In 2015, Reba McEntire was devastated when she received the news that changed her life. Reba was already having a hard time with all the things that she was going through, but it got even worse when she received more details about the news. This country musician has been in the industry for years already and has been used to all the attention, but she was not prepared for what was to come for her.
These Trying Times
Reba’s husband, Narvel Blackstock, filed for a divorce after 26 years of being married together. Reba was devastated when she received the news and learned the reason behind the separation. During an interview, Reba shared that she had nothing to do with the divorce and was not the one to file it. In the past, she always shared how much she loves her husband and that he was not only a lover to her, but was her best friend as well.
A New Chapter
Reba and Narvel first met in 1980 when he was playing the steel guitar for her band. Years later, Narvel became her manager, which is why the two became closer to each other. He was the one there for her when Reba needed emotional support when she got a divorce from her husband at that time. This also when the two realized that they wanted to be more than just friends.
Tying The Knot
After years of dating, the two finally decided to tie the knot in 1989. The married couple took over the music industry together and even started their own management company called Starstruck. When they got married, Reba became the stepmother to Narvel’s children. A year after the marriage Reba gave birth to the first child Shelby. If you’ll think of it, it seems like that everything was fine in their family, but it was not always easy for Reba.
Born And Raised In The Countryside
On March 28, 1955, Reba was born in McAlester, a small town in Oklahoma. Reba and her siblings were all raised in a family’s ranch, where they all helped their parents with various tasks like cooking, cleaning, and taking care of cattle.
Successful Life Lessons
At an early age, Reba already learned how important it is to work hard and to help with the family’s business. It was evident that these lessons paved her way to the success she gained in her present life.
Ranch And Rodeo Reba
Back in the day, Reba’s mother, Jacqueline, also had her dreams of being a country musician. However, she could not live up to her desire; instead, she ended up becoming a teacher in a school in their community. While her father and grandfather were both working as rodeo steer ropers.
Fun fact! Did you know that as early as the age of five, Reba learned to drive so that she could with her family with the ranch? Cool, right? Aside from that, Reba would also drive her father’s truck as he loaded bales of hay for the cattle during the wintertime.
A Family Of Singers
Reba’s love for music started when their mother introduced them to country music. So ever since they were young they already loved music and singing. Reba first performed in a big crowd when she was in first grade, it was during their Christmas play when she sang “Away in a Manger.” The children were even named as the Singing McEntries because they were famous for their love for singing and joining contests. From time to time, Reba would be requested to sing the national anthem for rodeo competitions, and would sometimes perform for the local radio station.
Becoming Miss Ford Country
Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, and Patsy Cline are just some of the female artists that Reba looked up to growing up. What she did not expect was that she’ll be able to surpass all of them and become the best selling female country musician! She was only 16 when she won as Miss Ford Country. Winning the contest gave her a chance to drive a new Ford truck for 6 months. She shared that she hit 18,000 miles before she gave the truck back.
The Family That Sings Together
The siblings started performing at local bars, dance halls, local rodeos and honky-tonks as the Singing McEntires. They even recorded a song named after their grandpa entitled “ The Ballad of John McEntire”; and made thousands of copies of the record! Aside from that, the Singing McEntire also made two major hits that were played by local radio stations around Oklahoma, but the group also performed the hits live from time to time.
A Lesson For A Lifetime
There was this one night when the family was on their way to another gig when Reba told her mother that she wanted to invite everybody in the dance hall to attend church on Sunday. But her mother’s answer was a lesson that Reba still carries up to this day. Her mother asked Reba what made her think that the same people do not go to church. During an interview, Reba shared that it was at that moment that she learned a powerful lesson. She learned that it is not right to judge other people especially when you don’t know them.
Wanted To Be Like Her Mother
After graduating from high school, Reba enrolled herself at the Southeastern Oklahoma State University and took up education and minored in music. Every time Reba had free time and would take a break from studying, she would spend her time making music. Being in college did not stop Reba from doing gigs; when given the opportunity, she would go to local bars to perform and sing. Also, did you know that she was classmates with Garth Brooks in college? Originally, Reba also wanted to be a teacher just like her mom, but there will always be instances that you would be put on a path far from what you’ve planned.
Life-Changing Rodeo Performances
Her life changed entirely in 1974. At the time, she got a job to sing the national anthem for the National Rodeo in Oklahoma City. This was how country music star Red Steagall discovered the extraordinary young woman. He was performing at the same venue on that day and was blown away by Reba’s singing skills. He helped her start her very own country music career in Nashville. She created a demo tape and signed a record deal with Mercury Records only a year later.
