Reba McEntire Thought Her First Husband Was a ‘Great Catch’ for Her Older Sister

When Reba McEntire met her first husband, she already knew who the rodeo star was and was “taken” by the esteem he held in the scene. But she thought he might be a good match for her older sister, Alice.

What did Alice think of her idea? And when did McEntire start looking at him as a romantic interest for herself?

Reba McEntire, shown at the 54th CMA Awards, thought her first husband would be a good match for her sister
Reba McEntire | Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for CMA

Reba McEntire thought her sister would like her first husband

In her autobiography Reba: My Story, McEntire wrote that she met her first husband, Charlie Battles, through the rodeo scene in 1971. He was a certified star as a world-champion steer wrestler and someone she knew of long before she met him.

She walked over to say hello to Battles, and he waved at her. She thought he was “ruggedly handsome” but didn’t think there was any way he would have been interested in her.

At the time, she was a “wide-eyed barrel racer who was taken with the stature that [he] held,” but she had him in mind as a suitor for someone else. “I thought he would be a great catch for Alice,” she shared.

But Alice told her she wasn’t interested in the least because he was married with two kids. So, McEntire let it go.

Reba McEntire’s sister passed over a chance at her first husband

So, Alice and Battles weren’t meant to be. But he eventually connected with her little sister.

Though he was older, married, and a father of two, he and McEntire shared a kiss while celebrating after a rodeo in 1974. And soon after, he ended his marriage, which supposedly was unhappy for some time.

Still, McEntire said she was “flabbergasted” when Battles left his wife because she didn’t think he would be interested in her. She didn’t know he took her that seriously even after they kissed.

“I just hadn’t been around Charlie enough even to think he’d be interested in me,” she shared. But then he started visiting her at college, and she eventually told him she didn’t want to see him anymore. She added she would have ended the relationship for good “right then and there” if she’d had the backbone.

But he was persistent, and they were an item soon enough. That was also because they had a lot in common, from handling cattle to having a funny and light-hearted side in addition to their seriousness. Another part of his appeal to her was how protective he was, which he once proved by putting her ex-boyfriend through a window for flipping her off at a dance.

Reba McEntire spent most of the week alone after her first marriage

After her sister passed over a chance with him — and McEntire almost did, too — she married Battles in 1976. But the couple didn’t have much of a honeymoon, though they did get a room at a Holiday Inn. “It wasn’t an especially romantic time, as we’d gotten in late,” she explained. “No roses. No champagne.”

She had a singing job, and he had rodeos. So, they spent more of the week after their marriage apart than together. Perhaps it was a bad omen.

In those early days, McEntire said she would come to miss Battles terribly. But those feelings didn’t last.

After some “unforgivable” behavior, they divorced in 1987.

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