Reba McEntire is one of the most recognizable names in country music, and the superstar has had an incredible career over the decades she's been in the business.
The star has sold over 80 million albums worldwide, been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, starred in her own sitcom as well as on Broadway and in a variety of films and won dozens of awards, including three Grammy Awards and multiple honors from the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association.
It's safe to say McEntire has conquered almost everything in the book, but there are still a few things you might not know about KFC's newest spokesperson — read on for nine of them.
McEntire attended Southeastern Oklahoma State University majoring in elementary education and minoring in music. The 63-year-old had planned to become a teacher like her mom, but life had other plans, with the star releasing her first album soon after graduating.
While in college, McEntire sang with campus singing group the Chorvettes, which is still around today. The group, which consists of men and women, performs old-school country, gospel and 1950s hits at various events.
McEntire's very first film role was in Tremors, alongside Kevin Bacon. The sci-fi film followed small-town residents defending themselves against underground creatures, and McEntire played Heather Gummer, one half of a survivalist couple who help the townspeople fight against the monsters.
“I totally love to act,” the star once told CMT. “I don’t care if it’s a musical, a comedy. I just like to work and interact with other people ... I like to be with other people rather than standing out there by myself.”
During an interview with Us Weekly, the singer revealed that she loves whiskey and 7Up. She also hates liver, had never made a pie, always tells the truth, sleeps with an electric blanket in the winter and always has Kleenex, something to drink and her phone with her.
The more you know!
During a show a the famed Ryman Auditorium in Nashville in 2017, McEntire recalled the first time she ever visited the venue as a child, when her family traveled from Oklahoma to visit the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman.
While watching the show, she felt sick to stomach and tried to tell her mom, who was so focused on the performance that she waved her daughter off to find a bathroom.
“I said, ‘Mama, I don’t feel good,’” McEntire recalled, “‘I think I’m going to throw up.’ She said, ‘Go find a bathroom.’ So I took off and tried to find a bathroom and then finally, I ran out the front door and I vomited right on the front steps."
“Did you all walk in that way?” she cracked. “There was the nicest gentleman came up to me and handed me his handkerchief, and I dabbed my mouth and handed it back to him. Wouldn’t it be cool if he was here today? But I guess he’s not so I’ll go on with the show.”
The star was an avid barrel racer as a child and the talent ran in the family, as her father and her grandfather were both World Champion steer ropers. Her first rodeo was when she was 11, and she quit rodeoing at age 21.
McEntire was actually discovered by performer Red Steagall while singing the National Anthem at the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City in December 1974, who convince the star's mother to bring her to Nashville.
Can’t wait to be back at the @LasVegasNFR tomorrow night to sing the National Anthem! I was discovered there back in 1974 and I’m honored to return as part of @justinboots night. You can watch at 10 PM ET on @CBSSports (DISH channel 158, DirecTV channel 221.) #RebaByJustin pic.twitter.com/qWyKJn7rcm— Reba (@reba) December 14, 2017
McEntire was cast in James Cameron's 1997 blockbuster but ultimately had to turn down the part due to conflicts with her touring schedule. The role went to Kathy Bates, and McEntire went on to star in her own sitcom, Reba, which ran for six seasons.
"I turned it down because they kept moving my schedule, and we had arenas booked," McEntire told Taste of Country. "And then I had 75 people on payroll out there, and we were doing concerts, concerts, concerts, three or four a weekend. And they would say, 'Okay, we need you for these three months.' We said, 'Okay.'"
"We were pretty much telling everybody, 'We're just gonna be gone these three months,'" she continues. "And then they'd say, 'Oh, not these three months, these three months. The arenas were getting booked up, and we were promoting ourselves and our own shows. And so finally, I just had to say, 'Guys, this is not working,' and I pulled out."
As a child, the star sang with some of her family in a group called the Singing McEntires after learning to harmonize from her mom, Jacqueline. She and her siblings sang throughout their childhood, and McEntire made her first-ever recording at age 12 with her brother Pake and sister Susie.
Susie is now a gospel singer, and McEntire told USA Today that was one of the reasons she waited so long to release a gospel album, which featured her sisters and mother.
“My sister Susie is a gospel singer,” she said. “I was the country singer.”
In addition to being a singer, actress and entertainer, McEntire is also a fashion designer, and has a line of clothes available at the department store.
In 2004, when the line launched, Business Wire reported that it would feature career wear, casual wear, novelty wear, sportswear and knit separates.
"Women should feel terrific and confident about how they look each moment of their lives and the clothes that we wear play a huge role in evoking these feelings. I created 'Reba' to help women achieve this," McEntire said in a statement at the time. "The 'Reba' collection will give women a wide selection of related pieces that she can find in one place and build into a wardrobe that works from moment to moment, season to season, for all her separate feelings."
Hill told Larry King in 2006 that she had auditioned to be a backup singer for McEntire before making it big herself. Had Hill gotten the job, she likely would have been in the 1991 plane crash that killed eight of McEntire's band members.
“Well, I didn't get it because I wasn't good enough,” she told King. “I don't think it was because -- I don't think fate had anything to do with that for me. I wasn't a great background singer and I didn't get the part.”
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