With extensive experience in music, television and film spanning over 40 years, Reba McEntire apparently has the golden touch in country music.
Throw in her wholesome image, signature fiery mane, as well as her bright smile and you get one of the most universally adored celebrities in Hollywood.
But there’s even more to her than meets the eye (and ears):
1. She lost millions on her estate
After her unprecedented 2015 divorce from Narvel Blackstock, her husband of 26 years, McEntire listed her 12,816-square-foot lakefront mansion and surrounding property for sale at $7.9 million. After almost a year with no bites, it reportedly went for $5 million to be subdivided into 15 lots with new high-end homes. However, with over 40 million records sold and her other successful ventures, McEntire probably hasn’t lost any sleep on it.
2. Relationship with Kelly Clarkson
Their chemistry is evident in their duet-cover of Clarkson’s hit “Because of You," but the association goes beyond vocal harmony. After Clarkson’s 2013 marriage to McEntire’s stepson at the time, Brandon Blackstock, they effectively became in-laws. Although divorced from Narvel, the singers remain close. During an interview with E! News, McEntire revealed they spent last Christmas together.
3. She’s the current incarnation of Colonel Sanders
She’s the first internationally known musician and the first female to take on the role. “I grew up with Kentucky Fried Chicken. It’s part of my story, and I’m so excited to now be part of theirs,” McEntire said when the fast-food chain broke the announcement early this year. It might be hard to tell in the suit and the mustache, but the voice says it all, literally.
4. No. 1 country albums in each of the last four decades
It’d be tedious to name them all, but she’s released 13 No. 1 albums. Given she’s only 61 years old and the turn of the decade is around the corner, don’t be surprised if she adds more to the tally. Plenty of artists create music year after year, but a select few can do it with such consistent quality.
Citing an obligation to her fans across America, she partnered with the Outnumber Hunger campaign in 2015. “Knowing that one in six Americans struggle with hunger means my fans, and people I see every day, need help,” she said.
6. A family of singers
McEntire’s mother never got to fulfill her dream of becoming a country singer, but her legacy lives on in more than one of her children, according to Reba’s official website. Pake, her older brother who suffered a stroke in 2015, achieved a No. 5 country hit with the single “Savin’ My Love for You” in 1986 off his debut album. And McEntire’s younger sister, Susie, is a gospel singer.
7. The power of the National Anthem
Although McEntire recorded music alongside her siblings at a young age, her talents weren’t realized until 1974, when famous country singer Red Steagall heard her sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the National Rodeo Finals in Oklahoma City during her sophomore year of college.
8. Original aspirations
McEntire graduated from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 1976 with an elementary education major and music minor. She probably would’ve been an exceptional music teacher anyway.