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Reba McEntire is a chart-topping, award-winning country music singer who has acted in films and starred on her own sitcom. She also owns several businesses.
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Always a strong businesswoman, the singer understood early on the importance music videos would have for her career. Her first video, for the single "Whoever's in New England" (1986), artfully told the story of a suburban housewife tortured by the idea of her philandering husband and his trips up north to visit a mistress. Employing well-known actors and directors, the singer took full advantage of this visual medium to showcase the strong narratives of her songwriting,
using videos to tell full and compelling stories. In the future, her penchant for drama would not only drive record sales, it would fuel an unexpected acting career.
Also in 1986, McEntirereleased the album What Am I Gonna Do About You, and was named both "Female Vocalist of the Year" and "Entertainer of the Year" by the Country Music Association. Additionally, the singer was named best female vocalist by the CMA for four consecutive years, from 1984 to '87.
The momentum didn't stop there. McEntire went on to churn out hit after hit, some more critically acclaimed than others, but most selling by the millions. In 1990, she released Rumor Has It, an album that eventually sold 3 million copies, going triple platinum by 1999.
On March 16, 1991, tragedy struck when a charter plane carrying eight members of McEntire's band crashed. There were no survivors, and the accident left the singer stunned and reeling. McEntire turned back to her music and, out of her grief, came a bleak but immensely popular album, For My Broken Heart, which she dedicated to her deceased bandmates. In the late 1990s, she recorded duets with Brooks & Dunn and Linda Davis, which were fan favorites.
Adding even more to her plate, the singer successfully made the crossover from music to film. Taking quickly to her second career, she would go on to act in the film Tremors (1990), as well as in several made-for-television movies. In 2001, the WB Network launched a TV sitcom called Reba, starring the country music star as a divorcée trying to raise a teenage daughter. The show ran for six seasons and garnered McEntire a Golden Globe Award.
In 2003, McEntire released the album Room to Breathe, which went on to earn U.S. platinum status. Reba: Duets (2007) followed, also going platinum in the U.S. Two years later, the singer released Keep On Loving You (2009), her first project to go gold in the U.S. since 1986's What Am I Gonna Do About You. That same year, McEntire broke a CMA record, surpassing Dolly Parton as the most nominated female artist in the 43-year history of the CMA Awards.
What is the secret of McEntire's success? "To succeed in life," she has said, "you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone."
In 1976, Reba McEntire married steer wrestling champion and rancher Charlie Battles. The couple owned a ranch in Oklahoma. But in 1987, just as McEntire's musical career had begun to soar, the marriage collapsed. After their divorce, the singer moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to refocus on her music. In 1989, McEntire wed her manager, Narvel Blackstock, who already had three children from a previous marriage. In 1990, the couple would welcome a son, Shelby McEntire Blackstock, into their blended family.
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Today's country stars run the gamut in terms of musical style, blending classic country sounds with bluegrass, pop and rock, among other genres. Explore our group of contemporary country stars to learn more about musicians like Emmylou Harris, Brad Paisley, Reba McEntire, Vince Gill, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Jennifer Nettles, Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert.
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