Reba McEntire’s Brother Skipped Her First Wedding in Protest — ‘Time Proved Him Right’

Reba McEntire had a few reasons to divorce her first husband, Charlie Battles, not least of which was the distaste some of her family members had for him. The country star comes from a close-knit brood. And there were things that her brother Pake McEntire didn’t like about their relationship. Keep reading to discover why he didn’t think she should have married Battles and why she eventually agreed he was right.

Reba McEntire in a sparkly, dark green dress, smiling for a picture at the the 94th Annual Academy Awards
Reba McEntire | David Livingston/Getty Images

Reba McEntire married for the first time when she was 21

In Reba: My Story, McEntire shared Battles grew on her following his first divorce. Though she had reservations at first, she eventually fell in love with him despite their ten-year age gap. “He was becoming my whole world,” she shared. So, she said no one was really surprised when they announced their plans to marry.

The betrothed couple chose the first day of summer as their wedding date, June 21, 1976, when she was 21. “We married at the Stringtown Baptist Church in Stringtown, Oklahoma,” she wrote. “We had a tough time finding anyone to marry us since Charlie had been married before.

According to McEntire, “about all” of her family attended, but one important person was missing — Pake.

Reba McEntire’s brother didn’t think she should marry a man with two kids, so he skipped her first wedding

Reba McEntire in a white fringe dress
Reba McEntire | Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

McEntire shared in her autobiography that she personally asked Pake to come to the wedding, but he refused. “He didn’t think I should be marrying a man with two kids,” she wrote, “and time proved him right about that.”

When she asked him to come, and he told her he wouldn’t, she said she didn’t say anything else. “I didn’t beg but I was terribly hurt,” she shared.

But she also noted that she felt Pake might have been jealous of her relationship with Battles, noting they’d always been best friends. Her husband would get priority in her life, and she thought her brother had a hard time with that.

Still, Pake wasn’t wrong to be concerned about the impact of the union on his sister in the end. “I was insecure and just plain immature when I got married,” she confessed.

How time proved Reba McEntire’s brother right about her first marriage

McEntire’s two stepchildren with Battles played a little part in the “unhappy unraveling” of their marriage, she noted in Reba: My Story. She recalled buying a shaving kit which she lovingly wrapped with care to give to him for Christmas.

Without noticing the effort she’d put into the presentation, Battles allowed the children to rip through the pretty packaging instead of taking the time to open it himself. She emphasized she wasn’t upset at her stepchildren but was hurt that Battles didn’t seem to care.

“That shaving kit was a symbol of all that was unhappy to me about our marriage,” she concluded. They divorced in 1987.

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