The New Year promises to be a big one for Reba McEntire. Her projects for 2020 include an arena concert tour, more co-headlining dates with Brooks & Dunn in Las Vegas and even a chatty new podcast. But her ambitions don’t end there. “I’d love to do a good ol’ Western movie. I grew up on Westerns,” the Oklahoma-born star told extremereba.com in 2015. “I’d love to do more television. I’d love to do more Broadway.”
At 64, Reba has lost none of the ambition that made her the Queen of Country Music; if anything, she’s hungrier now. “It’s not even a suggestion to me to quit. I’m not a quitter. I persevere. I continue on,” she told PBS in early 2019.
Yet her drive to succeed has taken a toll on Reba’s personal life: She and Anthony “Skeeter” Lasuzzo, her beau of approximately two years, split in May — as Closer Weekly exclusively revealed. “We still talk and we’re friends,” she told Us Weekly after news broke, “but just decided to go our separate ways.” Although insiders tell Closer Weekly the former couple was “the real deal,” Skeeter, a retired oil geologist, was looking for a partner who would be more available. “He couldn’t handle her constant travel and work schedule. He likes to live a simple life, enjoying his homes and his hobbies,” says a pal. “But Reba can’t sit still for long. She wanted to get back to work.”
The success of Reba’s latest record, Stronger Than the Truth, her first country album since her 2015 divorce from her former husband and manager, Narvel Blackstock, has bolstered her confidence and courage as an artist. “She feels like it’s opened her up to new fans and she loves that. She feels young and energized and is staying open to all new possibilities coming her way,” explains the star’s friend.
Chief among her new endeavors is Reba’s podcast, which will launch in early 2020 on Spotify digital music service. “I’m look- ing forward to sharing some of what I’ve learned from my own life challenges and hopefully learning more along the way,” says the star, who also has live performance dates set up through December 2020, in a press release.
When she isn’t working, Reba isn’t lonely. She remains grateful to have such a strong circle of family and friends. “She’s been spending a lot of time with her siblings,” says the insider about Alice, 68, Pake, 66, and Susie McEntire, 62. “She’s also close with her son Shelby [Blackstock]. They’ll all take trips together. They’ve met up in Colorado a few times with her stepson Brandon [Blackstock] and his wife, Kelly [Clarkson].”
Reba relishes her family time, but she’s happiest when she’s telling stories through her songs. “I love country music, what it stands for, how it relates to people of every walk of life — male, female, all ages,” she enthused to Billboard in early 2019. “If a song has touched my heart, hopefully it’ll touch your heart when I sing it. I’m the conduit. I’m the one that delivers the message. That’s my job on earth. I feel very strongly about that.”
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