The Moment Reba McEntire Knew It Was Time to Divorce Her Husband

Reba McEntire was married to her first husband, Charlie Battles, from 1976 to 1987. The county singer described the moment she realized it was time to sever ties and get a divorce.

How Reba McEntire met her first husband

Reba McEntire |  Mickey Bernal/WireImage
Reba McEntire | Mickey Bernal/WireImage

McEntire describes her first husband as “the first great love of my life,” in her book Reba: My Story. She says she met Battles through the rodeo. She knew about him before they even met.

McEntire says Battles was a rodeo star. He made a name for himself as the world-champion steer wrestler in the International Rodeo Association from 1970 to 1972. McEntire was impressed with Battles’ “ruggedly handsome” build and his charisma. She didn’t think he would be interested in her, but it turns out she was wrong.

One day, while Battles was walking his horse at the rodeo, McEntire came over to say hello. However, McEntire later found out he was married with two children.

Three years later, in 1974, McEntire was at a bar. She says she was drinking and having fun. According to her, Battles pulled her into his lap. The next thing she knew, she kissed him on his mouth. After that incident, McEntire says she found out Battles decided to leave his wife. A few months later, they were a couple.

Reba McEntire began to notice problems in her relationship

Reba McEntire attends the 54th Academy Of Country Music Awards |  Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Reba McEntire attends the 54th Academy Of Country Music Awards | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

McEntire and Battles were married on June 21, 1976. She was happy to be married and start her new life with her husband. However, she says there were problems that cropped up during their marriage.

McEntire says one thing she noticed was that Battles was indifferent about her career as a country singer. He didn’t seem excited about what she did for a living. According to McEntire, he seemed to think his job as a champion steer wrestler was more important.

McEntire also says there was a lot of tension with her stepchildren. She says she didn’t feel included. She recalled one day when Battles wouldn’t let her come along when he and his sons went to feed cattle, something she and her husband always did together. According to her, instead of saying he needed time with his sons, he said there was no room for her, and he drove off.

The troubles between McEntire and Battles seeped into her professional life. When things began to slow down with Battles’ career, she hired him to help with her band. However, McEntire says his presence was very stressful. She says he had a way of working that clashed with the band members. The singer says Battles even called her a “wench” in front of her band mates.

The moment Reba McEntire knew she had to get a divorce

McEntire says over time, Battles went from being protective to “domineering.” The last straw for her was when Battles allegedly stole money from her. Since there was so much tension between the couple, McEntire asked Battles not to come with her to her next show.

Battles became angry, so she asked him if he needed any money as a way to calm him down. McEntire says he responded by telling her he didn’t need money because he took $400 from her purse.

McEntire became angry, and at one point, she says Battles looked like he was about to hit her with a shaving kit she bought him for Christmas. She says everything that happened in their marriage combined with those incidents made her realize it was time to get a divorce. She says her gut feelings told her it was “time to get out.”

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