Reba McEntire is one of the greatest country musicians to walk the face of Earth. It took some time for her to earn that title, but she did it with style and grace. Throughout her lifetime, many life-changing obstacles have been set in her way. Through the trials, she became the best version of herself. Now, as she deals with the latest tribulation, how will Reba bounce back? You don’t want to miss out on this.
A Devastating Breakup
Imagine sharing your world with someone for 26 years. All your fears, insecurities, triumphs, and doubts are transferred to this one person. Ideas and feelings you would have never thought of sharing are now in someone else’s memory. You’ve given them a part of you.
Then one day, that person decides they can’t do it anymore. In 2015, Reba’s husband Narvel Blackstock elected to get a divorce. It was a shock. Reba told CMT that it was one-sided and she didn’t want it in “any shape, form or fashion.”
Blackstock and Reba were friends well before they tied the knot. The pair first met in 1980 while he was the steel guitar player for Reba’s band. 1987 rolled around and he became her manager and would also console her emotionally while she dealt with her first divorce.
Soon, they became close and the relationship grew romantic. Two years removed from becoming her manager, Blackstone and Reba were wed in 1989 on a boat in the middle of Lake Tahoe. They would go on to become a power couple.
Young Reba Learns Hard Work Early
The queen of country music was born on March 28, 1955, in McAlester, Oklahoma. Her upbringing was in the low populated community of Chockie on her family’s ranch. She was raised alongside her brother and two sisters.
The whole family assisted in the duties on the farm. These tasks included looking after the cattle, cooking, and cleaning. Reba learned the value of hard work from a very young age. This early foundation would prove to be pivotal in her overall success down the line.
The Family That Sings Together
It was Reba’s mother who introduced her to the wonderful world of country music. In fact, she showed all of her kids and taught Reba how to sing when she was very young. First grade was when Reba made her solo-performance debut at the school Christmas play.
During family road trips, everyone would sing together to entertain themselves because the treks were so long. Slowly but surely, the kids became locally known as they performed together as the Singing McEntires.
Miss Ford County?
When you’re young, there’s a better chance that you will participate in contests. This is because you aren’t discouraged by the odds of winning after you calculate the total number of contestants, and younger people generally are less fearful of taking risks and putting themselves out there.
When Reba was 16-years-old, she entered and won an essay contest. As a result, she was named Miss Ford County! Her prize was using a new Ford for six months. She ended up putting 18,000 miles on it before having to give it back.
Adding Faith To Her Life
While Reba was apart of the Singing McEntires, she chose to get baptized. On the way to one of their gigs, Reba told her mom that she was going to tell everyone to go to church on Sunday. At that moment, Reba’s mom taught her lesson.
Her mom asked how she knew people didn’t already go to church. That question taught Reba something that she explained in an interview. “That was my first lesson on passing judgment,” Reba said. “You don’t know what other people do. You don’t know their heart.”
Off To College For Reba
Once Reba graduated from high school, she headed to college at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. During her time there, she majored in education with a minor in music. When she wasn’t studying, you can imagine most of her energy went towards music.
At one point, Reba was classmates with future country star Garth Brooks. Reba had hopes of becoming a school teacher like her mother. After graduation, however, her career path would take a different road, other than becoming a teacher.
Her First Marriage
Before her most recent relationship, Reba was married to rodeo star Charlie Battles. The two said ‘I do’ in 1976 around the same time Reba’s music career started to bubble.
That same year is when she released her debut single “I Don’t want to Be a One Night Stand.” It only reached number 88 on the Billboard country music charts, but that wouldn’t stop Reba. She and her new man were ready to shake up the world.
Music Career Taking Off
Reba’s first number one on Billboard came in 1983 after the release of her fifth album Unlimited. Still, that wasn’t enough for her. Reba had complaints about not having full control of her music, so she left her label and signed with MCA Nashville Records.
That wasn’t enough to make her happy with her music. The same year she signed that new deal, she was given full creative control of her music. Now, she released an album that had previously recorded songs. Two of the songs from this album, My Kind of Country, ended up going number one. Reba had finally reached her breakthrough.
Music Video Queen
By the time the late ’80s rolled around, Reba was a music video pioneer. Instead of singing of her songs on a stage with a mic, Reba turned her videos into theatrical productions. The critics began calling her videos mini-movies.
