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Yes, Reba McEntire Was Almost in the Titanic Movie — Here's What Happened

Reba McEntire also explained why the role in Titanic isn't the first time she's turned a part down.

By Caitlin Schunn

We all know and love Kathy Bates as well as her portrayal of the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown in 1997’s Titanic, but she actually wasn’t the first actress offered the historic role in the film.

How to Watch

Watch the Season 26 premiere of The Voice on Monday, September 23 at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock. 

The Voice Coach Reba McEntire had the part after auditioning with director James Cameron, but ended up having to turn down the chance to be in the Best Picture-winning blockbuster.

Why Did Reba McEntire Turn Down Titanic?

Reba wasn't in the Titanic movie because of a touring conflict

RELATED: Why Did Blake Shelton Tell Reba McEntire to Lose His Number?

McEntire shared why she had to let the Titanic sail without her on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen in Feb. 2019. During a trivia game about herself, McEntire admitted to Andy Cohen her busy tour schedule got in the way.

Reba McEntire on Today.

“We were on tour and I had a lot of people on the payroll, and we had these three months already scheduled to do the movie and then they got behind on scheduling, and said, ‘No, we’re going to have to move it in this time,' so we couldn’t reschedule all the arenas and everything,” McEntire explained to Cohen.

Titanic won 11 Oscars and was the highest-grossing film of all time, until another James Cameron movie, Avatar, surpassed it in 2010. Cohen asked McEntire if the success of the film stung knowing she could have been part of it.

“Well sure, absolutely, but you gotta take care of your people,” she replied.

McEntire also talked about how she missed the boat during an interview with America’s Got Talent Judge Howie Mandel back in the 1990s.

RELATED: Holly Brand Hit Her Most Impressive High Note Singing Reba McEntire's "Rumor Has It"

“I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason,” McEntire told Mandel. “So, it didn’t work out for some reason or another, and maybe some day I’ll know why, but I thought Kathy Bates was absolutely wonderful. She was perfect for that.”  

What Other Roles Has Reba Turned Down?

New Coach Reba McEntire Sits In Blake's Iconic Chair | The Voice Live Semi-Final | NBC

The country singer is no stranger to acting, appearing in the 1990 horror film Tremors with actor Kevin Bacon, as well as the 1994 movie The Little Rascals. She also voiced the character of Betsy in 2006’s Charlotte Web.

She’s also been in several television shows, including her namesake show Reba, which ran from 2001 to 2007.  

Now the Queen Of Country will become a Coach for Season 24 of The Voice, following Blake Shelton’s departure, alongside Gwen Stefani, Niall Horan, and John Legend.

Just like Titanic, McEntire also admitted on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen that she first turned down the offer to be a Coach on The Voice when it debuted, paving the way for Blake Shelton to take her spot.

“It was a very popular show in Holland, I’m pretty sure, and I watched the tape, and I said, ‘No, I’m going to pass on that,’ because I don’t think I’d ever be able to tell somebody that they’re terrible or go find another job, or hope you like your nighttime job,” McEntire told Cohen. “I couldn’t do that day in and day out.”

Instead, McEntire became a Battle Advisor to Team Blake in Season 1, and even a Mega Mentor for Season 23’s Knockout Rounds.

Cohen again asked McEntire if she regretted her decision in 2022, to which she replied, “Oh, sure, after you see a very successful show that’s been running, what, 15 years, uh yeah, shoot, I should have done that.”

She’ll get her chance to turn her red chair when Season 24 of The Voice airs in fall 2023. Until then, catch up on episodes of The Voice right now on Peacock.

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