Iconic country music singer Dolly Parton was thrown into the spotlight from the age of 10 and has somehow managed to keep her marriage private.

The 76-year-old has been married for 55 years to Carl Dean – but he is never seen with her.

Appearing on the International Women’s Day episode of “The Kelleigh Bannen Show” on Apple Music Country, Dolly wanted to explain her reasoning for keeping her most important relationship so closely guarded.

“I learned early on. And I think my mama told me when I was young, ‘Always keep something back for you. You can give what you’ve got to give, but don’t give it all away. Always keep something for you’,” she said.

Dolly said the extent of keeping her and her husband’s life private saw many questioning whether he was real or not.

“It’s just not who he is. 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,” she previously told Entertainment Tonight in 2020.

Always one to keep her fans on her toes, however, eventually Dolly shared a throwback image of the couple for Thanksgiving in November 2021.

Then on Valentine’s Day 2022, Dolly once again uploaded a throwback photo of Carl kissing her on the cheek.

“I’ve known how to keep my husband private. It’s just natural to me to protect the things and the people I love and to protect my own privacy,” she continued.

“There’s a part that belongs to God and to me. It’s a sacred place that just is mine and God’s, and I’ve known how to do that because I think God has directed that.

“I pray that also that God will give me enough to share and enough to spare when it comes to my money but also to myself. Let me share everything I can but let me keep me.”

Image: Instagram

This article first appeared on OverSixty.