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Thursday, 12 April, 2001, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
Dylan's secret marriage uncovered
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan celebrates his 60th birthday next month
A former backing singer for Bob Dylan has spoken publicly for the first time about her secret marriage to the legendary singer and the child they have together.

Carol Dennis was married to Dylan for six years, from 1986 to 1992, and the couple have a daughter, Desiree Gabrielle Dennis-Dylan, who is now 15 years old.

To portray Bob as hiding his daughter is just malicious and ridiculous

Carol Dennis
The singer broke her silence following the publication of an unauthorized Bob Dylan biography by UK author Howard Sounes, which uncovered the details of their marriage for the first time.

Previous biographies have only referred to Dennis as Bob Dylan's girlfriend, while the existence of their daughter was a secret known only to a few in the music business.

No comment

"To portray Bob as 'hiding his daughter' is just malicious and ridiculous," Dennis said in a statement released by her publicist.

She said she and Dylan had agreed their daughter could take her father's last name - which she did two years ago - when she became mature enough to make her own decision.

Responding to the criticism, Sounes said he is pleased Dennis has confirmed his revelations, but added that he did not attempt to say that Dylan attempted to hide his child.

"What is true is that Dylan went to some lengths to keep his daughter's existence a secret," Sounes told BBC News Online.

"But he did put his name on her birth certificate, and in his private life, Bob Dylan has fully acknowledged his sixth child - and has supported her generously."

Sounes felt that the fact that friends and family knew all about Desiree-Gabrielle and that he "thanks" his daughter on an album sleeve were "clues" to her existence at any rate.

Dylan, who celebrates his 60th birthday at the end of May, has not commented on the biography.

'Active father'

"Bob and I made a choice to keep our marriage a private matter for a simple reason - to give our daughter a normal childhood," Dennis said in a statement released by her publicist.

She said the couple had exercised their right under Californian law to seal their marriage certificate from the media.

She added: "That is something he would never do. Bob has been a wonderful, active father to Desiree."

This is a very positive book, Dylan is a great man. I am only trying to tell the truth

Howard Sounes

Dennis said she was angry at suggestions that Dylan was forced to tour extensively in the 1990s to pay for a divorce settlement with her.

"To say that I got a huge settlement that forced Bob to do concert tours in the '90s is totally fictitious, irresponsible and hurtful," Dennis said.

In response Sounes said it is a fact that Dylan paid Dennis a substantial settlement following their divorce.

"Dylan renewed touring with extra vigour after the 1992 divorce - giving more concerts that year than at any time since his expensive first divorce from Sara Dylan in 1977," he said.

"But, as stated in the book, this was only part of his reason for touring."

Dennis sang backing vocals on many of Dylan's albums and has also worked with artists such as Stevie Wonder and Bruce Springsteen.

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