Country music legend Reba McEntire rarely does anything quietly.
But in June, that’s exactly what happened: She and her manager husband, Narvel Blackstock, sold their Beverly Hills home for $22.5 million in what Variety magazine called a “hush-hush, off-market deal.”
Now the reason they unloaded the estate is clear: Reba, 60, and Narvel, 58, weren’t just moving out — they were preparing to move on. On Aug. 3, the power pair announced their intention to divorce after 26 years together.
Reba and Narvel at the 2015 Country Music Awards (Photo Credit: Getty Images).
“Despite this being the end of their marriage, they continue to support each other. They have worked together for 35 years and will continue to do so,” read a statement which they jointly approved.
Though Reba’s fans may be shocked, close friends are anything but. “She and Narvel grew apart due to her busy schedule — touring, TV shows, her clothing, shoe and accessory line, and her return to recording,” a confidante tells Closer. Marital tensions mounted, the pal continues: “They were arguing a lot and she didn’t want their personal life to be affecting their professional life.”
Reba performing in Oklahoma in 2013
So Reba and Narvel quietly separated for 20 months while undergoing counseling, “but absence did not make their hearts grow stronger,” the friend says. “They actually both began to realize they were happier apart.”
The next step was getting their family to accept their decision — especially Reba’s daughter-in-law, American Idol alum Kelly Clarkson (who is managed by Narvel). Kelly and her husband, Brandon Blaskstock, Narvel’s son from a previous marriage, “are heartbroken over the divorce,” a source confides. “They did everything they could to try to talk his dad and Reba out [of it].” Reba and Narvel’s son, Shelby Blackstock, 25, is also “devastated over his parents’ decision,” says an insider. “He is extremely close to them both and he wanted very much for them to stay together.”
For the full story on Reba and Narvel, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly on newsstands now!