Her First Marriage
As mentioned earlier, Reba was married to a different guy before Narvel. Her first husband was Charlie Battles. The two got married in 1976, the same year that her music career blossomed. It was also in 1976 when Reba released her debut single, I Don’t Wanna Be a One night Stand. However, the single only reached the 88th spot on Billboard’s country charts. The next singles that she released were also not that big of a hit, but that didn’t stop Reba from making music. Finally, in 1979, Reba hit the 19 spots of the charts when she made a cover of Sweet Dreams by Patsy Cline.
First Time At The Grand Ole Opry
In 1977 Reba was invited to sing at the Grand Ole Opry; which she accepted since it was her first time to perform there. When she made it to the venue, the guards at the gates won’t allow her in because according to them, her name was not on the list. After the time of arguing, the guard tried to check again and that’s when she finally saw her name. Imagine the hassle all that caused her? When she was finally able to get in the venue, the producers told her that they had to shorten her time to make way for Dolly Parton. Wonder what Reba felt when they told her that.
Her Real Big Break
Reba’s song finally hit the top spot! This happened after she released her fifth album called Unlimited in 1983. After realizing that she did not like how her current handler lacks creative control on her career and how they kept forcing her to make country-pop ballads, Reba left Mercury. A year after that, Reba signed a contract with MCA Nashville Records and released an album under them called Just a Little Love.
At Long Last
Even though her career was getting successful, it was still not enough for her. However, she was lucky enough to be able to exercise full creative control with a new album that is filled with her previously released single. Two of her songs from her album “Kind of Country” were able to hit the top charts. And finally, Reba was happy with where she was at in her career.
New Interest In Acting
During the late ‘80’s McEntire was a music video pioneer. Aside from just singing her songs, she also likes transforming her music video into theatrical productions. Some critics even compared her music videos to short films. Working with her music videos made her want to try acting. And if you know Reba, you also know that when she wants to do something, she makes sure to achieve it. However, she did not realize that there was more that’s about to come to her.
A Dream Come True
Reba was finally able to achieve her dream when she made her on-screen debut in the 1990 flicks, Tremors. The movie was about a giant underground worm-monsters. Fun fact, she even postponed her honey with Narvel just to finish filming the movie! During an interview, she shared that she enjoyed filming the movie, but her co-star Kevin Bacon did not share the same sentiment and even called it a “low point” in his career. However, it did not seem to bother Reba since she was in the process of reaching her dreams.
Trouble In Paradise
Even though Reba’s career was starting to take off and she was slowly achieving her dreams, it was damaging her relationship and marriage with her then-husband, Charlie. All he wanted to be was for her to spend more time with him and help out in the house, but instead, she was always on the road. Ever since then, it has always been the cause of their arguments until they finally decided to get a divorce in 1987. When asked during an interview, the only thing that Reba had to say was that she immediately packed her stuff and left; that she wasn’t a little girl anymore who would be bossed around by someone, especially when her career was finally starting to blossom.
Reba was at the pick of her career when a disaster happened. Her bandmates rented a plane going to perform when the plane they were riding crashed into a mountain near San Diego. Unfortunately, no one survived the plane crash and all of her band members were in that plane. When the tragedy happened, Reba was staying in a nearby hotel sleeping soundly. Imagine how shocking it was for her when she learned about the news. During an interview, she said that it was like losing a member of a family. Some of the bandmates that died have been with her for several years.
An Album For The People She Lost
Reba dedicated her sixteenth album to her bandmates that died in the tragedy. She called it “For My Broken Heart.” Most of the songs that were in the album were about longing for someone and emptiness. The album became one of her top-selling albums and sold more than four million copies.
The Red Dress That Went Down In History
Reba attended the CMA awards and took home Grammy and CMA awards for her work on Does He Love You. Aside from the awards she got, what caught the attention of the crowd was the sexy red dress she was wearing. The people in the event were in awe the moment that Reba went up the stage. Now the dress is displayed at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
A Country Music Pioneer
Country music rarely discusses the topic of AIDS, as some people consider it to be taboo. However, Reba McEntire was not like her peers. In 1994, she released the album Read My Mind, which contained her controversial song titled She Thinks His Name Was John. It narrated the story of a woman who got AIDS after a drunken one-night stand. It was one of her works that proved she was a groundbreaking musician who was not afraid to make social commentary with her art. She did not shy away from talking about other controversial subject matters like domestic abuse, illegal immigration, neglect of the elderly, and mercy killing.
A Rough Patch
After the release of her 19th album, her music career was slowly crashing. Actually, she did not create new materials for the album, but only collated original recordings of the ones she liked most. The album was meant to commemorate Reba’s 20th years being in the industry. However, the album did not get positive feedback from critics and only one song hit the top 10 charts. What’s important is how Reba managed to turn everything around in just a year.
What Could Have Been
Even though her album did not receive excellent feedback from critics, she was still invited by James Cameron to appear in Titanic. However, Reba had to pull out from the project due to scheduling conflicts. According to Reba, the producers kept moving her schedule. She wanted to join the crew so severely, but she could not cancel booked shows with sold tickets.
