Dolly Parton Reveals Carl Dean’s Surprising Nicknames for Her

dolly parton speaks at a media event at dollywood in pigeon forge, tennessee

(photo by John Gullion/

Carl Dean has more than one cute nickname for his famous wife

Dolly Parton is known by a myriad of nicknames. Some nicknames reference her incredible career in country music, like the Leading Lady of Country and the Queen of Nashville. Other names refer to her East Tennessee roots, such as Smoky Mountain Songbird, Backwoods Barbie and Appalachian Queen. Additionally, she’s also known as The Book Lady for her charitable work in early childhood literacy. 

Dolly Parton has several other names given to her by the wider world. Some refer to her incredible career in country music. She’s also known as The Book Lady for her charitable work in early childhood literacy. To those closest to her, Dolly Parton is known best as Aunt Granny, PeeWee and The Q.

How Dolly Parton met her husband

When you’ve been married for 57 years and counting, you’re bound to have a couple of nicknames for one another. That’s certainly the case for Dolly Parton and her notoriously private husband, Carl Dean. In terms of personality, it’s clear that Dolly is a star and loves the spotlight. In contrast, Carl is private and has rarely made public appearances with his wife throughout her career. It’s not his jam. According to Dolly, he prefers to stay close to home. The pair provide support for the adage that opposites attract.

The couple first met shortly after she moved to Nashville at age 18. She was processing her laundry at a laundromat (relatable). He stopped to warn her about getting sunburned in her revealing outfit, which feels on brand. They began dating and married a few years later at a private ceremony in Ringgold, Georgia on Memorial Day weekend in 1966.

With the release of her 2023 Memoir “Behind the Seams: My Life in Rhinestones,” Dolly gave several interviews. On an “Access Hollywood” episode, she revealed not one, but TWO surprising nicknames given to her by her husband.

dolly parton during a parade at dollywood in pigeon forge, tennessee
Fans cheer on Dolly Parton during a parade at her theme park Dollywood (photo by Alaina O’Neal/

Carl Dean’s two nicknames for Dolly

Carl is tall with dark hair. Unlike her spouse, Dolly is short and well-known for her platinum blonde hair, which she’s worn in many different but always eye-catching styles over the years. With this in mind, both nicknames refer to Dolly’s physical appearance. First, Dolly revealed that her husband calls her the Q-tip. It is a reference to how disproportionately small she is compared to her signature voluminous hairstyles. Looking back at some of their pictures over the years, this makes total sense. Even when her hair is teased out, permed or piled high in an updo, Carl still towers over Dolly in photographs.

Similarly, Dolly shared that Carl Dean also calls her PeeWee. Both nicknames reference Dolly’s petite stature. I had to look this up to confirm, but sure enough, Dolly is only 5 feet tall. Meanwhile, at nearly 6 feet, Carl Dean has almost a whole foot on her!

dolly parton performs "I will always love you" in front of 50th anniversary logo
Dolly Parton performs “I Will Always Love You” at Dollywood during the 50th anniversary celebration (photo by Alaina O’Neal/

Other family nicknames for Dolly

Dolly was the fourth child of twelve born into her family. Although she never had any children of her own, she and Carl have been highly involved in the lives of her numerous nieces and nephews. Her siblings’ children have a special nickname of their own for the beloved singer: Aunt Granny. They call Carl Dean Uncle PeePaw. These monikers highlight the special role that Dolly and Carl Dean play in the lives of their younger family members.

What’s your favorite nickname for Dolly? Let us know in the comments!

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