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Dolly Parton has always described her husband as handsome, and Jane Fonda apparently agrees. While they were on set for Nine to Five, Parton’s husband, Carl Dean, dropped by. After a bit of flirtatious banter from Fonda, the two began discussing Parton. She said she was incredibly flattered by what her husband said about her.

Dolly Parton’s husband spoke highly about his wife 

Dean stopped by the Nine to Five set to visit his wife and to see Fonda. She had been his celebrity crush for years and he wanted to see her in person. They talked for a bit — Fonda apparently thought he was very good-looking — and the conversation eventually became about Parton.

“That day on the set, after talking to Carl, she came over to me and asked, ‘What did Carl mean when he said that you’re an angel?’ I didn’t know what he had said, but I was naturally dying to hear more,” Parton wrote in her book Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business. “Jane went on, ‘I was telling him how sweet you are and how easy you are to work with, and he said, “Well, she’s an angel.” I kinda laughed and said, ‘Yeah, she is.’ But he looked me right in the eye and said, ‘No, you don’t get it. She’s a real angel.’”

Dolly Parton wears a white shirt and sings into a microphone.
Dolly Parton | Andrew Putler/Redferns

Parton found his praise touching. She said it was flattering to know that her husband saw her in this light.

“I was flattered and honored that Carl thought that. It’s just like him to say it to somebody else, figuring I’ll never hear about it,” she wrote. “He sees me go through a lot, and I think he admires the way I handle it. I do depend on my angels and the angel spirits. We have to try to see through the eyes of God and find that part in people that is God. I don’t always succeed.”

Jane Fonda initially tried to flirt with Dolly Parton’s husband

While Fonda and Dean ended up talking about Parton, she initially wanted the conversation to go in a very different direction. 

“Jane and I had been looking, as girls do, at the different men on the set, saying who we thought was cute,” Parton wrote. “Jane sort of sighed and said, ‘I haven’t seen what I consider a really good-looking man in a long time.’ Then her eyes lit up. ‘Wait a minute,’ she grinned. ‘Here comes one now.’ Then she added in a kind of ‘I’m joking but will scratch your eyes out if you test me’ way, ‘And I saw him first.’”

The man was, of course, Dean. When Parton revealed that they had been married for years, Fonda nearly fell over with embarrassment. 

“Jane nearly died laughing from embarrassment,” Parton wrote. “Carl, of course, was flattered.”

Dolly Parton said Jane Fonda will always be special to her

Parton and Fonda have remained friends since they worked together on Nine to Five. While Parton rarely speaks out on politics, she has always supported Fonda’s activism.

“She was scheduled to appear at Dollywood a couple of years ago as a celebrity guest,’ she wrote. “That’s when I realized how prejudiced people still are about her. I understand how these people feel, but I also know Jane as a sincere person, a very professional woman, and a very, very special girl.”

Dolly Parton and Jane Fonda wear coats and embrace.
Dolly Parton and Jane Fonda | Chris Polk/FilmMagic

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She said Fonda will always have a place in her heart for giving her a chance.

“She gave me a great break on Nine to Five, and she was also very good to my sister Rachel when she gave her the part of Dora Lee in the TV series,” she wrote. “Jane will always be special to both of us.”