The Rise of Reba McEntire and the Dress That Saw Her Blacklisted From the Country Music World for Decades

Fri Apr 22 2022

If you’re a country music fan, the name Reba McEntire is one that you’re probably familiar with. Often called the “Queen of Country”, Reba rivals the success of the one and only Dolly Parton – and it’s fair to say that she’s built up an incredible career for herself. She’s a singer, an actress, a businesswoman, and even a fashion designer. But life hasn’t always been smooth sailing for this country legend.

Although Reba McEntire is at the top of her game right now, there was once a time when her whole career was in jeopardy. Yes, while she fought hard to get where she is today, this rise to the top came with personal and professional struggles that almost broke her. She’s been slandered in the press and she’s been blacklisted by many of her fans – and that was all because she wore a very specific dress. This is how Reba pushed past these obstacles to reach her full potential.

Reba Grew up on a Cattle Ranch, but Always Wanted to Be a Singer

Before she became one of the most famous women in the world, Reba McEntire was just an ordinary kid living on a ranch in Chockie, Oklahoma. She came from a long line of ranchers – and both her father and grandfather were World Champion steer ropers. Like other children who were raised on a ranch, Reba spent every spare moment helping with the ranch chores.

However, life wasn’t perfect for young Reba. While her mother Jacqueline was a warm and loving mom, her father was distant and cold. Reba wrote in her autobiography that “When we were growing up I used to regret that Daddy never told us he loved us.” And while her father fully intended to pass his ranch over to his children, Reba had always dreamed of being a singer. She always thought that was just a pipe dream, though.

She Originally Formed a Band With Her Siblings, After Her Mom Encouraged Them to Sing

Despite the fact that her father was a cattle rancher through and through, Reba’s mom had always dreamed of being a singer herself. So, she encouraged Reba and her two siblings to sing from a young age. Every car journey was filled with music and harmony – and they even learned how to play piano and guitar. Before too long, the Reba siblings decided to form a band.

They called themselves The Singing McEntires, and they performed at local functions and even released a single called “The Ballad of John McEntire” which was played on local radio stations. Reba remembers that “We were a bunch of kids barely in puberty who didn’t get to bed until almost daylight after some of our shows.” But while they all had a passion for music, they decided to part ways when Reba’s brother Pake graduated from high school.

Reba Got a Degree in Teaching, but She Always Hoped She’d Be a Professional Singer

After The Singing McEntires broke up, Reba decided to put her love of singing on the backburner. She needed a backup plan if she couldn’t make it as a professional singer, so when she graduated from high school she decided to go to college and study to become a teacher. As always, she spent her free time continuing to work on her family’s ranch.

But Reba always had singing at the back of her mind, so she was over the moon when she was given the chance to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the National Finals Rodeo in 1974. It was during this performance that she was noticed by country star Red Steagall… and when Reba’s mom noticed him in the crowd she knew she had to shoot her shot. She asked the singer whether he would sign her children. A few weeks later, Steagall finally gave an answer: “I can’t take all three. But I could take Reba. She’s got something a little different.”

When the Opportunity to Get a Record Deal Arrived, Reba Had Doubts

Although Steagall couldn’t offer Reba a record deal right then and there, he could introduce her to the right kind of people who could. In March 1975, he organized for Reba and her mom Jacqueline to travel to Nashville with a demo tape in their back pocket. He hoped that with this demo they would be able to win over a record label… but Reba started to have doubts.

In the car journey on the way to Nashville, Reba kept telling her mom to stop the car and turn around. She began to question her talent and her ability, and whether she would be able to make it in the music world. Her mom, sensing her daughter’s hesitation, gave Reba a pep talk. Jacqueline told her that “Now, Reba, let me tell you something. If you don’t want to go to Nashville, we don’t have to. But I’m living all my dreams through you.” In the end, they continued their journey.

Once She Was Signed, Reba Struggled to Get Onboard With What the Label Wanted From Her

Jacqueline McEntire’s insistence and determination changed her daughter’s path completely. By November 1975, Reba was signed by PolyGram/Mercury Records, and they immediately got her in the studio to record her music. She was an instant hit with country fans, and her songs resonated with so many in the US. Over the next few years, her career launched to new heights – and she wasn’t quite prepared for it.

In 1980, Reba’s song “You Lift Me Up (To Heaven)” thrust her to international fame, but she was struggling with her sound. The record label wanted to market her as a rowdy rodeo girl – but Reba wanted more. She pushed back against powerful label execs and was eventually able to change her image to a polished, mainstream country artist. However, what comes up must always come down, and Reba soon realized that her career was in jeopardy.

