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Reba Nell McEntire was born March 28, 1955 in McAlester, Oklahoma. She grew up on a cattle ranch in Chockie, Oklahoma, with her school teacher mother, Jackie; her rancher and rodeo-cowboy father, Clark, and her siblings Alice, Pake and Susie. Reba was born into a meager existence. Her family was extremely poor, but their lack of money and material possesions was compensated for by the love the family shared.

Since her parents could not afford hired labor, Reba and her siblings were subjected to what today might seem very harsh labor for children of their ages. The children had to help gather, feed and care for the cattle. They worked long, hard hours, sometimes in extreme temperatures. However, they felt they were doing their fair share, and when they realized that their labor was imperative for the family's economic survival, the children did not complain.

Throughout her youth, Reba sang whenever she had the chance. She gave her first public performance in the first grade Christmas pageant, singing, "Away in a Manger". While in high school, Reba performed in honky tonks and at rodeos. In 1974, she was hired to sing the National Anthem at the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City. A recording artist named Red Steagall heard Reba singing and told her if she would go to Nashville, he would help her all he could.

Later that year, Reba, reluctantly set off for Nashville with her mother. While there, Reba recorded several demonstration tapes. She went back to Oklahoma to await a record deal. In November of 1975, she received one from Polygram Mercury Records. She released her first, self-titled, album in 1976.

Reba had met a man named Charlie Battles at a rodeo in 1971. At the time, Charlie was married with children, and Reba had no romantic interest toward him. However, they did develop a friendship. Eventually, Charlie was divorced and a relationship was kindled. Charlie was a lot like Reba's father, and Reba felt secure. She was a very naive young adult who was still afraid of the dark at age twenty-one, and she felt Charlie could protect her. They were married on June 21, 1975.

In the early years of their marriage, Reba and Charlie were extremely poor, but they were happy together. The first house they lived in was a shack that they rented for $10.00 a month. As Reba became more successful, they were able to afford more things, and eventually moved into a nice house.

Reba's financial and professional life was thriving, but her marriage was beginning to die. The more successful she became, the more she and Charlie would have problems. The only times they spoke, if they were speaking at all, was to argue. After a great deal of contemplation, Reba filed for divorce in 1987.

The divorce proceeding was long and emotionally draining. As time went by, Reba found herself drawing closer to Narvel Blackstock for support. Narvel had been in Reba's band since 1980, and they had developed a close friendship. He was going through a divorce around the same time as Reba, so they cried on each other's shoulders ( their romantic relationship came after the divorce, it did not in any way cause the demises of both their marriages) . Eventually they fell in love, and were married on June 3, 1989.

While Reba and Narvel were on their honeymoon in Mexico, Reba became ill. She thought she was suffering from Montezuma's Revenge, and they cut their trip short, and returned to Nashville. Back home she discovered that she was not suffering from Montezumna's Revenge after all. She says, "I'll never forget the excitement when sitting on the side of the bathtub in our condo, the white dot on the pregancy tests turned bright pink." Reba was pregnant with her first child. Shelby Steven McEntire Blackstock was born February 23, 1990. Reba says that being a mother is the greatest gift God has given her, and she cherishes motherhood.

Shelby was a Godsend in many ways. Not only did he fill the void Reba had in her heart, he also helped her to get throught the most traumatic time in her life. On March 16, 1991, a plane carrying seven members of Reba's band and her tour manager, crashed into the side of a mountain. The crash occurred because of a miscommunication between the pilot and the tower. These friends that she lost will always hold a special place in Reba's heart. In her "Singer's Diary" her show she told the story of their early, tragic demise, and she dedicated the song "If I Had Only Known" to their memory.

Reba is known as a pioneer in country music. She opened a lot of doors for newcomers in country music, not just female newcomers either. In 2001, Reba received rave reviews when she starred on Broadway in Annie Get Your Gun. She broke down even more doors when her sitcom, "Reba" debuted on the WB in the fall of 2001. The show, which is set in Texas, depicts Reba's family which includes her philandering husband Brock, pregnant teenage daughter Cheyenne, son - in - law Van, daughter Kira, and son Jake. It has received rave reviews and great ratings.

Through all of the adversities in her life, Reba has came out on top. She has overcame poverty, a bad marriage, and the deaths of several of her closest friends. Despite these hindrances, she has had tremendous successess in the music business acting and in her life. Reba has proven that dreams can come true if you are willing to persevere.

Reba and Shelby.

Reba and Narvel

Reba with her mom, dad, and siblings during the making of her Thanksgiving Special.

Reba Facts

Click here to learn about Reba's sister Susie Luchsinger.

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