Reba McEntire’s First Husband ‘Kind of Impressed’ Her With an Aggressive Display

When Reba McEntire met her first husband, Charlie Battles, in 1971, she didn’t know he was her future spouse. In fact, she said she thought of trying to match him with her sister. But she mentioned two displays from him that impressed her, one of which was a violent outburst directed at one of her old boyfriends.

Reba McEntire sings into a microphone and makes a fist, wearing a red and black fringe jacket
Reba McEntire | Jeff Kravitz/ACMA2019/FilmMagic for ACM

Reba McEntire met Charlie Battles at the rodeo

According to McEntire’s autobiography, Reba: My Story, she first met Battles in the rodeo scene when she was still a teenager. Notably, she came from a steer-roping family and competed in barrel racing herself. At the time she met Battles, she seemingly didn’t see him in a romantic light but mentioned him to her sister, Alice.

Though Battles was ten years older and married with two children, McEntire became infatuated with him. The two eventually began a courtship after his marriage ended. This was before she kicked off her country music career and while she was still in college.

McEntire noted she would have ended their relationship early on if she’d had any “backbone” but also mentioned two things Battles did that impressed her at that age. One was giving her a shoulder to lean on after the death of her grandfather. But the other scene that somewhat flattered her erupted as an effect of his “protective” nature.

Charlie Battles threw Reba McEntire’s ex boyfriend through a window

Reba McEntire poses for a portrait in a pink dress circa 1976.
Reba McEntire | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

As McEntire recalled in her autobiography, she and Battles were at a dance where she saw her old boyfriend, Bobby. Though he was there with a date, he made eye contact with McEntire and rudely gave her the middle finger. It upset her and she insisted on leaving the dance.

McEntire said she wouldn’t tell Battles what Bobby did until they were outside. She seemingly didn’t think he would go back into the dance in a storm of rage. But the dance was ending and Bobby was nowhere to be found.

So, McEntire and Battles left and ended up at the Holiday Inn where Battles found his intended target. “Without a word, Charlie just went for Bobby like a little Bulldog and threw him through a double plate-glass window,” she wrote.

According to McEntire, Bobby quietly stood up and walked away and no one said anything to Battles about the scene as they left the hotel. “I was a little shocked and embarrassed by Charlie’s actions, but kind of impressed too,” she noted. “No one had ever fought for me before.”

Reba McEntire said Charlie Battles revealed a ‘domineering nature’ as her husband

McEntire married Battles in 1976 but things were unraveling by the late ’80s. She recalled in Reba: My Story how he would cause tension in her work and even called her a “wench” in front of her band. What she once “admired and loved best” about him was his “protectiveness” but she said it transformed into a “domineering nature” as she became more successful and well known.

So, in 1987, the “Fancy” singer pulled the plug on her marriage to Battles, choosing instead to focus on what was best for herself and her career.

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