So many relationships start off as friendships and develop into something so much more meaningful. It’s just so funny that these relationships were right in front of them the entire time, waiting to happen, but sometimes it takes two divorces and a global pandemic to realize who can truly make you happy.
As is the case with country music icon Reba McEntire and her boyfriend and actor Rex Linn.
The two met in 1991, while working on Kenny Rogers’ film The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw.
Reba talked about their first encounter while appearing on Andy Cohen’s Watch What Happens Live in 2021.
“We kept in contact over the years, we both know the same people,” she explained. “So it was just like good friends getting back together and having dinner … then we started texting and talking on the telephone and getting to know each other better during the quarantine.” She’s since called him a “a very, very sweetheart of a guy.”
At the time they met, Reba was married to film producer Narvel Blackstock, and remained married to him until 2015. After that, she dated businessman Anthony “Skeeter” Lasuzzo for two years.
In early 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic forced us into quarantine, Reba and Rex began hanging out. By October, she confirmed him being her new beau on her podcast, Living & Learning.
“It’s good to have a person to talk to, laugh with, get into subjects about what’s going on,” Reba said of her new relationship with Rex. “Discussions about our past, our family, funny stories, him being an actor, me being an actress. And he’s very into my music. I’m very into his career.”
“Whatever happens in the future, we’re very stable,” she added. “I look forward to having more things to look forward to.”
Last October, Reba talked with People where she opened up more about how the two came to see each other in a more romantic light after knowing each other nearly 30 years.
“I’d known Rex since ’91 when we worked on the movie The Gambler Returns with Kenny Rogers,” the “Does He Love You” singer shared. “Then in January 2020, I saw him again when I shot an appearance on the TV show Young Sheldon, which he is on. He said, ‘Let’s have dinner when you get through.’ And I said, ‘OK!’ He made me laugh my butt off on our first date, which we didn’t even know was a date.”
But as we all know, by March 2020, human interaction was cut back significantly, and there was no exception for singer and actor. But they did what they could to make it work.
“He was in Los Angeles, and I was in Oklahoma because my Mama had just died,” she said. “We didn’t get to see each other from March to June, but we’d talk over Zoom and FaceTime four to five times each day. We created a bond and an intimacy that was getting to know each other without being physical.”
Although she wasn’t really looking for a relationship after her two recent break ups, she’s sure happy that she found what she did in her new partner.
“[Rex is] the love of my life,” she said proudly. “We’re pretty much inseparable.”
Being in a happy relationship and finding more time to give back, she is now embarking on a project that will help rejuvenate a previously “dying city” in Oklahoma.
Following her mother’s death, she was introduced to the idea of helping the Choctaw Nation, a Native American tribe in southeastern Oklahoma, in an attempt to bring the town of Atoka back to life.
Atoka has sentimental value to Reba as she grew up in Atoka County. Their plan started with the opening of a restaurant called Reba’s Place, which opened earlier this year.
“Music and the fans helped build this place and get it all together,” she said in the statement for the opening. “And that’s what a restaurant is all about, where people can come in, visit and eat.”
The restaurant is just the start to what will contribute to help fund essential projects in the future for the Choctaw Nation Reservation. To jumpstart it, Reba gave money to the Nation and they matched her, each going 50/50 on the project.
“I put my money in on them,” she told the New York Times in a recent interview, “and they made things happen that I never thought could have happened.”
The money made from the restaurant will go towards, “health, education and housing initiatives for the reservation,” and they made approximately $130,000 every week in February.
After talking with Reba, the NY Times predicts that, “In coming years, if all goes according to plan, Atoka will get an airport, a small water park, an amphitheater, and boutique hotels. Several manufacturing and green energy companies are already setting up headquarters here.”
All very exciting things happening for Reba and all well-deserved as she stands out as a truly inspirational light in being successful and wanting to give back to her community. All while being happily in love!