Reba McEntire & Boyfriend Were Friends for 29 Years — She Felt Like a ‘Giddy Teenager’ When They Began Dating

American country singer Reba McEntire and actor Rex Linn started dating in 2020 but have been friends for almost three decades. Get inside their amazing friendship and love story. 

Reba McEntire is one of the biggest names in country music. She has sold over 75 million records worldwide and is often tagged the “Queen of Country.”

Thanks to her incredible talent, McEntire has over 100 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, and 25 of them have reached number one. 

Singer Reba McEntire with partner Rex Linn, holding each other in their home. [Left] | Singer Reba McEntire with partner Rex Linn outside. [Right] | Source: Getty Images

Some of the Oklahoma-born musician’s chart-topping songs include “Can’t Even Get The Blues,” “One Promise Too Late,” “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” and many more. 

However, although McEntire is hugely successful in music, it has not been the case in her marital life as she has been involved in two failed marriages in her lifetime. 

McEntire has not given up on love despite these divorces and is in a relationship with television and film actor Rex Linn, who she has known for a long time. Find out more about their love story. 

Reba McEntire attends the 53nd annual CMA Awards at Bridgestone Arena on November 13, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. | Source: Getty Images

REBA’S PREVIOUS RELATIONSHIPS

Before venturing into music, McEntire was in love with barrel racing. She loved the competition and the Western romance of the rodeo and dreamed of being a barrel-racing champion despite not being that good. 

However, her father believed she had a natural talent for singing and suggested singing at the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City. 

McEntire did just that and blew everyone’s mind. She ended up getting a big break after recording artist Red Steagall, who was present at the rodeo, helped her to land a record deal. 

Although McEntire ended her barrel racing dreams and ventured into music, she did not leave her lover behind. In 1976, she tied the knot with Charlie Battles, a divorced steer-wrestling champion who was ten years older than her. McEntire once said:

“I loved Charlie with all my heart, I wanted to marry him … we had a lot of fun. We rodeoed together, we ranched together.”

After their marriage, her career started to move forward. She and Battles focused on their separate careers. Things turned sour for them, and he asked her to slow down with her career, but she decided not to. They divorced in 1987. 

McEntire met Narvel Blackstock while she was married to Battles. She met Narvel in 1980, and they started working together afterward. Eventually, he joined her band as a guitarist. 

When her marriage to Battles ended, Narvel started working as her band’s manager, and their relationship blossomed. They tied the knot in Lake Tahoe on June 3, 1989, and welcomed their son, Shelby Blackstock, in February 1990. 

McEntire and Narvel’s relationship was going well for so long, but she was taken by surprise when he filed for divorce in 2015. After their divorce was finalized, the songstress had to figure out managing her career and new life as a single woman.

Reba McEntire and Narvel Blackstock at the NBC Fall TCA Press Tour on July 29, 1991. | Source: Getty Images

During an episode of her “Forging Your Own Path” podcast, McEntire said her divorce from Narvel was not her choice. However, despite the disappointment, she became stronger for it. 

Two years after divorcing Narvel, McEntire met Anthony “Skeeter” Lasuzzo, a wildlife photographer and former geologist, while touring and vacationing in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Their romance kicked off instantly after they met.

In April 2019, McEntire said she and Lasuzzo were so much in love, adding that she would not put up with someone for two years if she were not in love with them. 

Reba McEntire and Narvel Blackstock in her dressing room at the 37th Academy of Country Music Awards Show on May 22, 2002. | Source: Getty Images

Throughout McEntire and Lasuzzo’s relationship, he often appeared alongside her at the red carpet or Hollywood events and outings. However, the couple split in November 2019. Their split had no impact on their friendship as they have remained on good terms. 

A source revealed they remain good friends and added that they felt like they were at different points in their lives and could probably get back together when McEntire is ready to settle down a bit more. 

Although McEntire and Linn got closer during the pandemic, it also posed a challenge for them when they had to be separated from each other.

Reba McEntire with husband Narville Blackstock and son Shelby at the 28th annual People’s Choice Awards. | Source: Getty Images

A NEW LOVE STORY 29 YEARS IN THE MAKING

McEntire has been dating “CSI: Miami” star Rex Linn since January 2020. However, they have known each other for a longer time. McEntire opened up about her relationship with Linn during an appearance on “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen.” 

She revealed she met Linn in 1991 when they were doing the Kenny Rogers movie “The Gambler.” She explained that they have kept in contact with each other over the years. McEntire added

“We both know the same people. So it was just like good friends getting back together having dinner in January and we started texting and talking on the telephone…getting to know each other better during the quarantine.”

Reba McEntire performs during CMA 2017 Country Christmas at The Grand Ole Opry on November 14, 2017. | Source: Getty Images

During an episode on her podcast, McEntire described Linn as a sweetheart. She added that it felt good to have someone to talk to, laugh with, and get into subjects about what is going on. 

McEntire and Linn have sweet pet names for each other. The singer calls her actor boyfriend “Sugar Tot” while he calls her “Tater Tot.”

McEntire also revealed she and Linn’s similar backgrounds quickly led to a deep connection. She explained that they know about the music and movie entertainment businesses.

She added that they love working and used to be wannabe cowboys and cowgirls before getting into the entertainment business. McEntire further expressed gratitude for their relationship as they share similar loves and passions and get along so well.

McEntire also discussed her relationship with Linn during a chat with Darius Rocker. She said she felt like a “giddy teenager again,” and Linn inspires her music. She said per Good Morning America: 

“I’m in love, so that really inspires me to find love songs, to find happy songs.”

Besides starring in “CSI: Miami,” Linn also starred in the 1993 film “Cliffhanger” and the 1997 movie “Breakdown.” Linn has never been married but was previously engaged to Renee DeRese in 2010.

ARE THEY GOING TO GET MARRIED?

With McEntire and Linn’s relationship going so well, many of her fans hope they will tie the knot. The singer opened up about it during a reported interview. McEntire revealed she and Linn have talked and giggled about getting married already. 

She joked that if they were ever to have a wedding ceremony, it would be at two o’clock, four o’clock, six o’clock, and eight o’clock because they have so many friends, acquaintances, and family. 

Although McEntire and Linn got closer during the pandemic, it also posed a challenge for them when they had to be separated from each other. However, the lovebirds overcame that challenge through several means. 

For example, they kept in touch through a scheduled “coffee camp.” She revealed that them getting to know each other without any physical aspect was a very special relationship

They started the “coffee camp” while she was staying in Oklahoma, and he was in California, and they have not missed one since March 16, 2021. Linn added that he does not ever want to miss it. 

Besides their digital coffee dates, Linn also revealed that he sent food to McEntire many times as a way to connect with her. Such acts, including their three-hour daily calls, allowed them to develop an emotional intimacy through the long weeks and months of the pandemic. 

McEntire’s relationships and marriages did not always go the long haul, but in Linn, she has found a man who understands and loves her very much. One only wonders when the lovebirds will say their vows and walk down the aisle together. 

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