The Sad Incident That Almost Ended Reba McEntire's Music Career

Reba McEntire has enjoyed a prolific career in both music and television for decades, and has shown no intentions of slowing down and retiring. The "Fancy" artist has taken a page out of another iconic country singer's playbook, Dolly Parton. "I asked Dolly Parton, 'You ever think about retiring?' She said, 'What would I do where I could have so much fun?'" she told People in October 2022. Even though the "Reba" star planned to keep pumping out music, there was a time she contemplated stepping away from the industry.

In March 2020, the "Does He Love You" singer announced that her mother, Jacqueline McEntire, had died. "The cancer might think it won the battle but we're giving God all the credit on selecting the time for her to go home to Him," Reba wrote in a touching Instagram post at the time. The passing had a profound impact on Reba, as she recalled a conversation with her sister at the time of her mother's passing. "I said, 'I don't know if I want to sing anymore.' She said, 'Why?' I said, 'Because I always sang for Mama,'" Reba recalled on "Today" in October 2023.

Jacqueline had aspired to be a singer herself, which had always motivated Reba. "Mama was living her dreams through me," she said to Entertainment Tonight in May 2023 (via Southern Living). Ultimately, Reba recognized she was driven by more than her mother. "I realized I'm still doing it because I love it," she added. Later, Reba released a moving song dedicated to her mother.

The song that made Reba McEntire's mom cry

Reba McEntire released her album "Not That Fancy" in October 2023 which featured the single "Seven Minutes in Heaven." The lyrics of the stirring ballad were about reconnecting with a lost loved one in the afterlife. "If I had seven minutes in Heaven / I'd spend them all with you," McEntire sings. The video for the song features visuals of the singer approaching an older woman, placing a hand on her shoulder, and the pair spending time together reminiscing in a diner booth — although you do not see the older woman's face, it is a reference to McEntire deceased mother. "For me, that person is my Mama," the country artist said on "Today" when discussing the song's themes. "I hope that the fans can imagine who that person is for them and find some comfort in knowing that someday, they'll get to spend forever with that person they love," she added. "Seven Minutes in Heaven" was not the only song inspired by McEntire's mother.

Fortunately, McEntire was able to dedicate a song to her mother before she died. In 2019, she released the song "You Never Gave Up On Me," which was originally a gospel track. "Because who besides God has never given up on me? Mama," she told The Boot in May 2019. McEntire made sure her mother gave the song a full listen. "She cried. She was very appreciative. She loved it," McEntire said.

Sadly, McEntire experienced tragedy prior to her mother's death that made her consider retirement.

Reba McEntire's bandmates died tragically

In 1991, eight members of Reba McEntire's band and crew died in a plane crash. Over two decades later, "The Heart Won't Lie" singer spoke about the tragic event. "It crushed me ... And all I could think of was their mothers," she said on CNN in March 2012. At the time of the devastating crash, McEntire thought about leaving the music industry behind. "I didn't know if I was going to be able to continue," she told People in October 2022. "But it showed me how precious life is, and by the grace of God and my faith, I realized that they went on to a better place," McEntire added.

As McEntire struggled to cope with the loss, it was an acting role that helped her bounce back. Kenny Rogers cast McEntire in the television movie "The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw" the same year she lost her bandmates. "Kenny saved my sanity in '91 when he asked me to come do the 'Gambler' movie," she told Taste of Country in September 2020. "I was still in a state of disbelief and not knowing what I'm gonna do moving forward after the plane crash," McEntire added.

The "You Lie" singer paid tribute to her crew members who died in the crash in a touching Instagram post in March 2021. That month also marked the one-year anniversary of her mother's passing, which McEntire also commemorated on the social media platform.