Starring As A Socialite
She was supposed to play as Molly Brown in the film. It was an iconic part and the one who got it after Reba was Kathy Bates. Titanic grossed more than 2 billion dollars all over the world!
Climbing To The Top Again
Reba released her 20th album called What If It’s You in 1997. The album was a hit that it was considered to be her epic comeback. A lot of the songs from the album hit the Billboard charts. Also, did you know that she donated everything that she earned from the album to the Salvation Army? A lot of people admired her for what she did.
Going On The Broadway Stage
The album she released in 2001 was called the Greatest Hits Vol. 3: I’m a Survivor. The Album came with three more hit singles. Aside from that, Reba also starred in a Broadway production entitled “Annie Get Your Gun”
The Best Performance
The New York Times hailed her performance as the best performance by an actress in a musical comedy season. Annie Get Your Gun was about a fictional version of Annie Oakley, a famous sharpshooter from the Wild West. However, her acting career did not end there, it was just the start for her.
A Self-Titled TV Show
After her Broadway performance, Reba fell more in love with acting. Soon enough, she started accepting television projects too. It was 2001 when Reba appeared in a self-titled sitcom about a fancy single mom. The sitcom premiered on WB and later on became the most high-rated show on WB. Reba even earned a Golden Globe award for the show.
Appearing On The Small Screen
Originally, the main character of the sitcom was supposed to be called Sally, but Reba managed to convince the producers to use her name instead. She thought that using her name would convince her loyal fans to watch the sitcom and support her.
Stronger Than Before
Even though she was now into acting, McEntire still did not forget about her music career. She made a spectacular comeback when she released her 76th single in 2003. Also, the moment that her 23rd album was released, it reached the top charts. In 2007, Reba was hailed for being the female artist that has the most nominations in CMA history. Could you believe that? She surpassed Dolly Parton! A year after that, she started touring with her fellow country musician Kelly Clarkson.
The Small Screen Again
In 2011, Reba went back to acting and appeared on ABC’s Malibu Country. She played the role of Reba Gallagher who is a divorced mother of two. And just like her role in the sitcom, she also discovered that her husband has been cheating on her.
In the sitcom, her character gets the Malibu house as a settlement for the divorce and then her character attempts to start again with her music career. The series got mixed viewers, but it still was considered as their top-rated comedy show in 2012. However, after 18 episodes, they decided to discontinue the sitcom.
A New Phase
In 2008, after Reba recorded her single Cowgirls Don’t Cry, she earned her 56th top 10. It ended up breaking the record as the most top 10 hits of any female country music artist. The record was previously held by Dolly Parton. In the same year, she also announced that she was leaving the record label. After that, she signed a deal with the Valory Music Group.
Reba’s Alleged Death
In 2012, news about her supposed death started circulating. Stories claim that the artist fell off a cliff while filming in Austria. The news spread pretty quickly and broke the hearts of her fans. As soon as her sister heard about the news, it immediately called her. Eventually, the rumor was put to an end when she confirmed that she was alive. She even posted about it on a social media site saying that things like this should never be joked about.
Her Biggest Fan
The musician was to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame when her father fell into a coma and was then stroked. On October 23, 2014, her father died. Reba was so close to her father and said that it was her biggest fan. For sure Reba was bereaved due to the death of her father.
Country Music Hall of Fame
Reba made the video Just Like Them Horses, which she dedicated to his father. The music video was even shot at their family’s property in Chockie, Oklahoma. She also shared how her father was her biggest fan.
The Home Of Our Dreams
We are all aware that Reba worked hard to get where she is right now and is only right for her to enjoy the result of her efforts. With all that she earned throughout her career, Reva bought herself a 12,000 square foot mansion in Beverly Hills. The villa had seven beds, nine baths, a tennis court, a spa, and a swimming pool.
One Of The Priciest Sales
In 2015, Reba decided to sell the mansion. However, in 2009 she paid $9 million to get the mansion back, but an undisclosed buyer bought the property for a whopping $22.25 million! It was said to be the most expensive property in the area.
Nearly Lost Faith
Before Faith Hill got famous for being a country artist, she auditioned to be a backup singer for one of Reba’s tours. However, she did not get the position. It was Paula Kay Evans who died in a plane crash in 1991 that got the part
Interview By Larry King
During an interview with Larry King, Faith shared that she did not get the part because she was not yet that good at that time. If you come to think of it, it must’ve been chilling to think that she might not be here if she got the part. However, we are sad for those who died in the crash.
Fame In The Family
Narvel Blackstock was Kelly Clarkson’s manager. He was also the one who introduced Kelly to his son Brandon. Brandon Blackstock proposed to Kelly during the 2012 Super Bowl when Kelly was asked to sing the national anthem. The following year, the two tied the knot.