In Her Eyes, She Had to Work Twice as Hard Because She Was a Woman

Although today’s country music scene is full of talented women, things were a little different during Reba’s early career. During the late ’70s and early ’80s, women were outsiders, and the country music world was a very male-dominated field. So, not only was Reba trying to fight back against her record label, but she was also trying to prove herself as a woman.

The only way Reba could push through this ordeal was to keep calm and carry on. She has confessed that “As a woman, you don’t complain, you work twice as hard and you do your job. You try to outsmart them, you try to outwork them and get there first. You help out, you volunteer, you’re at the front of the line. That’s what I learned from working on the cattle range, and it helped me in the music business.” However, things were only going to get harder for Reba.

In 1991, Reba’s Life Was Turned Upside Down While on Tour in San Diego

Reba’s ability to push past the backlash and work hard as a woman worked in her favor. By the late 1980s, she was busier than ever, and everyone knew her name. Because of this, she had the chance to take on a touring schedule that took up almost all of her time. However, it was during the first leg of her 1991 tour that her life changed forever.

After Reba and her band had performed for an adoring crowd in San Diego, private planes were booked to take them all to the next location on the tour. They weren’t all on the same plane, though. Reba’s band left in one plane the same night as the performance, while Reba, her stylist, and her then-husband would take a plane the next morning. Unfortunately, the plane carrying her band didn’t make it to their next destination.

Reba Learned That Her Whole Band Had Been Killed in a Plane Crash, and She Was Devastated

On March 16, 1991, Reba was woken up in the middle of the night by a phone call from her pilot – who was due to fly them the next morning. He told Reba and her then-husband that the first plane carrying her band had been involved in an accident. The plane’s wing hit the side of Otay Mountain in San Diego, and had caused a devastating crash. Sadly, there were no survivors.

Chris Austin, Kirk Cappello, Joey Cigainero, Paula Kaye Evans, Jim Hammon, Terry Jackson, Anthony Saputo, and Michael Thomas – her whole eight-person band – were killed in the crash, and sadly the pilot and co-pilot also passed away. A spokesperson for the musician released a statement that read “She was very close to all of them. Some of them had been with her for years. Reba is totally devastated by this. It’s like losing part of your family. Right now she just wants to get back to Nashville.”

Reba Poured Her Sadness Into Her Music, and She Dedicated Her Next Album to Her Band

Reba was feeling all kinds of emotions when she finally got back to her home in Nashville. She was absolutely devastated that the plane crash had taken her friends and bandmates, but she also felt guilty – as she realized that it could have also been her on that plane if they hadn’t chosen to take two planes. So, she decided to pour her sadness into her music.

In October 1991 she released her 16th album For My Broken Heart, and she dedicated the whole thing to the band she had lost. Writing and recording this album was extremely cathartic for the singer, and she was even more humbled when this album became her highest-charting release yet. Even to this day, many fans think it’s still her best album. But even the high of this success couldn’t fix the next scandal that was about to come her way.

In 1993, Reba Attended the Country Music Awards and Had a Shock for Everyone at Home

Despite the fact that she continued to mourn the loss of her friends after the plane crash, Reba’s career seemed to thrive amidst this turmoil. She wrote songs that were better than she had ever written before, and her music was charting higher than it had ever charted before. Because of this, it was no surprise when she was invited to attend the Country Music Awards in 1993.

Reba had attended countless award shows in the past, and she was used to being nominated and even winning many of the accolades. While the event in 1993 should have been just another event to add to her calendar, it ended up being one of the most dramatic days of her life. In fact, it was this event that saw her “canceled” and “blacklisted” by many of her adoring fans.

Reba Had a Dress Designed for the Award Show, but It Didn’t Go Down Well

During this awards ceremony, Reba took to the stage with Linda Davis for a duet of the song “Does He Love You” – but it wasn’t her voice that had everyone shocked. Instead, it was her outfit. For this event, Reba enlisted the help of her friend and fashion designer Sandi Spika to design a dress for the night. However, as Reba was recovering from foot surgery at the time, the fitting was a little unusual.

Reba has written in her autobiography that Sandi made her way to the singer’s house with swatches and samples for Reba to look at. She confessed that “I selected a crimson fabric with blood-red beads and rhinestones.” By the time Spika had made the dress, Reba was still incapacitated in bed, so she had to try on the dress while she was lying down. Because of this, she didn’t try the dress on properly – something she now regrets.