After doing many videos this way, Reba became interested in acting. A new goal of hers was to act in at least one movie while her music career was still going. Little did she know, she would end up accomplishing way more than that.
Reba’s Film Breakthrough
1990 was the year Reba checked off one of her bucket list items. Reba made her acting debut in the horror-comedy movie Tremors. It was about a huge underground worm-monster. It was so important to her that she put her honeymoon with Blackstock on pause to finish filming.
Reba may have enjoyed the experience, but her co-star Kevin Bacon didn’t have the same feeling. He said it was a low point in his career before it’s release. Reba didn’t mind much, she was slowly making her dreams come true.
The First Divorce
Reba and her first husband, Charlie Battles didn’t last forever. While the two lived together on Charlie’s ranch in Oklahoma, Reba’s career put immense pressure on the relationship. He wanted to her stay around at home more and help, but Reba was entirely too busy for that.
Eventually, the conflicts between them reached a breaking point. The couple divorced in 1987 in what was a tough process. “I had to pack everything in one day and leave. I was totally starting over. I wasn’t the little girl anymore, taking orders and doing what he said,” Reba said about the divorce.
The Band’s Tragedy
Leading up to 1991, Reba felt like she was the queen of her own destiny. Then, tragedy struck and everything changed for Reba. A charter plane transporting her band crashed into the side of a mountain while traveling over San Diego. Everyone on board passed away.
As a result, eight members of her band were gone. The devastation hit Reba hard. She said it was like losing her family. Many of the members had been apart of the band for years.
For My Broken Heart
For Reba’s 16th studio album, she released For My Broken Heart, which was dedicated to the members of her band who lost their lives in the horrible plane crash. The theme for much of the album revolved around lost love and sorrow.
The album did very well commercially as it ended up selling over four million copies. Two of the songs made number one on the Billboard charts in the process. Reba reported that the album was, “a form of healing for all our broken hearts.”
An Icon Living In The Red Dress
Reba knows how to entertain and she also knows how to make you say “wow.” Reba and Linda Davis won multiple awards for their duet“Does He Love You,” but it was at the CMA Award show where Reba caused a scene. Her revealing red dress caused many in the audience to gasp!
Reba stated in an interview that her father asked her if the red dress was put on backwards by mistake. The red dress was put on display at the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum.
Reba Leads By Example
When the AIDS epidemic first came around, many refrained from getting involved and it really wasn’t a topic of discussion in country music. That is until Reba brought it to the forefront. Reba’s 1994 album Read My Mind has a song discussing a woman who caught AIDS after a one night stand.
Songs like that help show why she was one of the most important figures in music. Controversy isn’t something that Reba is concerned about. She’s talked about it all through her music.
A Slight Decline In Music
After Reba released her 19th album, her music career started to decline slightly. It was due to her fans being displeased with the content she put on the album. Reba chose to collect the original recordings of her favorite songs as a way to commemorate her 20th year in the music industry.
The listeners were not too happy with this move. Just one song made the top ten on the charts. But, despite that, the album still ended up going platinum, and she turned things around within a year.
Declining The Titanic?
James Cameron wasn’t concerned with bad reviews of Reba’s latest album. He asked her if she would like a role in the upcoming film he was shooting, Titanic. As great as it sounded, Reba had to pull out because her schedule was too hectic.
Reba didn’t want to cancel any upcoming performances she had on the tab. She was going to play the part of Molly Brown. The role ended up going to Kathy Bates instead. Having gone on to become one of the most successful films of all time, do you think Reba looks back with any regret?
Floating Back To The Top
After some backfire from her 19th album, Reba bounced back with, What If It’s You. The record was a success and considered a drastic comeback effort. It contained the lead single “The Fear of Being Alone” that went number one.
The album was a hit; at least two songs charted at number one and another made it number two. A song she wrote about charity even made it to 23. All of the profits from the song were donated to the Salvation Army.
From Music To Broadway
After Reba’s 2001 album Greatest Hits Vol. 3: I’m a Survivor (which cemented her as the most certified female country musician in history) she chose to take a hiatus from music. Instead, Reba decided to take her talents to Broadway as she starred in the revival of Annie Get Your Gun.
Critics raved her performance. The New York Times said the show was, “Without qualification the best performance by an actress in a musical comedy this season.”
Enter The World Of Television
After Broadway, Reba appeared to have caught the acting bug. It wouldn’t be long until fans saw her on the small screen. In 2001, Reba starred in her own self-titled sitcom. She played the role of a wisecracking single mother on Reba which premiered on The WB.
