Country music superstar Reba McEntire has had an eventful love life and got the opportunity to be a stepmother to several children; here is how she handled her motherhood journey.
Reba McEntire was born on March 28, 1955, in Oklahoma. She has pursued music from the age of five years old. Affectionately known as the Queen of Country Music, she has released hit songs like "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia"
With a full life in her country music career, Reba is still a hands-on mother. When she married her first husband, steer-wrestling champion and rancher Charlie Battles in 1976, she became a mother to his two teenage sons. During her second marriage, she gained three more stepchildren.
Brandon McEntire, Reba McEntire, Shawna McEntire, and Shelby McEntire attend 5th Annual ACM Honors at Ryman Auditorium on September 19, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. | Source: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images
HER FIRST HUSBAND WANTED HER TO GIVE UP HER CAREER FOR HIM
Reba met her first husband through the rodeo, a sport she was passionate about. "I loved Charlie with all my heart, I wanted to marry him ... We had a lot of fun," McEntire said. "We rodeoed together, we ranched together," she added.
When she got married for the first time, Charlie had two sons from a previous marriage, Lance and Coty Battles. Charlie and Reba both loved barrel racing and the rodeo, so when Reba decided to focus on her music, Charlie and Reba focused their energies on their careers.
“I guess I chose my career over my marriage,” Reba said. But music wasn’t her first passion, it was barrel racing. She loved the competition behind the sport but wasn’t that good at it. Her father suggested that she focus on her natural singing talent.
Narvel Blackstock and Reba McEntire attend the 2014 American Country Countdown Awards in Nashville Tennessee. | Source: Christopher Polk/Getty Images
When her career started taking off in 1984, Reba left the recording business, “Program Mercury” to sign with “MCA.” This is when she recorded her Grammy award-winning album, “My Kind of Country.” Charlie had asked her to slow her career down, but Reba refused and they split up.
DIVORCE FROM SECOND HUSBAND WAS NOT HER IDEA
In 1989, Reba married Narvel Blackstock, a musician she met earlier during her first marriage with Charlie. Narvel worked as a guitarist in Reba’s band and later became her tour manager. The pair were married for 26 years until Narvel suddenly filed for divorce in 2015.
Describing the aftermath of the divorce, A close friend reported that “Narvel was her protector, her business partner, and manager, and it was really tough on her. She had no idea it was coming. “She felt sorry for herself for about a month, but then she snapped out of it.”
Reba McEntire performs onstage during Inaugural Gateway Celebrity Fight Night on March 12, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. | Source: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images
By the time Reba and Narvel got married, he was a dad to three children, Brandon, Chassidy, and Shawna. In 1990, Narvel and Reba welcomed her only biological child, Shelby Blackstock. “He’s a funny guy. You don’t know from day to day if that will last or where he will be next week,” Reba gushed about Shelby.
When Reba’s marriage started deteriorating, she needed to start taking charge of her household. "I had my production manager who left, I had my CEO who left, my manager and husband, and my father had died. So four men who were rock and pillars of my world were gone," Reba said.
When some of her most trusted associates stopped being involved in her career, she began to take over the finances related to her career and her home. "I made the money, I brought it home. So it was a huge, huge change for me," Reba said.
Singer and actress Reba McEntire, her son Shelby and her stepdaughter Chassidy attend the premiere of the film "Charlotte's Web" in Hollywood. | Source: Getty Images
LOVING HER STEPKIDS LIKE HER OWN
With one biological child and five former stepchildren, Reba feels affection for all six of them, “I don't consider Brandon, Chassidy and Shawna [husband Narvel Blackstock's children from his first marriage] stepchildren... I claim them all.”
She added the importance of parenting in a way that allowed her children to grow independently, “You have to stand firm on what you tell kids to do but then stand back and be patient and see how they're going to react. That's hard for us, to be patient,” Reba said.
When Brandon got engaged to music star Kelly Clarkson, she was thrilled and excited to have Kelly as her daughter-in-law. "To have my buddy as my daughter-in-law, I mean, who could ask for more?" Reba exclaimed.
Narvel Blackstock, Reba McEntire, Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock attend Muhammed Ali's celebrity fight night in Phoenix, Arizona on March 28, 2015. | Source: Michael Buckner/Getty Images
Kelly and Brandon got married in 2013 and had two children together, River and Remington. But Kelly filed for divorce in 2020. In response to the divorce announcement, Reba said that she loved Brandon like her son and was praying for both Brandon and Kelly.
GET TO KNOW HER ONLY SON
Shelby, Reba’s only biological child, was born on February 23, 1990. Where his mother had a passion for barrel racing, Shelby left school after attending university in the late 2000s and chose to focus his passions on full-time race car driving.
Shelby’s racing career began in 2012 and in 2018, he came second in the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. In 2019, he got two wins in the Daytona and Sebring races and finished in the top five in six races. His racing bio ends in 2020.
Reba McEntire and her son, Shelby attend the The 7th Annual Family Television Awards in Beverly Hills, California on November 30, 2005. | Source Mike Fanous/Getty Images
In 2021, Shelby founded “Hartland,” an outdoor apparel and accessories brand online retailer whose mission, according to its website, is to bring high-quality goods to people who love the outdoors!
Shelby married his long-term partner, Marissa Branch in 2021. The pair met on Tinder in 2014 but didn’t date until two years later. They described the relationship as a bit of a “Tinderella story.” They wed in Disneyland, where the theme parks held significant value for Marissa.
"My mom worked there when she was younger, managing the Small World ride. It was my Nana's favorite. She passed away in 2006 at the age of 57, while I was in middle school," Marissa said.
Rex Linn and Reba McEntire attends the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images
REBA FINDS LOVE AGAIN WITH A LONGTIME FRIEND
Reba and her current partner, Rex Linn have been together for the past two years. But they had been friends since 1991 when they met on the set of the film “The Gambler.” During the Covid-19 Pandemic, Reba’s mother fell ill and died. This prompted Rex to keep in touch with Reba and they have been together since.
During the 2022 Oscars, the couple showed up holding hands. Reba wore a gorgeous emerald gown, while Rex wore an all-black suit. When Reba performed her single, “Somehow You Do,” and Rex clapped and then he looked straight into the camera giving two thumbs up.