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These Pictures of a Young Reba McEntire Prove She's Always Been a Star

Feast your eyes on these photos of the "Queen of Country" before she was crowned.

By Jessica White

As any fan of The Voice knows, the music industry is a challenging space, and few stars have burned as brightly and for as long as Reba McEntire

How to Watch

Watch The Voice on NBC and Peacock. 

Boasting a prolific career with several awards and accolades under her belt, McEntire has cemented herself as one of the most iconic country singers of all time, delivering hit after hit, decade after decade.

RELATED: Reba McEntire Through the Years

Few artists can say they've been charming crowds for half a century, but McEntire is not a typical act — and she's also a talented actress, producer, and television personality. Whether she's serving up laughs or penning a traditional country ballad, McEntire has seamlessly evolved with the times while never faltering on her beloved authenticity and country roots. 

Now a beloved Coach of The Voice, McEntire remains a powerhouse performer 50 years after her career began.

Reba McEntire got her big break in 1974

Reba McEntire smiling and posing for a portrait.

McEntire began taking the world by storm right after earning her bachelor's at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. 

According to IMDb, McEntire first gained recognition after she performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Oklahoma City's 1974 National Finals Rodeo. Country star Red Steagall was in attendance and, captivated, invited her and her family to his afterparty. After some industry chat, McEntire was ready to hit the ground running. 

Reba McEntire quickly became a country sensation

Reba McEntire performing at The Palomino along with her bandmates.

A year after crossing paths with Steagall, McEntire and her mother moved to Nashville to begin recording a demo, signing with Glenn Keener to PolyGram/Mercury Records.

McEntire began gaining traction with her 1979 sophomore studio release Out of a Dream, which featured her first megahit, a cover of Patsy Cline's "Sweet Dreams," (originally recorded by Don Gibson). 

Reba McEntire in 1982

Reba Mcintire wears a western shirt at a cafe in New York

From the fabulous curls to the colorful fit, McEntire has always had a penchant for showmanship, whether that be within her trademark style or her energizing setlists.  

RELATED: Reba McEntire Wouldn't Be a Country Icon Without Some Iconic Hairdos

In 1983, McEntire earned widespread acclaim for her country classic "Can't Even Get the Blues," scoring her a No. 1 spot on Billboard's country charts.

Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton at the Grand Ole Opry in 1985

Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton attend The 60th Anniversary of the Grand Ole Opry

There was a lot of star power in attendance at the 60th Anniversary of the Grand Ole Opry, especially after songstresses Dolly Parton and McEntire arrived on the scene. The two stars have remained friends for decades. 

In a September 2023 interview with Newsweek, McEntire revealed that Parton is also a longtime role model of hers.

"I grew up listening to Dolly Parton when she had her very first album, My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy. I love that album because she wrote songs and told a story. I like a song that tells a story..." McEntire revealed, later adding "Dolly and I, we just love, we're not here to judge or to preach. We love what we get to do."

Reba McEntire at the 1985 CMA Awards

Reba McEntire during the Country Music Association Awards in 1985

By the mid-80s, McEntire had truly hit her stride, already collecting adoration for her passion and jaw-dropping skill.

RELATED: Reba McEntire Says This Is Her Key to Success

McEntire scored her first Country Music Award in 1984 for Top New Female Vocalist, then proceeded to take home the title again in 1985 and 1986. 

Reba McEntire Accepting Her 1986 CMA

Reba McEntire standing on stage accepting an award wearing a blue dress.

McEntire looked stunning while accepting her 1986 Country Music Award.

Today, she is the proud recipient of six CMAs (as well as 15 American Music Awards and dozens of other prestigious honors). 

Reba McEntire in 1988

Reba McEntire performing on stage.

McEntire has the audience in the palm of her hand during this 1988 performance.

In a 2018 interview with The Saturday Evening Post, McEntire revealed how she has achieved such immense success while staying grounded. 

"I’m the first to admit, I’m very competitive," McEntire explained. "I love to play games, and I love to win, but when I lose, I’m the first one to start clapping and say, 'Congratulations, now let’s do it again because I’m going to whip your butt.'"

Reba McEntire's big red hair has always been her trademark

Reba McEntire performing on stage.

Who would McEntire be without her trademark crimson hairdo? While the Voice Coach has donned several different hairstyles throughout her illustrious career, many fans would agree McEntire's bright red curls are one of her most iconic looks. 

If McEntire's angelic vocals didn't steal the show during this 1990 performance, her magnificent hairdo certainly did the trick. 

Reba McEntire and Kenny Rogers' 1991 Movie Premiere

Reba McEntire and Kenny Rogers attend a movie premiere in 1991

McEntire has brushed shoulders with some legendary country stars throughout her esteemed tenure, including the larger-than-life Kenny Rogers.

