How Reba McEntire Got Stuck In A Love Triangle With Narvel Blackstock And Her First Husband

Reba McEntire and Narvel Blackstock together

Steve Eichner/Getty Images

Divorce is rarely if ever a comfortable process — especially if you’re stuck in a love triangle like Reba McEntire was. The country icon, who was married twice, tied the knot with her first husband, Charlie Battles, in 1976. “I loved Charlie with all my heart; I wanted to marry him […] We had a lot of fun,” McEntire once told CNN of Battles, who was a decade older than her and already had two children from a previous marriage.

 

They ultimately remained together for 11 years before splitting in 1987, with McEntire citing “choosing her career over [her] marriage.” However, just two years later, McEntire got married again. In 1989, she said “I do” to Narvel Blackstock, a guitarist in her band. In the country star’s autobiography, “Reba: My Story,” the singer detailed how she didn’t even speak to Blackstock the first time they met, in 1980, primarily because she was still married to Battles at the time.

Since McEntire’s first marriage went on for the following seven years after she initially met Blackstock, the two men crossed paths and were even friends at one point. “It was a very difficult time for me from a couple of different standpoints,” Blackstock said of McEntire and Battles’ divorce in “Reba: My Story.” He added, “It was awkward because Charlie and I had been buddies,” referring to the increasing involvement he had in her life.

 

McEntire’s marriage was already on the rocks

By the time Reba McEntire and Charlie Battles were divorcing, the country star had already decided to cut him out of her career, appointing Narvel Blackstock to help manage it instead. However, amid their new professional collaboration, Blackstock and McEntire caught each other’s eye more romantically too. Despite their budding romance, McEntire clarified in her memoir that her feelings for Blackstock did not influence the decision to end her marriage with Battles. “I had to tell Narvel straight out, ‘This is what I wanted to do with my life, for myself. I didn’t divorce Charlie because of you,'” she wrote.

Notably, Battles had a growing issue with McEntire’s stardom and had reportedly even started to become controlling towards her. According to “Reba: My Story,” the breaking point in the country icon’s lengthy marriage to Battles came when he stole money from her, making the singer finally realize that it was time to call it a day. Meanwhile, Blackstock was also going through a divorce from his first wife around the same time things turned sour between McEntire and Battles. “I was living as an unhappy person,” he shared in her autobiography, while McEntire re-emphasized that “both marriages had been dying for years.”

Reba McEntire and Narvel Blackstock together

McEntire and Blackstock ultimately split up too
Frazer Harrison/acm2009
In 1989, Reba McEntire and Narvel Blackstock tied the knot, and less than a year later, they welcomed their first and only child, Shelby Blackstock, who went on to become a race car driver. However, after nearly three decades together, McEntire and Blackstock announced their split in 2015. During an appearance on “The Drew Barrymore Show,” the country star admitted that their relationship had turned into “a situation that was always business” over the years, elaborating, “I think it works for some people. They can be married or have a relationship and work together. Our work was all the time.”

Notably, given McEntire’s stunning net worth of almost $100 million at the time of writing, it didn’t come as a surprise when Blackstock reportedly walked away with almost half of her fortune thanks to their divorce settlement. Although the singer-songwriter didn’t want the divorce, she found strength in her faith to move forward, as she shared in a 2016 interview with “CMT Radio Live.”

About five years after her split from Narvel, McEntire struck up a relationship with a new man, actor Rex Linn. The two originally met nearly 30 years earlier on the set of “The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw,” as McEntire confirmed during a 2021 appearance on “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen,” but they were just friends until the year prior. In a follow-up chat with Cohen, in 2024, McEntire confirmed that she would be open to getting married again someday. You know what they say — third time’s the charm!

 

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