The Best Daughter-In-Law She Could Ask For
Kelly and Reba have toured in the past, so they must’ve been thrilled to be in one family. During an interview, Reba even shared how glad she was for Kelly to be a part of the family. “Imagine having your buddy as your daughter-in-law. I mean, who could ask for more?”, she said.
Wanting The Best For Everyone
During an interview, when Reba was asked about her divorce, she said that she would choose Narvel Blackstock without a doubt. For sure, at first, it was hard for Reba when she learned about the divorce. However, she said that she just wants everybody to be happy.
And that meant ending his 26-year marriage with Narvel. Reba thought that it was the best thing to do. To take her marble and play somewhere else, just like what his father used to say. However, she did not realize that her former husband’s way of moving on would hurt her so much.
Too Close To Home
The news about the couple’s divorce was just new when it came out that Narvel was dating someone new. He was not only dating, but he was dating Laura Putty Stroud. Laura is a known luxury real estate agent from Nashville and was Reba’s best friend! Imagine your old husband dating your old best friend? That must’ve been heartbreaking on Reba’s side.
Something Very Serious
Narvel and Laura even attended a Katy Perry concert. A close friend of the couple even described the relationship to be very serious. It was unclear when the couple started dating, but people were convinced that Narvel had been cheating on Reba while they were still married. How true do you think this is?
A Sticky Situation
As you can imagine, Kelly Clarkson found herself in the middle of a tough situation when the divorce happened. She was a great friend of Reba’s, but Narvel was the father of her husband. Reports say that Kelly tried to get them to remain together. Who knows, perhaps Kelly even worked to help the marriage stay intact for a longer time. Nonetheless, Reba and Narvel were allegedly living separately even years before the divorce became official. Despite all the heartbreak and pain, they remain supportive of each other.
Time To Move On
Narvel continued to be her manager, but for a year only after the divorce was finalized. After all, the two had been working together since 1988. In 2016, Rebe thought it was time for her to do things on her own. The same year, Reba launched her own managing company called Reba’s Business Inc.
Aside from that, she also started her brand that sells jewelry, beauty products, clothes, and home decor. With all the business that she started, the artist now has a net worth of $95 million. In 2017, Reba announced that she is now ready to test the waters again.
Passionate About Photos
If you are following her on her Instagram account, you’ll know how much the artist loves taking photos. She even shared with The Boot how much she likes her photos. Whenever she would go, she always made sure that she was able to take pictures of her or ask someone to take on for her.
Pals With Presidents
It is an undeniable fact how much a lovable person Reba is. She has this thing where she would get along with any person she meets. Most of her friends are famous personalities. She even shared about her friendship with 43rd President Of The United States, George W. Bush. Reba McEntire once mentioned, “We ‘re emailing each other on our Treos all the time — nothing political, just passing jokes back and forth. He’s in the email, and so are his friends. Senior Bush invited my husband [Narvel Blackstock] and me to the Greek Islands on a private cruise years ago. We became very good friends, and that is the beginning of the email stuff.
She Loves Shooting
Reba is no different from any regular country girl, so just like them, she also has a thing for guns and firing them. In an interview, she shared that she did not learn how to shoot a gun when she was only little. She only learned how to fire on when she took shooting lessons when she was doing a project.
A Different Kind Of Album
On February 3, 2017, Reba released her first-ever gospel album entitled “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope. The album came with two CDs, and one of them was more on the traditional side while the other one was full of her original songs.
Gospel Album In The Making
Reba shared that she got the idea of her gospel album from her ex-manager, Bill Carter. The gospel album was her 28th studio album, and it was full of her favorite songs from her previous albums. She also got inspiration from a hymn book that she had when she was younger.
The First Female Colonel Sanders
In January 2018, McEntire also entered the fast-food industry when she was cast as the first-ever female Colonel Sanders. The advertisement was to promote their new product called “Smoky Mountain BBQ.” In the commercial, you would see her singing while being decked out in the Colonel’s clothes.
Some may say that it was a strange idea, but she still got the part and did not even think twice about it. Reba even shared with reporters how privileged she felt to be offered to be the first female Kentucky Fried Chicken Colonel. That’s why she accepted the role immediately.
The Legacy Of A Country Music Icon
Reba has been in the industry since the ‘70s, and it seems like she has no plans on stopping any time soon! We may not know what the future has in store for her, but one thing is for sure. It’s going to be larger than life.
There’s a circulating rumor saying that Reba is soon to star in an upcoming TV show. The show was described to be a “southern gothic soap opera.” Although there are now confirmations to the rumors yet, we are hoping that it would exceed her works in the past. That may sound pressuring to her, but we are sure that she’ll exceed everybody’s expectations.