Reba Plays 'Referee' in Brooks and Dunn Reunion

Longtime friend McEntire was the key to ending the duo's four-year break

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Brooks and Dunn/Reba
Brooks and Dunn pose with Reba McEntire after a press conference in Las Vegas to announce their Caesar's Palace residency. Denise Truscello/WireImage

It all started over an innocent dinner in Nashville. Reba was there. Kix Brooks was there. Ronnie Dunn was there. (There were others, too, but they don't have a wheelbarrow full of chart-topping hits.)

Related: Kix Brooks Spins Candid Thoughts on Today's Country

The three longtime friends were reminiscing about touring together in the Nineties when someone threw out an idea that they should tour again.

"Kix said, 'I'm for it.' Ronnie said, 'I'm in,' and I said, 'You know I'm in!' They're my brothers," Reba says, thinking back to that dinner about six month ago.

And with that, the wheels were set in motion. Little did any of them know at the time that they would end up on a stage at Caesars Palace's legendary Colosseum in Las Vegas in early December after being introduced as Las Vegas' newest headliners.

"We've been going to dinners and going on vacations together, which is pretty amazing considering Ronnie and I hate each other and don't get along," Kix jokes, poking fun at the longtime rumors of discord between him and his career partner of 20 years. "We love hanging out and playing music. We thought, let's do it somewhere besides the campfire."

Over the next roughly two years, Reba and Brooks and Dunn's "campfire," so to speak, will be the 4,300 seat theater in the middle of the desert. But, there's always a chance that sparks could fly. That's why Reba is there.

"We needed a good referee," Brooks laughs. "[Reba] makes us both behave. It really is a great way for Ronnie and I to get back together. I think it's been a great break for both of us."

The break, they said, had nothing to do with ill will or distrust, as has been reported time and time again.

"Certainly Ronnie and I always considered ourselves brothers more than friends," Brooks says. "We've never been afraid to express our differences of opinions to each other. We just hadn't swept a lot of stuff under the rug."

"There's never been hate or discord," Dunn adds. "We've never not been friends."

But, the duo and Reba still have a few major obstacles they need to get through before opening their show on June 24th, namely figuring out a set list and a vision for the look and feel of the show. Those are good problems to have, though.

"This is the classiest way for us to come in and put a show together," Reba tells Rolling Stone Country. "You can do things here that you can't do other places. It's going to be a challenge for us. It's going to be the classiest, most entertaining emotional roller coaster we can put together."

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