In 1991, the "Islands in the Stream" singer and McEntire were the talk of the town after attending the premiere of their film The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw. Rogers and McEntire co-starred in the Western flick inspired by Rogers' smash hit "The Gambler." 

Reba McEntire gave a heart-wrenching speech at the 1993 AMAs

Reba McEntire at a podium on stage accepting an award at the American Music Awards in 1993.

McEntire looked downright gorgeous at the 1993 American Music Awards, where her album For My Broken Heart won Favorite Country Album against fellow nominees Garth Brooks and Billy Ray Cyrus.

In her acceptance speech,McEntire revealed that she'd made the album to pay tribute to her former bandmates after they lost their lives in a 1991 plane crash, and then dedicated the award to the friends and families of her beloved band.

Reba McEntire as a Young Mom with Her Son, Shelby

Shelby Blackstock as a baby posed next to his mom, Reba McEntire sitting on a white porch swing.

Years after McEntire became the bona fide "Queen of Country," in February 1990, she claimed one of her most cherished titles of all — mother.

RELATED: The Voice Season 26 Coaches Have Been Revealed: See the Lineup

The birth of McEntire's son, Shelby Blackstock, was an exciting milestone for the country songstress, who was keen to capture his adorable dimples in this early 90s photoshoot featuring a delightful amount of denim.

Reba McEntire and Shelby at the 1996 CMTs

Reba Mcentire and her son Shelby at the CMA awards in 1996

Always a fan of an outing with her little one, Shelby joined McEntire on the red carpet for the 1996 CMTs. 

RELATED: Reba Debuts New Single "I Can't" on The Voice: The Emotional Lyrics, Explained

McEntire even insisted on sporting a chic cream-toned suit to match her son, who looked downright dashing in his all-black rendition of the fit.

Reba McEntire at the 1999 People's Choice Awards

Ray Romano and Reba Mcentire attend the People Choice Awards in 1999

Can you get more Y2K than this photo of McEntire attending the 1999 People's Choice Awards? Swapping out her trademark curls for a sleek pixie cut, McEntire looked elegant as she walked the red carpet with fellow sitcom star Ray Romano.

The ceremony historically loves her — between her smash music career and beloved sitcom, McEntire has collected 10 People's Choice Awards. She also holds the honor of having one of the most successful "big chops" in haircut history.

Reba McEntire's 2000s sitcom Reba was comedy gold

Reba McEntire pointing her finger at Dolly Parton during a scene from Reba.

We have another Dolly sighting! Check out this country-loving Reba scene from Season 4 Episode 18 ("Reba's Rules of Real Estate"), in which Parton guest-starred. 

RELATED: All About Reba McEntire New NBC Sitcom, Happy's Place

Running from 2001 to 2007, the eponymous sitcom was a smash success, earning McEntire a People's Choice Award for Favorite Female Performer in a New Television Series. 

Reba McEntire with a Young Kelly Clarkson in 2006

Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson hugging on stage back in 2006.

McEntire has been crushing country singles for decades, so it's no wonder she has an eye for talent and rising stars. A few years after Kelly Clarkson took the world by storm by winning American Idol in 2002, McEntire had a blast performing with the "Since U Been Gone" singer.

RELATED: Watch Kelly Clarkson and Reba McEntire's All-Time Best Duets

Fate would have it that both powerhouse performers would later become Coaches of The Voice and perform many infectious hits together.

Reba McEntire with Her Son Shelby in 2018 

Reba McEntire and her son Shelby Blackstock pose on the red carpet of the 2018 Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame Gala

Over a decade after McEntire brought Shelby to the 1996 CMAs, he joined his mother at the 2018 Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame Gala, where she was all smiles.

​RELATED: Snoop Dogg Talks Joining The Voice: "All Hail the Mighty Queen" Reba McEntire

In a 2022 interview with People, McEntire called Shelby her "Gift from God."

"We’re very close," McEntire said. "I was a very self-centered person to a degree before Shelby. But, then there’s a little character, who you are given the job to protect and nurture and love and teach, so all the attention’s not on you anymore."

Reba McEntire's National Anthem at the 2024 Super Bowl

Reba McEntire performs the national anthem at the 2024 Super Bowl

McEntire celebrated a major milestone in 2024 after being tapped to sing the national anthem during Super Bowl LVIII. But, as fans — and readers — are aware, this was far from McEntire's first rodeo with "The Star-Spangled Banner."

"I’ve been singing the song for 50 years," McEntire told TODAY ahead of the game. "This is my 50th anniversary since I sang [the national anthem] at the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City in 1974... I’m really excited."

See more of McEntire and Team Reba by watching The Voice on NBC and Peacock.