Weird Things About Reba McEntire And Rex Linn’s Relationship

Weird Things About Reba McEntire And Rex Linn’s Relationship

Rex Linn, Reba McEntire inside stadium
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

After her marriage of 26 years to Narvel Blackstock ended, Reba McEntire eventually moved on and wrote a rather unconventional love story with “Better Call Saul” actor Rex Linn. One oddity about McEntire and Linn’s relationship is that they first met when McEntire was still married to Blackstock — but it would be a long time before there were any romantic sparks between the two.

Linn told The List that his first meeting with McEntire was brief and professional. He’d scored a small role in the 1991 Kenny Rogers movie “The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw,” in which McEntire plays a lead character. “We shook hands on ‘The Gambler.’ Then, they were telling me, “Hey, dude. Get over there by that horse, and get on him,'” he recalled. Despite having their introduction cut short, they remained friends — on “The Jennifer Hudson Show,” McEntire explained that they had a mutual buddy in movie producer E.K. Gaylord II.

The pair reconnected when McEntire joined Linn as a member of the “Young Sheldon” cast in early 2020. Because the sitcom brought the couple together, lead actor Iain Armitage told First for Women, “I feel like I get to take partial credit for that.” He also said that he thinks Linn and McEntire make the perfect pair, even though he didn’t observe any sparks when he first saw them together. But there was a reason romance was not on Linn’s mind at the time.

Why they didn’t consider their first dinner a date

Rex Linn, Reba McEntire seated at table
Phillip Faraone/Getty Images

 

Rex Linn and Reba McEntire’s attempt to spend time together outside of work was not unlike a sitcom plot. McEntire admitted to Yahoo! Entertainment that she turned Linn’s first dinner invite down, explaining, “I’d had a long day, and I was exhausted.” When they later arranged to meet up in January 2020, it wasn’t for a one-on-one outing — they were joined by their “Young Sheldon” co-star Melissa Peterman and McEntire’s tour manager, Marne McLyman. According to Linn, he also expected another party to join them. “The last time I had seen Reba, the year before, she was dating someone. So I actually thought her then-boyfriend was going to be with her,” he told Southern Living.

While McEntire was single at the time, she revealed that she didn’t consider the outing a date, either — until her friends played their roles of rom-com besties perfectly by breaking down the situation for her. “Melissa and Marne said it was a date!” the “Does He Love You” singer recalled to Yahoo! Entertainment. “We just had a really nice evening.” Before they parted ways, McEntire let Linn know that she wanted to see him again. Unfortunately, they didn’t get to plan their first proper date until June 2020 due to the pandemic. While they waited for another opportunity to dine together in person again, Linn sent McEntire food in the mail. She told Southern Living that his gifts included steak and ice cream.

Their sweet and salty pet names

Reba McEntire, Rex Linn with tater totsSara Jaye/Getty Images

On “The Jennifer Hudson Show,” Reba McEntire explained how she ended up getting a deep-fried nickname from Rex Linn. After she, Linn, and the rest of their little entourage finished dinner during their January 2020 outing, the group decided to head to a nearby wine bar that also served food. They let their server know that they’d already eaten, but the enterprising individual tried to tempt them with the appetizer menu. As soon as McEntire learned that tater tots were one of the offerings, she decided that she could use a little post-supper snack. Linn apparently found her enthusiasm for the fried cylinders of grated spuds greatly amusing. “Rex said, ‘That’s your nickname from here on out, Tater Tot,'” McEntire recalled.

Linn got his own pet name while everyone was practicing social distancing during the early weeks of the pandemic. According to McEntire, it was actually her sister, Susie McEntire-Eaton, who came up with it. The siblings were quarantining together, so McEntire-Eaton had a front-row seat to McEntire and Linn’s long-distance courtship. On TalkShopLive, McEntire recalled her sister’s reaction to learning her nickname. “Susie said, ‘Tater Tot? Well, why don’t you just call him Sugar Tot?’ And so it stuck. So, we’re the Tots.” McEntire also revealed that she loves taters tots so much that she and Linn went to Sonic for Valentine’s Day and dined on them. So, when’s the fast food chain going to add sugar tots to the menu?

 

Reba McEntire and Rex Linn love scaring each other

Rex Linn, Reba McEntire posingEmma Mcintyre/Getty Images

On “Today,” Reba McEntire told hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager that one of her and Rex Linn’s favorite pastimes is trying to scare the pants off each other. She also shared her favorite method for almost giving her poor partner a heart attack. “I’ll sit there for 10 minutes, waiting for him to come out of the bathroom,” she said. “Be down a dark hall and just be silhouetted. It scares him to death. I think that’s the funniest thing in the world.”

For Halloween in 2020, Linn enlisted some help to play a spooky prank on McEntire. “He ordered from Costco a seven-foot werewolf with a motion sensor in it, and he put it in my bathroom,” the “And Still” singer recalled during a 2021 virtual event, as recapped by Country Now. McEntire wasn’t thrilled about being greeted with a growl from the “Thriller”-esque creature. But after threatening to fire anyone who helped Linn plan the werewolf prank, she didn’t demand that he take it back to Costco. Once the initial shock wore off, she was able to laugh about it. “I was pretty flattered that he went to all that trouble to scare me,” she said. But it’s more fun to be on the other side of a hair-raising prank when you have a hairy monster at your disposal. “We took it to every place we could to scare everybody else,” McEntire continued. “We had a blast.”

Did Reba McEntire drop a marriage hint?

Rex Linn, Reba McEntire posingFrazer Harrison/Getty Images

On “Watch What Happens Live,” Reba McEntire mentioned a glaring difference between her relationship history and that of Rex Linn: She’s gone through two divorces, and Linn has never gotten hitched. McEntire told host Andy Cohen that she and Linn have discussed this discrepancy before, and it seemingly doesn’t mean Linn is completely opposed to marriage. In an interview with Extra, McEntire revealed they’ve already spoken about the logistics of planning a wedding. “We thought, ‘Man, if we ever had a ceremony, we would have to have a 2 o’clock, 4 o’clock, 6 o’clock, and an 8 o’clock,’ ’cause we have so many friends, acquaintances, and family,” she said. But McEntire told Cohen she isn’t pushing for a proposal, nor will she be getting down on one knee. Instead, she’s letting Linn alone decide if she’ll become a three-time bride.

McEntire also spoke to E! News in January 2023 about the possibility of marrying Linn. “We get along so well right now, so why rock the boat?” she said. However, that December, she sparked engagement rumors by sporting a sparkler on her wedding ring finger on “The Voice.” She later told ET it wasn’t an engagement ring and admitted wearing it because she wanted to “just let everybody talk about it.” Or maybe she was trying to give Linn a not-so-subtle hint by showing him how nice that particular finger looks when it’s all blinged out.

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