Driven by her small-town values and work ethic, Reba McEntire, has sold more than 56 million records, earned 31 No. 1 hits and racked up dozens of awards, including seven Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year awards.
The high-energy modern queen of country grew up on a ranch in rural Oklahoma and polished her pipes singing in the family car as they drove around the Midwest to watch her father compete in rodeos.
In 1974, Reba got her big break singing the national anthem at the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City. A country star in the stands heard her performance and invited her to Nashville to record a demo. A record deal, critical acclaim, movie, TV and Broadway fame followed.
Today, you can find Reba touring the world, spending time with family at her Los Angeles home or working on plans to expand the Reba empire.
We love Reba, and here are 10 reasons you should too.
One of the most generous stars in country music, Reba supports numerous charities including Habitat for Humanity and The Salvation Army, which honored her in with the Salvation Army’s Award, a prestigious award presented to five outstanding Americans each year. The songstress also stays true to her Midwestern roots, raising money for Oklahoma Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City and Texoma Medical Center in Dennison, Texas, which is home to the Reba McEntire Rehabilitation Center and the TMC Reba Mobile Mammography Unit.
Reba Loves Troops
In 1999, Reba was part of a USO tour that performed for 9,000 armed forces members serving at Aviano Air Base in Italy. In addition to showing off her pipes, she also spent time visiting with troops, signing autographs and touring the base.
You ‘Little Rascal’
Reba guest-starred in the 1994 feature-length version of “The Little Rascals.” The role of racecar driver A.J. Ferguson came naturally to Reba, a NASCAR fan who often can be found in the stands cheering on her son, Shelby Blackstock, a driver for Rousch Racing Team.
In 2001, Reba earned critical acclaim for her portrayal of Annie Oakley in the Broadway revival of “Annie Get Your Gun.” She followed up in 2005 with a one-night-only show as Nellie Forbush in “South Pacific.” The Carnegie Hall performance, which also received high praise, is available on DVD.
Big Personality, Small Screen
From 2001-2007, Reba graced the small screen on her eponymous TV sitcom. The show, which focused on the fictional Reba’s life as a single mother of a dysfunctional family, garnered a People’s Choice Award and Golden Globe nomination for its star. The show finished its run in 2007, but airs in syndication on ABC Family.
Reba’s empire extends well beyond the stage. In 2005, she launched her own brand of products that includes women’s clothing and accessories and furniture and home décor. The line, available online and at Dillard’s stores nationwide, showcases the country icon’s personal sense of style.
Triumph Over Tragedy
In March 1991, an early-morning plane crash claimed the lives of seven members of Reba’s band, her tour manager and two pilots. For years, the country songstress struggled with grief and heartache. Waylon Jennings, a country crooner who lost friends in the 1959 plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, finally helped ease her pain. Reba later opened up about the crash on an episode of “Oprah’s Master Class,” reminding viewers, “don’t go a day without telling people you love them.”
President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush made a special visit to Houston, Texas, to watch Reba’s 19th concert at the Houston Live Stock Show and Rodeo in March. Reba posted an Instagram photo of the two famous families with the caption “3 of my favorite people in the world!!” The friendly Queen of Country and the former president keep in touch via email.
Reba was reportedly thrilled when her stepson, Brandon Blackstock, married ‘American Idol’ winner Kelly Clarkson in October 2013. Reba and Clarkson met in 2007 when they taped an episode of “CMT Crossroads,” the show that pairs a county artist with a major act from another genre. The two forged a friendship, and in the years that followed, have released a single, music video and performed together at concerts.
A member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1986, the megastar almost didn’t make it to her first performance on “country’s most famous stage.” When entering the Grand Ole Opry House in 1977, the security guard on duty couldn’t find her name on the guest list. After a quick phone call, Reba made it to her performance only to get cut short by a surprise visit by Dolly Parton.