Reba McEntire is turning up the fan and media heat with the launch of the new NBC game show, “Love Connection,” and her upcoming film, “Nashville,” at the end of this month. But above all, the latest national tour, her farewell to “The Real” this summer, just keeps racking up applause.
So what keeps Reba on top? Her resilience in life is evident in everything from her writing to her performances. She attributes much of her success to her upbringing and how her father shaped her perception of life.
“I was lucky because I think I have survived quite a bit of the things that people have – pretty much everyone has gone through, all in the name of happiness,” she tells ET’s Guiliana Rancic. “And the beauty about it is you can come out of it as a better person.”
The first obstacle Reba fought was performing on TV when she was only 5 years old.
“I would stand in the corner, and I would literally cry and not sing the song,” she explains. “There was all this pressure I had to do things in a certain manner, and that was really tough, but I felt like I wasn’t great at anything, so I did my best at singing, which is kinda funny because now when I sing I’m kind of expecting the audience to go crazy.”
Reba credits her Southern roots for setting her apart from her peers. She reflects on how growing up in Texas can have its disadvantages when it comes to other cultures.
“You can’t talk in English in Texas. You have to speak country,” she says. “So, people don’t understand me and my word choices, but that’s where my vulnerability is, is because of what my father and grandparents taught me when I was little: Be the best you can be at any issue, be the best you can be at all times. And that’s when my vulnerability comes out.”
Looking back on her journey, Reba says she has turned what could have been a life of sadness into a source of inspiration for her fans.
“I tell them to put their experiences, the bad stuff in life, and the good stuff in life, put them in their past and just move forward,” she says. “Because so many people have had to change their lives for the worse, and you think, ‘Oh, man, people don’t want to hear this,’ but they just want to be happy. It’s hard to think that way, but so many people have been that way, and it just, it’s what makes them happy and keeps them going. And for me, that’s the power of life, and I’m doing everything I can to just love life all the way to the end.”