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11 Quick Questions for Reba McEntire

Multi-talented star has a new holiday album and a host of projects in the works

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Robby Klein

Three-time Grammy Award winner Reba McEntire, 67, just wrapped up a fall concert tour, so you’d think she’d be ready to relax and take a break. But you’d be wrong. She’s busy playing Sunny Barnes, the feisty matriarch on ABC’s drama Big Sky, and is producing and starring in an upcoming Lifetime movie, The Hammer, about a traveling circuit judge. She’s also opening Reba's Place, a restaurant, bar and live music venue in southern Oklahoma, and is promoting her album, The Ultimate Christmas Collection, which features tried-and-true favorites plus the song “I Needed Christmas” from her 2021 Lifetime movie Christmas In Tune. Best of all? She’s still having fun. 

Do you have a favorite Christmas tradition?

We had a lot of traditions. Then, when I got divorced, I started making new ones. So every year, everything’s been different, doing something different. [Actor] Rex Linn and I have been together for three years. And so we just think up new things to do to make it interesting.

Where is home for the holidays?

It'll be in Nashville, Tennessee. [Rex and I have] been in Albuquerque [New Mexico] since July 3, shooting Big Sky, so we’ll be ready to come home.

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What’s the best gift you’ve ever received or given?

Well, we kind of outdid ourselves a couple of Christmases ago. Rex gave me an upright piano that was about a hundred years old, and I gave him a brand new set of drums, because he’s a drummer. I just love to play the piano. I’m not that good, but I like to tinker around on it. I think that was high on the list.

Do the two of you play duets with your gifts?

No. We’d have a hard time doing that because mine’s in the house and his is way out in the party barn.

Would you consider making another holiday movie?

Oh, they were so much fun. Absolutely. One thing I would ask is if we could shoot it around Christmas time. Because we shot Christmas in Tune in the summer, and we were wearing coats and acting like we’re freezing, and everybody was sweating up a storm. 

[Actor] John Schneider was your costar in that film. Were you a Dukes of Hazzard fan?

Oh, absolutely. Who wasn’t? John and I even got to perform together in California one year. I’ve known John a long time. We also co-hosted — with Mac Davis — the Academy of Country Music Awards one year.

If you could sing a duet with anyone, living or not, who would it be?

Patsy Cline. I wish I could have met Patsy. She was such a unique character. Everybody that I would work with in the studio or on tours who had gotten to work with Patsy, I’d pick their brain about her, and she was a character.

Do you have a favorite Patsy Cline song?

“Sweet Dreams” would have to be that.

Your Big Sky character, Sunny, has a bit of a dark side. What is the best part of playing a villain?

Well, the best part about playing a villain is that you also get to play a good person. Sunny isn’t a bad person. She’s just very overly protective of her family. She’s like a mama bear. When somebody gets in between her and her cubs, she turns into a different animal. She just gets a little dark.

She runs a glamping [glamorous camping] resort in the show. What’s your favorite style of vacation?

Oh, anything — Holiday Inn up to a five-star [hotel]. I’ve never been camping in my life. So for me to be running a glamping experience is pretty funny. But [these are] the fanciest tents you’ve ever seen in your life. But I love to travel. 

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With your busy schedule, how do you keep your energy level so high?

Well, thank God, I've got a wonderful team that helps me stay scheduled and helps me with all these projects. And I get lots of sleep. I eat right, exercise, stretch a lot. At my age, it’s very important to stretch and keep the muscles and joints moving, hydrate and have fun. Before every [Big Sky] scene, Rex looks over and says, “Have fun.” And it's a fun time. 

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