‘Supermarket tabloid’ stories about Reba McEntire inspired her to write her book


When singer and actress Reba McEntire felt “the press had gone too far” in the 90s, she wrote a book to try to clear things up. Specifically, she pointed to published accusations that she stole two husbands from their first wives. These inflammatory stories were a “hurtful exaggeration of the truth,” she said.

In 1994 Reba: my story, she acknowledged that everything she did as a country superstar was to be “reinterpreted”. And while she admitted to having “compelling personal reasons” for writing her story, she also confessed to wanting to “set the record straight” – especially about her husband’s first wives.

Reba McEntire | Vivian Zink/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Reba McEntire and tabloid articles in Star magazine

In the preface to McEntire’s book, she recalled the time her second husband, Narvel Blackstock, presented her with a copy of the “supermarket tabloid, Star”, which ran a story with the headline “Reba Stole Our Husbands”.

While they would normally laugh at “those gossip stories,” McEntire said she was fed up. She said: “This time the press has gone too far.

The story accused McEntire of “stealing” both Blackstock and her first husband, Charlie Battles, from their former wives. She said the magazine published “wicked interviews with Lisa Gilbert, Narvel’s first wife”, who had “long since remarried”, as well as “former Mrs. Charlie Battles”.

Why the two exes decided to speak to the tabloids when they did was “beyond” McEntire. But according to her, “what they allegedly said was a hurtful exaggeration of the truth”.

Reba McEntire and Charlie Battles

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McEntire was apparently candid in her recollection of the roots of her first marriage to Battles. They crossed paths during the rodeo era, before she broke into the music industry. She wrote that he was “badly married” with two children, and also ten years older than her.

They shared a kiss after spending a day together, and soon after Battles left his wife. McEntire wrote that the news left her “flabbergasted” because “there had been no talk of a divorce”.

While she continued to see Battles at rodeos, she said they didn’t become an item for a while after their split. And when they started dating, she told him she didn’t want to see him anymore after she left for college.

She noted that Battles was a “persistent man” and that had she been successful, the relationship would have ended early. However, she began to rely on him when he helped her through the loss of her grandfather.

Following this event, they married on June 21, 1976 when McEntire was 21 years old. She admitted she was “insecure and just plain immature” when she first became married – even still afraid of the dark.

Reba McEntire and Narvel Blackstock

Reba McEntire holds the arm of Narvel Blackstock, both seated and dressed in black

Reba McEntire and Narvel Blackstock | Rick Diamond/WireImage

As McEntire’s music career took off, her marriage to Battles fell apart. Perhaps out of loneliness, his attraction to Blackstock, his steel guitarist at the time, grew subtly. But according to McEntire, both marriages ended before a new relationship began.

“Narvel Blackstock didn’t break up my marriage and I didn’t break up his,” she said in her book. She wrote that she didn’t want to get into an “impossible rebound situation” and was careful about entering a new relationship.

McEntire and Blackstock both divorced in 1987, and she noted that she might not have remarried had she not wanted children. Notably, she said Battles told her she would have to choose between a career and her own children in their marriage. So she made up for not having children.

However, she said being with Blackstock changed that feeling. They married on June 3, 1989 and welcomed their son, Shelby Blackstock, in 1990. They divorced in 2015 after 26 years of marriage.

RELATED: Reba McEntire Said Of Narvel Blackstock’s Divorce: ‘It Was The Best Thing To Take My Marbles And Go Play Somewhere Else’


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