she is away to stay in touch and that he still sees her as the girl he met at the laundromat almost 50 years ago.
"I'm not a star to him," she said. "He's seen that I do all this stuff. He knows I'm a working girl. He's seen how hard I work. He knows how hard I work."
But when she's home, she's home. Parton said she's "managed to manage" her work-life balance "really well."
"My life is good," she said. "When I'm with my husband, I'm totally with him. We just have our life … I manage. You have to. This is what I do."
Her publicist Kirt Webster put it this way: "(Parton) came to this town 50 years for the purpose of having a music career. Her and her husband are still together and her and her music are still together."