Reba McEntire’s Bond With Boyfriend Rex Linn Grew Stronger After She Lost Her Mom
Reba McEntire's Living & Learning Spotify podcast returned for Season 2 on Monday (Oct. 25), and she kicked off the season with a particularly special guest: Her boyfriend, actor Rex Linn.
McEntire and Linn started dating in early 2020, but they met much earlier: In 1991, both were on the set of the Kenny Rogers TV movie The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw. At the time, McEntire was married to her then-manager Narvel Blackstock, who she divorced in 2015. Still, she and Linn shared a memorable conversation that would go on to become a full-circle moment later in their lives, after they began a romantic relationship.
During the new podcast episode, Linn recounts that moment, which took place after his mother died.
"In 1998, my mom passed away, and the day we buried her, we went back to Mom's house, and there was a lot of people there," he says.
"My sister walks up and says, 'You got a phone call.' I said, 'Now? Right now?' She said, 'Yeah, I think you're probably gonna wanna take this,'" Linn relates.
"So I went back in my old bedroom that I grew up in, sat on the bed, and it was Reba," he continues. "She said, 'Hey, I understand what you're going through today. I wanted to talk to you.' We talked for probably 25 minutes, and I never forgot it. It was amazing. It was uplifting. It was really special. And little did I know 20 years later, 21 years later, I'd be doing the same thing with her."
Fast forward to the very beginning of their romantic relationship: Linn and McEntire reconnected in January of 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and went out to dinner. Then, they continued to text from quarantine. But after McEntire got some difficult news about her mom's failing health, she and Linn grew closer.
"We had just found out that she had bladder cancer, and you said, 'You just feel free to call me anytime you wanna talk,' and I just quit texting, and we've been talking ever since," McEntire explains on the podcast.
McEntire's mother died on March 14, 2020. As the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shutdowns ramped up, the singer was spending time in Oklahoma with family, dealing with the grief over her mom's death and going through her parents' house. Meanwhile, she was embarking on a relationship with Linn that grew through what the couple call their "coffee camp" — their daily virtual coffee dates.
"It was a very special relationship, us getting to know each other without any physical aspect to it at all," the singer remembers. "We'd talk in the morning. We started 'coffee camp' while I was staying in Oklahoma...We haven't missed a 'coffee camp' since March 16."
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