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The country music queen, Reba McEntire has become who she is after a lot of hard work and life-changing experiences. There are a few things you may not know about her life, so read on to find out more!
Reba McEntire, country music sensation, experienced another shock of her lifetime in 2015. Her husband, Narvel Blackstock divorced her after 26 years of marriage. She had said multiple times that her husband was also her best friend, which made his leaving even tougher to accept, especially after finding out why...
They first met when Narvel was the guitar player in her band in the 1980s. Later, he became her manager and emotional supporter whilst she was going through the divorce from her first husband. Things turned romantic, and the two got married in 1989. The relationship also shined on Reba's career that they opened a management company, Starstruck. In 1990, they welcomed their son Shelby. Everything seemed more than fine, so how did it all begin?
Born on March 28, 1955, in Oklahoma, country queen Reba Nell McEntire grew up on her family's ranch with her brother and sisters. She helped tend the cattle, cook, and clean. She understood the value of hard work from a young age.
Reba's mother was a school teacher with a dream of being a country singer. She later introduced her kids to her passion and taught them to sing. Reba made her solo debut in first grade Christmas play with "Away in a Manger." After regular performances, the kids became locally known as the Singing McEntires, and Reba was invited to sing at a high school graduation ceremony in town when she was in the third grade.
The Singing McEntires also played at bars, honky-tonks, dance halls, and local rodeos. The family even recorded a song called "The Ballad of John McEntire," and published 1,000 copies. God Never Cried and If I Could Only Be With You were two hits made by the family.
When Reba was in the Singing McEntires, she decided to get baptized. One night, Reba told her mother that she was going to tell everyone in the dance hall to go to church Sunday morning. Her mother, Jacqueline, then taught her a valuable lesson by asking her how she knew those people didn’t already go to church. “That was my first lesson on passing judgment. You don’t know what other people do. You don’t know their heart,” said Reba.
It was a life-changing moment when she was hired to sing the national anthem at the National Rodeo in Oklahoma City in 1974. She was discovered by country musician Red Steagall, who was also performing that day and was instantly impressed by her talent. He offered to help her launch a country music career in Nashville. She then signed her first recording contract with Mercury Records. At a different rodeo, Reba also entered into her first marriage.
When Reba's music career was just about to heat up, she married rodeo star Charlie Battles in 1976. Her debut single I Don’t Want to Be a One Night Stand was released on January 22, 1976, but only reached No. 88 on the Billboard charts. Her next few singles were not major hits either, but her cover of Patsy Cline’s Sweet Dreams reached No. 19 in 1979. It was her first break into the Top 20, but definitely not her last.
Reba first hit Billboard No.1 in early 1983 after releasing her fifth album Unlimited. After complaints about lacking creative control over her music, she decided to leave Mercury. In 1984 she signed with MCA Nashville Records and released a seventh album, Just a Little Love. That same year, she was then given full creative control and released another album of songs she had previously released as singles called My Kind of Country. Two of the songs on the album hit the No. 1 spot. Reba finally had her big break.
Reba's career put pressure on her marriage with Charlie Battles. He wanted his wife to stay home and help out with the ranch work, but she was always on the road performing. This led to endless conflicts that eventually drove the two apart in 1987.
Reba McEntire had her film debut in the 1990 horror-comedy movie Tremors, about giant underground worm-monsters. Her honeymoon with Narvel was postponed to finish the shoot. Although her co-star Kevin Bacon called the film a “low point” in his career prior to its release, Reba still enjoyed it. When she was slowly making her dreams come true, something broke the peace.
When Reba was on top of the world in 1991, a charter plane carrying her band members crashed into the side of a mountain near San Diego, which tragically killed everyone on board. 8 members lost their lives in the accident while Reba was still asleep at a nearby hotel. She was devastated when she found out because they were like family members to her.
Reba dedicated to the members she lost in that accident her sixteenth album - For My Broken Heart. Most of the songs were about sorrow and loss. It became one of her best-selling studio albums with over 4 million copies sold. Two of them reached No. 1 on Billboard, and the album hit No. 3. Reba wrote in the liner notes that the album was “a form of healing for all our broken hearts.”
Reba’s music career declined a little after the release of her 19th album, Starting Over. Instead of recording new songs for the album, she collected the original recordings of all of her favorite ones. The collection was to commemorate her 20th year in the music industry. Critics were less than pleased with the album. The album went platinum, and within just one year, she had incredibly managed to change everything around.
Despite the criticism of her album, Reba was asked by director James Cameron to play a role in his upcoming film Titanic. However, she couldn’t make it due to scheduling conflicts. According to Reba, “they kept movin’ my schedule.” She couldn't cancel performances that were already booked with tickets sold. She was supposed to play the role of powerhouse socialite Molly Brown, which was later played by Kathy Bates.
In 1997, Reba dropped her 20th studio album, What If It’s You. It became a hit as well as a comeback. Apart from two NO.1 songs and a No. 2 song, she also recorded a song for a charity called What If, which charted at No. 23. All profits from the song were donated to the Salvation Army. She was about to start a new journey in her career.
Reba McEntire really had a passion for acting. After Broadway, she went on to display her talent on the small screen. Since 2001, she has starred in her own sitcom about a wisecracking single mother, Reba. The series premiered on the WB network and soon became the network’s highest-rated show. It earned her a Golden Globe and ran for a total of six seasons from October 2001 to May 2006.
With the release of her 76th chart single, Reba McEntire made her return to the music industry in 2003. Her 23rd album, Room to Breathe, put her back to the top of the charts in the same year. In 2007, Reba won the recognition of the female artist with the most CMA nominations in the award’s history, surpassing even Dolly Parton. A year later, Reba went on tour with singer Kelly Clarkson.
In 2012, there were shocking news reports online claiming that Reba had fallen off a cliff in Austria during filming and tragically died. It spread like wildfire and devastated her family and fans. Her sister called her in a panic when seeing the news to verify if it was true. Thank god the rumors were put to rest when she answered the phone and posted a Twitter to let everyone know she's ok. She commented, “There are so many of those hoaxes that are just going around, and I think it’s cruel. That’s not funny.”
Started in the '70s, Reba McEntire’s career has shown no sign of letting up anytime soon. The super-star has released 29 studio albums, 40 No. 1 singles, and 16 No. 1 albums so far. Whatever comes next for Reba is certain to be larger than life. She is reportedly shopping around a new TV series that has been described as a “southern gothic soap opera.” We’ll have to stay tuned to see if it lives up to the country queen‘s other work.
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