Reba McEntire's New Show Is Full of Gay Stuff and She Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way

There's plenty of room for the gays in Reba McEntire's Malibu Country.



Above: Lily Tomlin and Reba set a spell.


Your film debut was in one of my favorite movies, Tremors.
Thank you, thank you very much. I was walking on to my dressing room here on set yesterday and there were some guys sitting on a bench taking a break and they suddenly said, "Tremors!" So that’s really funny how that pops up every once in a while.

It’s like a nice little cult following.

Since then, you’ve certainly achieved acclaim in film and TV and, as you mentioned earlier, Broadway, and of course music. Is there anything you haven’t done that you still want to do?
I just love doing what I’m doing, and I'm having a great time doing the television and touring. I’d love to go back and do Broadway again someday. I just hope to get to continue doing what I’m doing. I’m just loving life.

Well, you’re certainly one of the biggest female hit-makers in country music history. Do you keep trying to outdo yourself or do you just keep doing what you love to do?
Love what I do. The competition thing is still good for me. I love to be in competition with other folks, and it just makes it more exciting. But I’m just having a real good time, and I think that’s what the most important thing is: Just love your job, love what you’re doing. That’s the most important thing. And I do love my job.

Two of my favorite Reba songs were actually covers. and I’ve always wanted to ask you about them: Bobbie Gentry’s "Fancy" and Vickie Lawrence’s "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia." What drew you to those two songs?
I’m like you — I just loved them. My producer at the time asked if there’s a song I’d like to do a remake of and I said, "'Fancy' is one of my favorite songs." Tony Brown, my producer, said, "Oh, my gosh, that’s mine too. Let’s go do it." So we did that and he asked me later, he said, "Do you got another one?" And I said, "That’s 'The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia,'" so he said, "OK, great." So we were both fans of the songs. It worked out wonderful.

You would think with "Fancy" there would be some drag around not wanting you to do it because —
Oh, there was! There was. My producer before Tony Brown was Jimmy Bowen, and he said, "Oh, woman, you won’t be doing that song about a prostitute." I said, "Yeah, but it’s a rags-to-riches song and … that’s what I like to sing." I want to sing something people can relate to. And have feelings for. Not just about gum.

A few years ago, around your 20th wedding anniversary, you told Out magazine that the secrets to an enduring marriage were respect, faith, love, trust, and lots of patience.
I still agree to that.

What about picking the right person to begin with?
Well, that goes without saying. Narvel and I — yeah, that goes without saying. Narvel and I have worked together since 1980. He was my steel guitar player, and my admiration for him started early on because he was so good at what he did and he put his heart and soul into it and he was, he is very smart and a great idea man. And we just make a great team.

And how does that team work now, over 20 years later? Have you grown even more from there?
I think so. I think it’s deeper, it’s thicker, better. I’m pulling for him, he’s pulling for me as always. We’re just as happy as we can be.

Marriage equality was a big issue during the election. Since you’ve been married a long time, do you have a lot of gay friends asking for marital advice?
[Laughs] No, nobody asks me for marriage advice.

They don’t?

I’ve actually been married 22 years and people ask how we do it, and I always just say, "Stick it out. Just assume you’re going to be there every day."
Well, you know, I was married before and that just wasn’t right. And it was like if I had stayed with that and not gone out and followed my heart and followed my gut feeling, I wouldn’t be where I am today and as happy as I am with Narvel. So I guess everything works out for a reason, and it has to be each individual case.

Now is your stepson your manager?
No, no [he's] Blake Shelton’s manager. Blake is managed by my husband and my oldest son, Brandon Blackstock. My husband is my manager.

Does your husband go on tour with you?
Oh, yeah.

That’s probably part of the secret of keeping it together.
Yeah, we work together, we play together. But Narvel manages me, Blake Shelton, and Kelly Clarkson.

And there are rumors that someday Kelly Clarkson might become your daughter-in-law.
Well, there’s rumors — I’ve heard that. [Laughs]

But you know nothing about it?
Well, I don’t know. Everybody said, "When are they getting married?" I said, "I haven’t been told." When are they having kids? I haven’t been told. [Laughs] So that’s for them to be doing the announcing.

OK, what are your biggest hopes for Malibu Country?
Oh, let’s see, a seven- or eight-year run. That’s what Lily was saying the other day. She said, "Can’t you just see us in our fifth or sixth year?" And I love that positiveness from her. I said, "Way to go, Lily!" She’s a spunky rascal. I just love to work with her. Love her.

Tags: television