Reba McEntire started her career as a wide-eyed ranch girl, singing at rodeos. She scored her first huge break when she was invited to sing the national anthem during the 1974 National Finals Rodeo. Just as her career blossomed, she fell in love and married steer-wrestling champion Charlie Battles.
The two first met through rodeoing when McEntire was still a teenager while Battles – who was ten years older – was married with two children. Though she initially didn’t consider him a potential romantic interest, she was impressed by the esteem held for Battles in the rodeo circuit.
But when Battles’ relationship ended, the two eventually began a courtship. Battles became McEntire’s shoulder to lean on during the death of her grandfather. Making her flattered the most was Battles’ protective nature.
A Good Relationship Eventually Going Sour
In the 1980s, Reba McEntire was unstoppable. Her album My Kind of Country catapulted her into superstardom. It also helped her earn the first of four consecutive Female Vocalist of the Year Awards from the Country Music Association.
By the end of the 1980s, McEntire finally received her first Grammy. However, little did she know she would soon lose her husband. Charlie Battles asked her to take things slowly, but McEntire decided not to. Eventually, the couple’s relationship turned sour.
“I guess I chose my career over my marriage,” she explained.
Even sadder was that when McEntire became more successful and well-known, Battles turned his protectiveness into a “domineering nature.” McEntire recalled in her autobiography Reba: My Story how Battles would cause tension in her work. In one instance, he called her a wench in front of her band.
So, in 1987, McEntire called it quits. She left the ranch she shared with Charlie Battles and ended their marriage. She then chose to focus on what was best for herself and her career.
Charlie Battles, Reba McEntire