Reba Didn’t Really Know What the Dress Looked Like When She Wore It on the Night

Because she didn’t have the chance to have a proper fitting of the dress, Reba went into the night with no real idea of what she was going to wear. She noted that “It was very revealing, and I didn’t know that! I had only two fittings with Sandy Spika – one was at our office, and I said, ‘I think you need to fill some more stuff in!’ When I put it on in the dressing room at the Grand Ole Opry for the show, I thought ‘Maybe it’s just the lighting in here.'”

Concerned that the dress was a little too much, Reba asked Sandy to add some more beads in “all the right places.” Finally, Reba was happy that the dress was stylish, comfortable, and not too revealing – but people around her didn’t quite agree. Her husband at the time, Narvel Blackstock reportedly “raised his eyebrows” when he saw his wife in the dress.

The Whole Audience Gasped When They Saw Reba’s Revealing and Scandalous Dress

Although Reba was happy with the final product, the rest of the world wasn’t. As soon as the singer made her way onto the stage to perform, she was greeted with gasps and intense reactions from the crowd. To begin with, she just assumed that she had made an epic entrance. She confessed that “when I walked out on the stage, I heard the audience go ‘Oooooh!’ And I thought, ‘Dang, I look good!’”

Today, many people would agree that the dress is stunning. The red gown was covered in sequins and beads, had a high neck, and offered bell-bottom sleeves that finished off the dress nicely. However, it was the sheer material coupled with the low and plunging neckline that the audience took issue with. In that era, such a neckline was considered to be incredible risqué.

Fans Sent ”Outraged Letters” to Newspapers and Complained About Her Dress

Although Reba thought she looked good and truly appreciated all of the hard work her friend and designer had put into the dress, those in the audience at the Grand Ole Opry and those at home didn’t agree with her. They were outraged and shocked by the fact that she chose to wear such a scantily-clad outfit on national TV, and they couldn’t keep this outrage to themselves.

Many of her former fans decided to send “outraged letters” to local Nashville newspapers to voice their opinions and to slate the singer for choosing to wear such an outfit. As if that wasn’t enough, some viewers were even so angry they called into Nashville radio stations and asked them to stop playing her songs in “strong protest” of the red dress. In just one night, she had lost countless fans.

It Was Reported That Her Family Was Also Shocked and Saddened by Her Outfit

Almost overnight, Reba McEntire had become the talk of the town. The morning after the Country Music Awards she adorned the front pages of newspapers and country fans were calling her a bad role model for the genre as a whole. Reba couldn’t quite understand the public’s reaction, and she became even more upset when the tabloids started running stories that included her family.

Many headlines suggested that her parents were shocked, saddened, and “outraged” by her choice in outfit- but McEntire has since denied that this was the case. However, she has noted that her dad joked that she may have put the dress on backward, while her mom commented that she probably could have done with some more sequins on the chest area. Unfortunately, Reba’s situation wasn’t going to get any better.

Reba Was Also on Thin Ice With Some of Her Fans Due to Her Personal History

As critics continued to call out the country music star for her choice of dress on the night of the Country Music Awards, Reba continued to struggle. It was all anyone could talk about, and she was being called out by fans and tabloids alike. It seemed as though the ridicule was never going to stop.

Even after two weeks had passed, Reba’s red dress was still on everyone’s lips – especially when she talked to Jay Leno on The Tonight Show. Although the singer expected to talk about her new music, “[The dress] was the first thing Jay asked about.” But what made the reaction to her dress so explosive was the fact that she was already on thin ice with her fans.

Reba Was Dubbed a ”Homewrecker” When People Learned of Her Personal Life

From 1976 until 1987, Reba McEntire was married to steer wrestling champion and rancher Charlie Battles. He wasn’t famous and preferred to stay out of the limelight, so they lived on a ranch in Oklahoma. This seemed to work for them, until 1980 when Reba brought steel guitar player Narvel Blackstock on as a member of her band.

At the time of their initial meeting, McEntire was married and Blackstock was also married with three children – and theirs was a purely professional relationship. In fact, Reba even confessed that she ignored him the first night they met, as she was simply focusing on her performance. However, Blackstock became her manager in the late ’80s, and when both of their marriages crumbled in 1987 people couldn’t ignore that the timing was incredibly coincidental.

