Reba McEntire Recalls 1st Meeting With Boyfriend Rex Linn

Reba McEntire has only dated boyfriend Rex Linn for a few years, but their connection goes back decades.

McEntire, 68, and Linn, 66, first crossed paths in 1991 while filming The Gambler Returns with the late Kenny Rogers. “We instantly bonded over living in Oklahoma and our love for horses and acting,” McEntire recalled in her new book, Not That Fancy, which hit shelves on Tuesday, October 10. “He made me laugh, and we became good buddies.”

Reba McEntire and Rex Linn Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

The duo “kept in touch occasionally” over the years, with McEntire calling Linn in 1998 to offer condolences after his mother died. “We talked for about 25 or 30 minutes, and again, we went on our way,” she recalled.

At the time, McEntire was married to Narvel Blackstock, whom she divorced in 2015. The former couple share son Shelby, 33.

Several years after her split from Blackstock, McEntire reconnected with Linn in 2020 while filming a guest spot on Young Sheldon. The pair went out to dinner with friends after work, and McEntire “started seeing Rex in a whole new light.”

Reba McEntire Recalls 1st Meeting With Boyfriend Rex Linn: ‘I’m Having Fun Being in Love Again’
Noam Galai/Getty Images

Even though they weren’t yet dating, that first dinner inspired McEntire and Linn’s nicknames for each other, as McEntire enthusiastically requested tater tots. “I love tater tots,” McEntire wrote. “Rex is famous for giving people nicknames. When he heard me say ‘tater tots,’ he said, ‘That’s our nickname.’ And that’s what he still calls me today.” (McEntire calls Linn “sugar tot.”)

After that dinner, the twosome “texted a lot” and later bonded when McEntire’s mother died. “We talked for hours every day,” she recalled, noting that they couldn’t see each other in person because of coronavirus lockdowns. “All we could do was talk! But that wasn’t a bad thing. It gave us a chance to get to know each other better. From the very first call, I was just my honest self with him — never any pretense or performance. We were just ‘us,’ and it worked.”

Though McEntire and Linn both have busy schedules, they always make time for each other by having “Coffee Camp” every day — whether they’re together in person or communicating via phone — where they get ready for the day by chatting over their morning beverages.

“He’s the first person I talk to when I get up each morning and the last person I talk to before I go to sleep each night,” McEntire explained. “I’m having fun being in love again. Romantic relationships should be fun — I don’t care how old you are. Love should bring you joy and make you feel good, and I’m never going to settle for anything less.”

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