The show quickly became the network’s highest-rated show. She earned a Golden Globe from her performance as the show continued to run for a total of six seasons. Once the show switched to the CW from the The WB, it was canceled.
Bringing It Back To Music
In 2003, Reba returned to music and was better than ever. She didn’t miss a step, even after acting for a while. She released her 23rd album, Room to Breathe and sure enough, landed on the top of the charts again in 2003.
The album contained her 76th chart-topping single as well. It seemed as if there was nothing Reba couldn’t be successful in. All those years of perseverance were paying off in huge ways.
Reba Breaking Records
It’s almost like Reba can do no wrong in her music, and she makes it look easy. In 2008, Reba saw her record-breaking country hit “Cowgirls Don’t Cry” make the Top Ten on the charts. It was a re-recorded version of the track, and her record ended up breaking Dolly Parton’s record, who is also one of her idols.
That same year, Reba announced she was leaving her record label that she had been working with for 25 years. Reba signed a new contract with Valory Music Group. In her tenure with the former record company, she won two Grammy’s and sold over 67 million records.
Another Stint On TV
Not through with TV just yet, Reba made a surprise return to the small screen in 2011. Reba’s return was short-lived on ABC’s sitcom Malibu Country. She played Reba Gallagher, who was a divorced mother of two. Her character found out her husband was cheating so she split.
In the show, the divorce led to Reba receiving the Malibu house as a settlement as she attempted to revive her country music career. The show had mixed reviews but was still ABC’s highest-rated new comedy show of 2012.
A False Death?
When 2012 came, many of you may remember the deathly news that surfaced about Reba. Online reports claimed that Reba had fallen off a cliff while filming in Austria and died. This news spread faster than a wild-fire, making Reba’s family and friends highly distraught.
During the panic, Reba’s sister called, and the rumors were put to bed when Reba answered the phone. “There are so many of those hoaxes that are just going around, and I think it’s cruel. That’s not funny,” Reba commented.
Losing Her Biggest Fan
Reba is no stranger to losing loved ones. We discussed her band members, but this time, it was her biggest fan. Near the time Reba was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, her father fell into a coma after he had a stroke.
Clark McEntire ended up passing away on October 23, 2014. Her music video for Just Like Them Horses was a tribute to Reba’s father as it was filmed on the family’s land in Oklahoma. “He ran all the way to heaven. Just like them horses,” Reba said in remembrance of her father.
One Famous Daughter-in-Law
Kelly Clarkson’s manager happened to be Reba’s former husband, Narvel Blackstock. Blackstock introduced Clarkson to Reba’s stepson (his son) Brandon Blackstock. Brandon ended up proposing to Clarkson in 2012 at the Super Bowl, and the two were wed in 2013.
Reba couldn’t be more happy with having added to her family. Reba said she was, “thrilled to death, thrilled to death. To have my buddy as my daughter-in-law, I mean, who could ask for more?” The duo has even gone on tour together.
Clarkson Caught In The Middle
Although things might have been great in the beginning and vastly throughout the marriage, the situation got muddy. Kelly Clarkson found herself in the middle of the divorce. She was torn between her “best friend” Reba, and her husband’s father.
Clarkson urged the two to remain as one. Even though she wasn’t successful with her pleas, Clarkson might have helped keep them together as long as they were. The couple was reportedly already living apart before the divorce, but still managed to support each other.
An Interesting New Love Interest
Not too long after the divorce, the news surfaced that Blackstone had begun dating already. And he wasn’t dating just anyone, Blackstone was seeing Reba’s best friend, Laura Putty Stroud. She is a luxury real estate agent in Nashville.
She was already really close to Reba and Blackstone during their marriage, so that raises some questions. A source close to Blackstone revealed the two are very close, but there is no exact date for when they started dating.
Moving On With Her New Man
Despite her ex-husband dating her “best friend,” Reba isn’t letting that slow her down. She is currently dating Anthony “Skeeter” Lasuzzo. Headlines say he is a geologist, photographer, and charmer. The latter trait must be valid for him to attract Reba.
Reba’s former co-star Melissa Peterman seems to think the couple is getting along fine. “I see her completely at ease with him,” Peterman told Closer Weekly. “He adores her wholeheartedly, which is what we all want, right?”