Both Reba and Narvel Claimed Their Respective Divorces Had Nothing to Do With One Another

It was Reba who pulled the plug on her marriage first. In her eyes, her marriage turned sour long before 1987 – but the last straw for her was during a fight when she thought that Charlie might hit her. She filed for divorce, and just a few weeks before the papers were finalized it was announced that Blackstock’s marriage had also come to an end.

Like Reba, Narvel stated that his marriage had not been a happy one for many years. He confessed that “I was living as an unhappy person,” and both Narvel and Reba maintained that their marriages had not ended because of an affair or romantic feelings between the two of them. Of course, these remarks were called into question when they themselves got married in 1989.

Blackstock’s Ex-Wife Suggested That Reba Had Impacted Their Failed Marriage

While Reba and Narvel maintained that their divorces happened of their own accord and separately from Narvel’s work as Reba’s manager, the general consensus was that this story was far from the truth. Newspapers and tabloids suggested that McEntire had played a bigger part in Blackstock’s divorce than we realized, and even Blackstock’s wife had something to say about it.

Elisa Gayle Ritter reportedly made “strong” suggestions that Blackstock and McEntire made their romantic feelings for each other known before both marriages ended – but McEntire has always refuted these claims. In fact, she confessed that the main reason she wrote her autobiography was to set the record straight on the rumors about her. She wrote that “both marriages had been dying for years. The funerals just happened to come a few months apart.”

Reba’s Marriage to Blackstock Came to a Surprise End After 26 Years

Despite the fact that many people thought their relationship was built on an affair, Reba and Narvel proved to everyone that they were more than a fling. Blackstock himself noted that they were “real good business buddies” to begin with, but that “when it happened, it happened.” They got married in 1989, and had a son together, but split in 2015. In fact, Reba confessed that her husband served her divorce papers completely out of the blue.

Despite the fact that the couple had 26 wonderful years together, the situation in which their relationship and their marriage came about was around the same time as Reba’s Country Music Awards drama. Many fans had already lost respect for her due to the newspaper and tabloid stories about her marriages, and she was on thin ice with them. So, for many, her infamous red dress was the last straw.

Reba Tried to Claw Back Her Career After Such a Turbulent Time in the Spotlight

During the 1990s, if people weren’t talking about Reba’s marriages, they were talking about her dress incident – and it almost became too much for her to bear. People had forgotten that she was a legitimate musician, and no matter how hard she tried to release more music, fans continued to place her on the musical “blacklist.” All Reba could do was continue to work and hope for the best.

Thankfully, Reba managed to make headway in terms of bringing back her fanbase. The early ’00s saw a resurgence of popularity for the country music star, and she began to move away from the turbulence that had defined her career in the ’90s. In fact, by the time 2018 came around, she decided to take what had rendered her powerless in the past and take full control of the reins.

In 2018, Reba Decided to Wear Her Infamous Red Dress Once Again

In 2018, it seemed as though Reba had grown confident in herself and her place in the music world once again. She had taken what had pushed her down and used it as ammunition to build herself up, and to this day she’s considered to still be one of the most famous country music stars in the world. So, she wanted to do something special that year.

Reba was due to perform at the 2018 American Country Music Awards alongside her former step-daughter, Kelly Clarkson. The two country legends were booked to sing the song “Does He Love You” – just as Reba had done decades ago for the 1993 Country Music Awards. Because of this, Reba thought it was only fitting that she wore the same dress that she did back then.

Reba Wanted to Receive a Positive Reaction From the Dress the Second Time Around

One of the biggest reasons why Reba chose to wear the dress again was because she herself didn’t understand the backlash she received back in 1993. In her eyes, she was just wearing a beautiful gown that showed off her figure and dazzled on the stage. She always had a soft spot for the dress and confessed that “I really liked the red dress from the ’90s. It was like seeing an old friend again.”

Reba wanted to receive a positive reaction from the audience the second time around, and she certainly received it. She stated that “I didn’t tell Sandi I was going to bring it back and wear it tonight. I saw her reaction, I saw her in the audience, she was crying.” Amazingly, the crowd went wild when they saw Reba in the infamous dress. It still fit her perfectly, and it seemed like the ultimate power move.

Reba Took Her Career Into Her Own Hands, and It Worked In Her Favor

While Reba could have faced a second round of ridicule when she wore the red dress for the second time, she instead received a round of admiration and applause. Fans around the world could see that she wasn’t going to let one moment define her life and career – and it seems as though she’s continued to think this way ever since.

