A Look At Reba McEntire’s Relationship With Her Son Shelby Blackstock

A Look At Reba McEntire’s Relationship With Her Son Shelby Blackstock

Reba and her son Shelby Blackstock

Ed Rode/Getty Images

It’s no secret that Reba McEntire, one of the greatest country stars in history, holds family incredibly dear to her heart. No matter how busy she is, McEntire will find the time to spend with her loved ones, especially her children. The country icon has five stepchildren, two from her first marriage to Charlie Battles and three from her subsequent marriage to Narvel Blackstock. McEntire also has a biological son, Shelby Blackstock, whom she welcomed with Narvel in 1990.

In a 2022 interview with People, the Grammy winner gushed about their deep connection, sharing, “Shelby is a gift from God to me. We’re incredibly close.” McEntire also candidly admitted, “I was a very self-centered person to a degree before Shelby. But then there’s a little character [whom] you are given the job to protect, nurture, love, and teach, so all the attention [is] not on you anymore.”

Although she tends to keep her private life offline for the most part, the singer occasionally shares heartfelt tributes to Shelby on special occasions. To mark his 34th birthday in February 2024, McEntire took to Instagram to celebrate their special bond, poignantly writing, “From the first second I found out I was pregnant, up to today, this child is one of the biggest blessings of my life.” McEntire’s relationship with her son only continues to grow.

Reba McEntire and young Shelby Blackstock smiling

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While speaking to People in 2022, Reba McEntire shared an unconventional approach to parenting that she practiced with her son, Shelby Blackstock, during his younger years. Known for her warm personality and often hailed as one of the nicest people in the entertainment industry, it’s not surprising that McEntire made sure she instilled humility in her son. “When we would play games or cards, I’d never let Shelby win,” she recalled. “He wouldn’t have learned anything that way. I always told Shelby, ‘I’ll always love you, but I want other people to like you. So don’t be a little jerk. Don’t be a spoiled brat.'”

Other than not spoiling him, McEntire hired nannies to help her take care of Blackstock while she pursued her career. Nonetheless, the “Does He Love You” singer revealed that she would rush home after every gig whenever possible, making sure she spent as much time as she could with her son. By the time Blackstock was born in 1990, McEntire was already a household name. That year, she released her 16th studio album, “Rumor Has It,” and ventured into Hollywood with her debut role in “Tremors,” starring Kevin Bacon. It sparked her interest in acting, ultimately leading to the iconic Y2K sitcom, “Reba.”

Shelby Blackstock and Reba McEntire interview

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Shelby Blackstock grew up to be a professional race car driver, a path his famous mom wasn’t so sure about at first. In a 2014 interview with People, Reba McEntire confessed to being taken aback when Blackstock approached her with the idea of racing cars for a living, reasoning that he could “be a car dealer or a mechanic” instead. The country icon also wanted her son to go to college, and she got her way (well, kind of). “I bribed him and said if he finished that year in college, his dad and I would send him to racing school in Phoenix,” she informed the outlet.

Following Blackstock’s brief stint at college, McEntire stayed true to her word and sent him to the Bob Bondurant School of High-Performance Driving in Phoenix. “He was a natural. It got our attention,” she said of his first drive. After Blackstock’s passion for racing became evident, the country icon gave in and decided to support her son every step of the way, which fortunately proved to be the right choice.

Blackstock made his professional debut in 2011 and has since participated in several prestigious racing tournaments, including the USF2000 National Championship, the Pro Mazda Championship, and Indy NXT (previously Indy Lights). Notably, McEntire, despite her initial reservations, loves watching her son race, describing it as “very fun and very exciting” in an interview with The Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Shelby Blackstock and Reba McEntire smiling

@shelbyblackstock/Instagram

Reba McEntire just might be the country queen of Christmas, given her extensive collection of holiday-themed music. However, despite boasting three albums dedicated to the festive season, the singer’s holiday traditions are relatively low-key. “[Shelby Blackstock and I] used to watch ‘Christmas Vacation’ every Christmas Eve. We would giggle at the same places every time we watched it,” she told E! News in 2019. The star also revealed that they’d switched up their holiday movie repertoire in recent years, preferring to turn on “Elf” or “Nacho Libre.” She quipped, “‘Nacho Libre’ isn’t really a Christmas movie, but we still think it’s hysterical!”

As expected, family is non-negotiable, which is why some of her most cherished memories of Christmases past are those involving her son. “Watching the excitement of a child opening gifts — that’s the best thing about Christmas,” McEntire shared with The Boot in a 2018 interview, detailing how Blackstock’s excitement was her favorite part of the holiday. According to her Instagram page, she also enjoys reading “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” one of the most beloved Christmas poems, while cozying up by the fireplace. Funnily enough, the country icon is likely to wear “Elf” themed pajamas while doing so, as evidenced by Blackstock’s post.

Reba with her son Shelby and his wife

@shelbyblackstock/Instagram

In 2022, Shelby Blackstock tied the knot with his longtime partner, Marissa Blackstock (née Branch), at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. “We’ve known each other for so long, from both a ‘just friends’ to a dating perspective,” the couple, who originally met on Tinder in 2014, explained to People. “Tackling whatever life throws our way as husband and wife — creating a family and legacy together — excites us more than anything.” Reba McEntire was, naturally, in attendance, and the star brightened up her son’s special day in a way that nobody had anticipated.

She surprised attendees by taking the stage to deliver an impromptu performance of her hit song “Fancy” from “Rumor Has It,” which came out the same year that Blackstock was born. The unexpected musical moment, captured by musician Zach McCabe, added a unique touch to the occasion, which McCabe described as the “coolest wedding reception ever.” Furthermore, another of McEntire’s popular tracks was featured at the reception, as reported by Taste of Country. McEntire and Blackstock enjoyed a special moment to “You’re Gonna Be (Always Loved by Me),” a heartwarming 2005 song that was used as the musical backdrop for their mother-son dance.

The two are not shy about gushing about each other on social media

Reba and her son Shelby Blackstock smiling

@shelbyblackstock/Instagram

Although Reba McEntire keeps her private life firmly out of the public eye, including on social media, one thing she’s happy to share is her deep affection for her son. Shelby Blackstock frequently appears in the country star’s heartwarming posts, especially on special occasions. In honor of Blackstock’s 33rd birthday in 2023, McEntire posted a video filled with sweet memories of the two of them to her Instagram, captioning it, “Happy birthday, Shelby! Best accomplishment I’ve ever done in my life! Love you so much!” Similarly, for Blackstock’s 30th, McEntire posted a photo of herself with baby Blackstock sweetly describing him as, “my 30-year-old little boy” and noting “Love you forever.”

Make no mistake, Blackstock is right behind his loving mom when it comes to showing affection online. Each year, he makes sure to commemorate McEntire’s birthday as well as Mother’s Day on his Instagram page, often praising her as the best mom in the world in the process. Other than their loving moments, Blackstock is no stranger to sharing their humorous escapades, like the time he remotely started McEntire’s Roomba from a different state just to scare her.

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