Dolly Parton says the key to making her relationship work is having "respect" for one another.

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton

The 71-year-old country music legend has been married to Carl Dean for an impressive 51 years, and although her spouse is rarely seen with her publicly, the beauty insists they are "compatible" for one another, and says their ability to be "best friends" has helped them stay strong for over five decades.

Asked what her relationship secrets are, the '9 to 5' hitmaker told Notebook magazine: "I tell you, my husband and I have a lot of respect for each other, we're compatible for one thing, we have a great sense of humour and we get along very well. We're not in each other's faces so much that we get sick of one another, and any time we feel like that, well, we go and find something else to do. He loves showbiz, but he doesn't want to be part of it. I think being best friends has had a lot to do with our longevity."

Dolly's relationship with Carl is said to be an "open" one, and the 'Jolene' hitmaker previously revealed that she hit a low point when an affair she had with an unnamed man came to an end.

The star admitted she contemplated taking her own life by shooting herself after the secret relationship, but was stopped by her pet pooch Popeye, who came running into the room when she lifted the firearm out of her bedside drawer.

Writing in her book 'Dolly on Dolly', she said: "I was sitting upstairs in my bedroom one afternoon when I noticed in the night-stand drawer my gun that I keep for burglars. I looked at it a long time. Then, just as I picked it up, just to hold it and look at it for a moment, our little dog Popeye came running up the stairs. The tap-tap-tap of his paws jolted me back to reality and I suddenly froze. I put the gun down. Then I prayed. I kinda believe Popeye was a spiritual messenger from God."

Although she's convinced her little Boston Terrier ultimately saved her life, she doesn't think she would have gone through with the suicide anyway.

She explained: "I don't think I'd have done it, killed myself, but I can't say for sure. Now that I've gone through that terrible moment, I can certainly understand the possibilities even for someone solid like me if the pain gets bad enough."

Tagged in