While Reba knows that the 1993 dress moment was an important moment in her career, she has since learned so much about herself and the world of fame and fortune since then. She’s now focused fully on her music and her fans, and she’s back on her game after a tough few decades. It’s no wonder fans love her so much today.

She’s Found Love Again, With Someone Just as Goofy as Her

It can be hard to bounce back after years of failed relationships, even when you’ve given it your best shot. Luckily, Reba McEntire didn’t let adversity get her down, and she opened her heart to a thriving relationship once again. She spent a couple of years evading the subject of her new relationship with Rex Linn, but she finally opened up.

After two years of rumors, Reba confirmed her relationship with Rex Linn by having him as a guest on her podcast, Living & Learning With Reba McEntire. She was really into the idea of keeping the relationship out of the limelight, but sometimes, things don’t work out as we planned. She was tired of rumors and decided to come clean about the relationship.

She Rebuilt Her Image After Others Tried to Tear Her Down

As Reba McEntire knew that she had to work much harder to get half as far as a woman in a male-dominated industry, she pushed for every opportunity possible. She wasn’t quite born into her title as the “Queen of Country,” and being compared to Kenny Chesney, Trisha Yearwood and Leann Rimes only came as a result of her own hard work.

Reba truly exhibited strength by pulling herself up after facing lots of criticism in the public eye. She found herself auditioning for roles in a different medium than she had intended, finding herself on screen. In the years prior to her reprisal of the “dress scandal,” she was shocked to have found herself at the center of her own show.

The Family Affair That Reignited Their Family Spirit

In the last couple of years of her mother’s life, Reba and her sisters, as well as her mother, found themselves performing at the historic Ryman Theatre in Nashville, Tennessee. While she was reminiscing just a few months ago on social media, Reba just couldn’t keep herself from tearing up when such wonderful nostalgia hit.

She turned to Instagram to share her feelings while simultaneously promoting a project that was about to be released. “Such sweet memories from our 2017 @theryman show five years ago tonight…so excited to finally get to share some of these moments on the new My Chains Are Gone DVD and special coming out in March!” This seems like a sweet memory.

She Missed the Boat for Her Titanic Role

In the years leading up to the premiere of her legendary sitcom, Reba, McEntire was set to play a significant character in James Cameron’s epic film, Titanic. In the mid-1990s, the Oscar-winning director cast McEntire as the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown. Unfortunately, it quickly became clear to Reba and the film crew that filming would take longer than expected, and she had to bow out of the role.

While she was devastated to turn down the role of a lifetime, she was super pleased to see that her replacement was the ever-so-talented Kathy Bates. While Reba was sad to back out of a project that could have put her on the map in a whole new light due to scheduling conflicts with her concert tour, she was happy to see Bates shine in the final production.

She Made an Appearance in Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar

From the same people who created Bridesmaids came Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar. She made a cameo as Trish, who was some combination of a mermaid, sea ghost, and water spirit. “I don’t know what the difference is,” Reba recalled in a behind-the-scenes interview. However, she was honored to be asked to play this hilarious role.

In an interview, the film’s stars Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo revealed that they’d created this fantasy character with Reba McEntire in mind. They sent her a long email, asking if she would read the script and see if it was something that would interest her. Luckily for them, Reba saw the project as hilarious and unique, and she decided to give it a go.

Making Old Friends, Cherishing the Old

During the award show season, celebrities across the board tend to have very busy social schedules. The week following the 2022 Oscars was particularly busy for Reba and her boyfriend of two years, Rex Linn. That week, Rex met up with two of his oldest friends, John Lithigow and his wife, professor Mary Yeager Lithgow.

When two out-of-towners needed to figure out how to spend their time on the Sunset Strip, their old friends welcomed them with open arms. She captioned the photo, “Continuing our amazing Oscar week! Started out with having dinner with new friends for me. Old friends for Rex. Thanks John and Mary for meeting us in the valley.”

Practicing Her Stance to Become a NASCAR Mom

When her sole son with Narvel Blackstone, Shelby, ventured into the world of racing as a NASCAR driver. On an appearance on The Rachael Ray Show in 2018, she divulged, “When I first went to the Daytona Speedway and he was racing at Daytona, you know, they drop that green flag and here they come, racing around.”

She continued, “And I was sitting there filming him, and all could see was his car, and then underneath the helmet was this little bitty baby face! It just broke my heart! I was like, ‘Ahh!'” She was next-level excited to see her son shining in the sport of his choice. She was just so happy to see him happy, and of course, rising to his level of success.

