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Dolly Parton Says She Finds ‘Little Ways’ to Keep Romance Alive With Husband Carl Dean After More Than 50 Years (Exclusive)

A recipe for love. Dolly Parton knows the secret to keeping the romance alive with husband Carl Thomas Dean after 56 years of marriage.

“You find little ways,” the 76-year-old country superstar exclusively told Us Weekly on Wednesday, January 26, while promoting her new Dolly Parton x Duncan Hines line ahead of its March launch. “Like last year on his birthday, I dressed up in my Playboy bunny suit, made him breakfast and [ran] around in that for a little while.”

Related: Dolly Parton and Husband Carl Dean's Relationship Timeline

“You know, most people can keep a marriage [going strong] if you make a little effort,” the “Jolene” songstress said. “Some people just get slouching and lazy and about stuff that ain’t important, like leaving the toilet seat up. And if that’s the worst thing you’ve to worry about, you’re already in trouble.”

Dolly Parton Says She Finds ‘Little Ways’ to Keep Romance Alive with Husband Carl Dean
Dolly Parton and Carl Dean. Courtesy of Dolly Parton/Instagram

Parton and Dean, 79, tied the knot in 1966. While Parton said that “feeding him good” generally keeps her husband, ultimately she and Dean just have a “good time” together.

“We’re the perfect partners,” the 9 to 5 star told Us. “We both have great sense of humor. … We’re able to, like, solve any problems and any situation, making a joke about it and not letting it get too heavy, but we respect each other and we like each other. We lucked up, let’s put it that way.”

The “Here You Come Again” singer likes to celebrate her decades-long love story on Valentine’s Day by wearing “some little fun” outfit and showering Dean in presents. “I always wear some heart-shaped something and I always get him several Valentine’s cards,” Parton revealed. “You know, cause when you start looking for cards, you find so many and you want ’em all.”

The Grammy winner added that she always looks out for sweetheart candies around February 14, telling Us, “Throughout the day, I’ll throw him a different one.”

Dolly Parton Says She Finds ‘Little Ways’ to Keep Romance Alive with Husband Carl Dean
Dolly Parton AFFI/Shutterstock

Even when it’s not Valentine’s Day, the Songteller author demonstrates her love for Dean and their friends in the kitchen.

Related: Celebrities Who Fell in Love With Non-Famous People

“When I’m in the kitchen, I’m able to be cooking anything,” she said, adding that — “whether it be fried chicken or chicken and dumplings” — she has a soft spot for classic Southern dishes. And of course, you always have to have a good cake or something sweet to end a good meal.”

Inspired by her love of Southern cooking, the Steel Magnolias star is teaming up with Duncan Hines to launch her very own Dolly Parton x Duncan Hines line of cake mixes and frostings in March. While the baking collection kits — which feature flavors like banana pudding and coconut cake — are currently sold out, Parton shows off her prowess in the kitchen as often as she can.

Related: Celebrities in the Kitchen: Stars Who Love to Cook!

“I’m the better cook, but [Carl] actually can cook pretty good,” the philanthropist told Us, adding that “every once in a while” she’ll let her husband lend a hand. “I’ve been gone so much [that] he had to [learn to] cook, but he actually does pretty good. He knows how to cook the things he likes, but he loves my cooking better.

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