Country icon Reba McEntire and her manager-husband Narvel Blackstock are calling it quits. While the couple does not use the word “divorce” in a joint statement released today, they do declare “the end of their marriage” after 26 years of matrimony.
“Narvel Blackstock and Reba McEntire have announced that they have been separated for the past few months,” reads the statement posted on McEntire’s website. “Despite this being the end of their marriage, they continue to support each other. They have worked together for 35 years and will continue to do so. They have asked that you respect their privacy during this time.”
Blackstock was a steel guitar player in McEntire’s band before becoming her manager. They wed on a boat in Lake Tahoe in 1989, with the singer discovering upon arriving home from their honeymoon that she was pregnant. Their only child together, son Shelby, is a successful Indy race car driver. Blackstock also has three children from a previous marriage, including fellow artist manager Brandon, who is married to pop powerhouse Kelly Clarkson. Narvel and Brandon work together at McEntire’s Starstruck Entertainment, also managing the careers of Clarkson, Blake Shelton, Caroline Kole and Shelby Blackstock.
As partners in Starstruck and beyond, McEntire and Blackstock have not only taken her music career to record-breaking heights but have also dabbled in TV together. Most recently, the two were co-producers on the short-lived Malibu Country TV sitcom, and back in the Nineties, Blackstock produced three made-for-television movies starring his wife.
In April, McEntire made a big musical comeback with Love Somebody, her 27th studio album and first collection of new tunes in five years. Even with bragging rights to 56 million albums sold and 35 Number One hits throughout her four-decade-long career, she admits that fear of competition almost caused her to hold back on releasing new music.
“I’m a regular person; I’ve got doubts and insecurities,” she told Rolling Stone Country a few days before the LP hit stores. “Radio [is] so competitive, and they are looking at the younger generations for music, so I’m thrilled to death radio is playing [the album’s first single] ‘Going Out Like That.'”
The legendary singer is just off a run of shows with longtime friends Brooks and Dunn in Las Vegas. Their joint residency at Caesar’s Palace will resume in December.
This is the third music power couple to split in the past two weeks. Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert announced their divorce on July 20th, while news of Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale’s divorce filing came within hours of McEntire and Blackstock’s statement.