She’s Still Working Towards Her Dream

Throughout the years, even as she found herself playing a much larger part on the big screen than she probably ever intended, she has continued to write songs that fit her style and reflect on struggles she has experienced in her work. She’s just as dedicated to creating new, original music today as she was 30 years ago.

A fellow country musician, Trisha Yearwood, commented on this post of Reba’s on social media, cheering her on. Reba teased her fans in a post, stating that good and big things are coming soon. Trisha Yearwood’s comment was supportive, saying, “The lady is ALWAYS on pitch. I love you @reba,” which only showed her further supportfor a colleague!

Her Return to Grand Ole Opry

One of Reba’s first gigs in the limelight was at the Grand Ole Opry, and so many years later, she made a triumphant return. This time, she had shaken the world as the Queen of Country for years already. She wasn’t just an up-and-coming artist trying to make it in the world of country music. Now, she was something huge.

Reba has been able to see her career as a blessing, for a simple girl from Oklahoma who rose to fame. She wanted to be sure to pay tribute to her humble roots. She started as a country singer who found herself entangled in the Hollywood scene. She’s clearly just so happy to be there!

Reba’s Been Off-Air for How Long Already?

Reba was the namesake of her very own sitcom, Reba, for several years. Running from October 2001 until February 2007, this show is basically what made the rest of the world know Reba as a single name like some other iconic people in the biz. Who would have ever thought they’d be at the same level?

The sitcom revolves around a fictionalized version of her own life. Reba plays Reba Hart, navigating life as a single mom of three in a Houston, Texas suburb. It became a staple of American life, showing this major country star as someone that the average viewer could actually relate to.

Winner, Winner, Chicken Tender

Can you imagine growing up eating at a specific food chain, only to become part of their branding when you become famous? Reba McEntire grew up eating at the fried chicken franchise, Kentucky Fried Chicken (or KFC, to most folks). She never could have imagined reaching a level of fame that they would want her as a spokesperson.

As part of an ad campaign for a new smokey chicken dish back in 2018, she was recruited to become their first female Colonel.  “I grew up with Kentucky Fried Chicken. It’s part of my story, and I’m so excited to now be part of theirs,” she said in a press release. “I’ve held a lot of roles in my life – sort of like the Colonel himself – but this is certainly the most unique one yet.”

Reba On Tour

Reba is clearly an unstoppable entity. She’s completely blown us all away by producing a whopping 34 studio albums to date, touring along the way, and it seems like she’s never gonna let up. We can’t help but wonder if she will keep making new albums until the day she dies.

If she had become a school teacher after her studies, the trajectory of her life would have most likely been entirely different. She would have had a very different life if she hadn’t thrown herself into music, and if she didn’t meet the right people along the way to help her rise through the ranks.

Get Ready With Reba

Much like many of the millennials on social media these days, Reba posted a series of “Get Ready With Me” videos. She wanted to show her many fans just what it took to get done-up in true Reba “Queen of Country” fashion. She needed her fans to know that she doesn’t just roll out of bed and look as glam as she does!

Her fans were able to appreciate her showing the work that goes into putting on the facade that she shows. She’s a major star that people want to relate to and fortunately, social media and videos released like this one only make her fans feel closer to her. Reba is gorgeous and we’re glad to see she keeps it up.

She’s Still Mourning the Loss of Her Mother

Every year on her mother’s birthday and again on the anniversary of her passing, Reba and her siblings pay tribute to their dearly departed mother. When her mother, Jaqueline, passed away in 2020, she was devastated. Though she had some time to prepare for her mother’s battle with cancer, the passing was still a lot for her to handle.

Before her mother’s passing, she released a song about her in 2019. It was entitled “You Never Gave Up On Me,” and detailed her sincerest thanks for the woman who gave her life. She recalled her mother’s protection and encouragement. “One year ago yesterday, Mama went to heaven,” Reba wrote in the caption of an Instagram. “I know she’s still not giving up on me. Thank you Mama.”

Reba’s Throwback Reminded Her of Simpler Times

Before she was a big country music star, she loved barrel racing with her father, who was a champion in the sport. Though she had grown up participating in rodeos, her dad got real with her about the realities of making a living as a barrel racer. He knew where her true talents lay, and he took the opportunity to encourage her where she needed it.

Back in 2011, she opened up to Country Music Television about just how much that conversation with her father devastated her, but simultaneously, how it changed her path forever.  “When I got good attention from the singing, I knew that was probably where I needed to land,” she shared. We’re glad that conversation changed her life for the better!